Is Feta Cheese Vegetarian ? Traditionally No, But You Have Options

Many vegetarians are uncertain whether feta cheese is vegetarian or not. Can you relate? If yes, then this piece is for you. Although feta cheese is not vegetarian, we can replace it with a variety of different items.

What is feta cheese?

It’s a soft cheese with a mild flavor. It has been brined and aged. People enjoy the salty and somewhat acidic flavor. It is a high-quality cheese made from sheep’s milk or a mixture of milk of both sheep and goat. It has many ties to Greek history and customs, and it is an important part of Greek cuisine.

Is feta cheese vegetarian?

Feta cheese is not vegetarian since it is produced using animal rennet. Rennet is an enzyme that assists in the coagulation of milk and is derived from the stomach lining of slaughtered calves. If it is produced using microbial or vegetable rennet, it may be vegetarian.

Plant-based rennet is a coagulation enzyme with similar characteristics to animal rennet. It’s extracted from several different plants. Whereas, the microbial rennet is obtained from mold species.

Many cheesemakers use vegetable rennet to meet the demands of their vegetarian clientele.

What are some of the most popular feta cheese-based dishes?

Feta cheese may be used in a variety of recipes, including:

  • Greek Style Bruschetta – It has tomatoes, olives, oregano, and, of course, Greek feta cheese on top.
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  • The Original Greek Salad – In this classic Greek salad, tomatoes, red onion, and cucumbers are drizzled with olive oil and topped with crumbled feta cheese. This is usually served with nice crusty bread.

  • Mediterranean Pizza – Pizza and Greek feta cheese are a great combination. Also, you can top it with olives, onions, and peppers for a better taste.

  • Greek Feta Saganaki – It’s a classic Greek appetizer that’s jam-packed with delicious flavors. Instead of sesame seeds and honey, oregano and olive oil are used to flavor the fried version. It’s usually served with basil and fresh, sliced tomato.

  • Feta cheese with sesame and honey – The sesame batter is crunchy, and the salty feta is drizzled with raw honey. This sweet dish goes well with a simple side salad or as part of the main course.

Feta cheese comes in a range of varieties.

Other nations produce feta cheese. which may be produced with a variety of ingredients and preparation processes, giving it a distinct flavor.

  • American Feta – Cow’s milk is often used in the production of American feta. As a result, it has a texture that is significantly different from normal feta. It appears to be more crumbly than creamy. It also has a milder flavor than traditional feta cheese.
  • French Feta – It is a famous Feta in the south of France. Sheep’s milk is used in the cheese-making process. Thus, the texture is creamier and butterier. It has a milder flavor than conventional feta cheese. Some varieties of French Feta contain goat’s milk and have a tangier taste
  • Bulgarian Feta – The production of feta cheese in Bulgaria is a little different. It involves ewe’s milk, which is high in lipids. The feta in this recipe is much softer and creamier. It also does not have a crumbly texture. Also, compared to Greek feta, its flavor is more exquisite and less acidic.
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Vegetarian cheeses that you can use in place of Feta

If you are looking for a rennet-free and vegetarian cheese, you might want to explore beyond feta.

  • Paneer – Paneer is an Indian cheese prepared with curdled milk and using citric fruit or vegetables such as lemon juice. Paneer has a few distinguishing characteristics that make it the cheese that it is. It is a fresh cheese that has not been matured and is freshly prepared.
  • Ricotta – It is an Italian cheese made from whey from sheep, cow, or goat milk leftover from the process of other cheeses. Ricotta curds have a creamy white look and a sweet flavor. Depending on the type of milk consumed, the fat level varies.
  • Cream Cheese – It is a soft, creamy cheese prepared with cream or a milk-cream combination. It has a moderate yet rich flavor and is almost white.

Nutrition in Feta cheese

Like many dairy products, Feta is high in calcium and phosphorus. Furthermore, it has more water content than aged cheeses which results in reduced fat and calorie content. It is easy to digest and provides an excellent amount of protein to your meal.

Where can you buy vegetarian/vegan Feta cheese from?

Conclusion

Although feta cheese is not a vegetarian option, there are other substitutes. These vegetarian cheeses may be made at home, ordered online, or purchased from your local supermarket. Also, check the label and ingredients of any feta you buy in the shop to determine if it is produced with vegetable rennet.