Cheese is the perfect ingredient for changing things up when it comes to delicious salads! It can add a lot of nutrition and can also balance the overall flavors in any type of salad.
What are the best cheeses for salads? For salads, you have the choice of melting cheeses like mozzarella, parmesan, cheddar, gouda, ricotta, Swiss, etc. While for hard cheeses, try going with feta, cottage cheese, halloumi, and much more!
Read below to learn more about the best types of cheese for salads, how to use them and how to get the most out of their flavor!
Types of Cheese for Salads
The combination of salads and cheese goes back centuries. It is one of the best ways to add a bit of nutrition, flavor, and texture to an otherwise simple bowl of diced and cut vegetables.
Some types of cheese are designed to add a decadent layer of gooiness while others are added to elevate the overall flavor of the salad by adding tang, saltiness, creaminess, and more.
As a basic rule of thumb, you can add almost any type of cheese to an assortment of greens.
However, the trick here is to create a harmony between the milky flavors from the cheese and the earthy and rounded flavors from the vegetables.
Furthermore, the texture of the cheese has to fit the combination of vegetables too.
For example, a bowl of soft vegetables like eggplant, salad leaves, onions, peas, and so on, can benefit a lot from a semi-hard cheese like feta, which can also help boost the overall flavor of the salad because of its salt content.
On the other hand, for firmer and crunchier veggies, you can go for melting cheese for a gooey and satisfying bite that combines the richness of the cheese and the crunchiness of the vegetables!
Crumbly cheeses like cottage cheese can also be used to the same effect.
Continue reading for the best cheeses that you can use whole, shredded, melted, and in various sauces!
Using Dressings With Cheese
Salad dressings are an important addition to any type of salad. Even though they can be a bit heavy on calories, they are seen as a crucial ingredient in many salad recipes because of their ability to enhance the overall flavor of any salad recipe.
However, we recommend that you ditch the store-bought dressings and opt for a healthier and even tastier alternative.
For example, a simple cheddar cheese dressing can add a lot of presentation and flavor to a dull bowl of vegetables.
Similarly, you can make a blue cheese dip/dressing that is free from preservatives, which can also totally enhance the flavor of your homemade salad dish.
Other flavorful ingredients like vegetable oil, nut butter, balsamic vinegar, and yogurt can also be used in addition to cheese toppings or cheese-based dressings for an even heartier and fulfilling salad recipe.
The 11 Best Cheese Types for Salads
Here are our top picks for the best salad cheeses that you can use in different ways. Pick one or use a combination of different cheeses to change things up the next time you prepare a salad!
Mozzarella is an accessible and readily available cheese that can be used in just about any type of salad. It has the benefit of having a lower melting point which means that you can add it as a gooey and fatty layer over the vegetables.
Since mozzarella also acts as an excellent binding agent when melted, it can pair well with crunchy vegetables and can help create an irresistible bite!
Mozzarella is perhaps best used to make a Caprese salad, which consists of sliced mozzarella, tomatoes, herbs, and olive oil.
Even if you don’t want to highlight it in your salad, mozzarella can literally bring everything together and can add a balanced flavor and richness to any type of salad, especially when you add meat toppings to the mix!
2. Feta Cheese
Popularly used in Greek salad, feta cheese is a goat’s milk cheese that provides a little more tanginess than cow’s milk. It also arguably has better texture and overall flavor.
The great thing about feta is that it can be crumbled and added as a garnish on any type of salad.
There are softer and more spreadable varieties of feta cheese too but we recommend that you go with a slightly aged cheese with a firm texture.
This will allow you to use the cheese in different ways – and thanks to its iconic tangy and salty tone, it can elevate the flavors of virtually every kind of salad.
Try feta cheese with olives, tomatoes, green leaves, carrots, and more! You can even sauté some of the hard vegetables to get an even more mature flavor.
Parmesan cheese is best known for its nutty and salty flavors. It has a semi-hard texture with a lower melting point than other hard cheeses.
This means that parmesan can be used in several types of salads just like mozzarella.
Furthermore, parmesan can also be paired with other types of cheeses and can be baked for an even better and more pronounced flavor!
We recommend trying parmesan cheese with onions, olives, cubes tomatoes, boiled potatoes, and more.
While cheddar may not be the best salad cheese because of its sharp flavor, it can be used to great success in pasta salads.
Throw in some cheddar slices or shredded cheddar with a macaroni salad and you will have yourself a delicious meal!
For the best results, we recommend using cheddar sparingly so that it doesn’t overpower the flavor of the rest of the ingredients. Try mixing different types of cheese to get the right balance of texture and tone!
The best way to get the most out of its strong flavor is to pair it with peppers, eggplant, broccoli, baby carrots, and more!
Swiss cheese and salads are often seen as an odd pairing, but trust us, the nutty flavors from this cheese along with crunchy vegetables will have you wondering why you didn’t try this combo sooner!
Swiss is widely used and is the center of Wurst salat, a Swiss sausage salad that combines tasty cuts of pork and sausages, vegetables, and Swiss cheese!
Apart from meat-based salads, you can also use this cheese with a range of vegetables.
We recommend pairing Swiss cheese, onions, olives, carrots, and croutons. If you like more decadence then you may also make a cheese sauce using Swiss cheese, spices, and herbs.
6. Blue Cheese
Looking for a healthy and tasty cheese? Then Blue (or bleu) cheese is the best option to use in salads. Blue cheese is a semi-soft cheese made from an edible mold named Penicillium.
This cheese is known for its bluish tint, which is due to the veins of the mold which tend to be either green or blue.
Bleu cheese has a distinct tangy and salty flavor and pairs extremely well with simple ingredients.
You can also use it to enhance the flavor of any meat-based salad too! The best way to use it is to cut it into small cubes and toss them with the salad.
Since bleu cheese has a distinct and pronounced flavor, you can add meat toppings and even nuts to your salad to create a well-balanced and thoroughly delicious salad.
7. Ricotta Cheese
Known as a whey cheese, Ricotta is made from the byproduct of other cheeses and has a crumbly texture.
This cheese is known for its rich texture and delicious flavor. Perhaps the best thing about ricotta is that it can be mixed with other ingredients like spices and herbs.
Herbed ricotta in particular is a favorite among salad lovers. The herby flavors from the cheese along with its richness can add a whole new dimension of flavors to every type of salad.
The next time you prepare a salad bowl, try adding a few dollops of spiced or herbed ricotta over it for a healthy and tasty kick!
Halloumi cheese is a goat’s milk cheese that pairs extremely well with salads. By default, goat or sheep milk cheese has been the preferred choice in salads for centuries and this rule of thumb still proves its worth in today’s world.
If you enjoy feta cheese then halloumi will be a great alternative to it!
Furthermore, halloumi is considered one of the most balanced hard cheeses because of its rounded overall flavor. It is usually cut into cubes or slices and added over salads.
While halloumi has a higher melting point, it can still be used as a melting cheese which furthers its flavor and adds a whole new level of decadence.
9. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is the simplest and arguably the healthiest option when it comes to salads.
Historically, salads have been seen as a simple and healthy alternative to other heavier and caloric-rich foods. But over time, the humble salad has changed with evolving taste preferences.
Dressing-heavy salads have become extremely common and are even seen as the norm when it comes to salads. However, there is a better way to get the most out of a simple salad without adding a lot of “empty calories.
Enter cottage cheese! This cheese is a favorite for many and can be bought from any store.
It is also very easy to make at home! All you need is to curdle the milk, collect the curdled milk solids, drain and then compress to form the cheese block.
Cottage cheese has a mild tangy flavor and provides a crumbly texture. The best way to get the most out of its flavor is to pair it with a range of spices and even pickles! Cut it into cubes and add it to your favorite salads!
10. Goat Cheese
In general, goat cheese should be your go-to when it comes to salads. The rich flavor of the cheese along with its semi-hard and soft texture adds a lot of appeal to an otherwise bland bowl of vegetables.
Try any goat cheese like graviera, kefalograviera, kasseri, kefalotyri, and more! These cheeses have the benefit of having a high melting point.
This means that you can even grill them before adding them to the salad for an even deeper and more developed flavor.
The best thing about using goat milk cheese is that it can provide a greater texture and flavor than regular cow milk cheese.
Depending on your taste preference, you can even go with a slightly more aged cheese if you want a deeper flavor.
Since goat cheese is semi-hard, it can be cut into different shapes or be used as thin slices (or shavings). Add the cheese as a garnish and enjoy!
Gouda is one of the best-known cheeses in the world. Made from cow’s milk, gouda has a sweet and earthy flavor that is highly appealing and will fit the palettes of the masses.
It has an attractive light golden to yellow color that can add a lot of presentation points to your bowl of greens.
Since gouda can either be melted or used as it is, it will provide you with greater flexibility and will even help you come up with new salad recipes. The best way to use gouda is to cut it into small cubes or to thinly slice it.
Try an apple gouda walnut salad to get an idea of how this cheese can be used to enhance the flavor of the salad without being too dominating!
The best cheese for salads is usually the one that best fits your personal preferences and there are several different types of cheese that you can use with a variety of vegetable combinations.
Now that you know all about the best types of cheese to try with salads, here are some related questions!
Can You Store Salad With Cheese?
If you are adding cheese to your salad then the best way to store it would be to just keep it in the refrigerator.
Typically, soft cheese or spreadable cheese should always be refrigerated but you may even freeze them for long-term use.
However, keep in mind that once frozen, thawing the whole dish may cause some textural changes in the vegetable due to the added moisture and possible freezer burn.
This is why you should aim to consume any type of salad dish within 48 hours for the best flavor and maximum freshness.
Can You Use Cheese Slices on a Salad?
Yes! Generic cheese slices or flavored cheese slices like pepper jack can be used on salads.
Cheese slices provide a simple and efficient way to add more flavor and texture to an otherwise simple bowl of vegetables.
Can You Add Cream Cheese to Salads?
Yes. Not only can you add cream cheese to your salads but you can also make a delicious dip or dressing using it too.
Cream cheese is popular all around the world and its ability to spread and coat makes it an excellent choice to bind vegetables and provide richness in every bite.
For the best results, try pairing cream cheese with meat and vegetable-based salads. However, be careful when using cream cheese as an ingredient in salads because it is very easy to overdo it.
If you are looking for a healthier alternative then you may want to try ricotta or cottage cheese instead.