When it comes to salads, you aren’t just limited to leafy greens and vegetables. From leftover meat to hard-boiled eggs and tortilla chips, you can add several different ingredients.
But perhaps the best ingredient you can add to your salad is good ol’ cheese. In addition to balancing out the overall flavors in your salads, the cheese will also help add a lot of nutrition. Here’s a complete list of the 11 best types of cheese for your salads that will transform a bland side dish into the star of the meal.
Halloumi cheese is a semi-hard cheese that originated in Cyprus. This delicious cheese is mild with just the right amount of tanginess to make it enjoyable, even raw. Halloumi retains its shape when exposed to heat since it has a high melting point. You can grill, pan-fry, and add it to your salad. Once grilled, halloumi cheese adds a hint of smokiness that perfectly complements your salad.
Mozzarella is a soft cheese with a mild and delicate flavor, but it certainly isn’t bland. Mozzarella in your salads is one of the best ways to consume it fresh. It is typically stored in water, which helps it retain moisture, softness, and freshness. Slice mozzarella and add it to your favorite Caprese or Panzanella salad. Or add it to a simple tomato and lettuce salad for a delicious treat.
Deliciously salty, incredibly rich, and tangy, feta cheese is packed with nutrients, making it a healthy addition to fresh salads. Drizzle over some extra-virgin olive oil, and your tastebuds will thank you. It is typically the star element in Greek salads, giving you contrasting flavors and textures — ranging from salty and tangy to creamy and sweet. You can also crumble it to top any salad and instantly amp up the flavors.
Parmesan is a hard cheese with a low melting point and granular texture. It is well known for its fruity and nutty flavor notes, which makes it a great addition to salads, like a good ol’ romaine lettuce salad. Parmesan is usually grated and tossed with the salad to add sharpness and richness, which helps elevate the salad to another level.
Cheddar has a uniquely rich flavor profile. It is intense and sharp, so cheddar might not be your go-to cheese for topping off your salad. However, cheddar pairs exceptionally well in macaroni salads. Due to its buttery flavor and texture, cheddar also fares well in green salads with lettuce, tomato, and cucumber or English pea salad.
Gouda is a delectable cheese with a mildly sweet flavor and creamy smooth texture. If you want a more robust flavor, opt for aged gouda. Gouda is famous for fruit and nut salads like apple and walnut salad with a drizzle of dijon vinaigrette. Slice it or cube it; either way, the beautiful yellow-golden color of gouda will help make your salad delicious and aesthetically pleasing.
7. Cottage Cheese
Perhaps it’s the healthiest of all cheeses, cottage cheese is a great choice for salads. Readily available in the market and easy to make at home, cottage cheese is a crowd favorite. It is soft and creamy and crumbly and tangy at the same time. You can toss it into the simplest of salads like a tomato and cucumber or add some spices to the mix if you want a little extra kick.
8. Swiss Cheese
Swiss cheese is basically an umbrella term that includes several different types of cheese. The most popular Swiss cheeses are gruyère and Emmental. Swiss cheese features distinctive holes with a nutty, buttery, and sweet flavor. Swiss cheeses go well in all types of salads. You can make a delicious cashew salad or a Swiss cheese salad with strawberries and pair it up with mushrooms. You can also make a wurstsalat with swiss cheese, which features sausages and pork.
9. Blue Cheese
Blue or bleu cheese goes exceptionally well with salads like a pear-walnut salad. It is made from a mold called penicillium, hence the blue tint. It is deliciously creamy and salty to taste. The flavor is mildly spicy, which makes it a good option for meat-based salads. Simply cut them into cubes and toss them in your favorite salad.
10. Ricotta Cheese
Ricotta cheese is well-known for its crumbly texture and makes for a delicious salad topping. It is made from other cheeses and is typically mixed with various herbs to be added to salads. The richness combined with the seasoning of spices and herbs in ricotta provides a delicious kick to your salads. You can give an extra oomph to a simple salad bowl simply by adding ricotta cheese to the mix.
11. Goat Cheese
Goat cheese is soft with mild flavors that get more pronounced as it ages. It tastes very similar to cream cheese and has a hint of tanginess and earthy tones, which makes it a delicious addition to salads. Add it to an apple and arugula salad, or toss it with leafy greens like spinach. Add in a handful of walnuts for some crunch.