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Are you starting the Mediterranean diet for the new year and wondering which cheeses to include? While dairy products are allowed on the Mediterranean diet, you want them to be as unprocessed as possible. Here are the best cheeses to choose from on the Mediterranean diet.
1. Parmigiano Reggiano
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is a hard cheese that is perfect for grating over pasta, soups, and risotto, but you can use it on top of any dish. This cheese has a strong flavor, so just a little goes a long way.
Ricotta is a soft and creamy cheese that is perfect for adding to sauces or for making a dip. You can spread it on toast, put a dollop on fruit, and, of course, make your favorite stuffed shells with it!
Feta cheese is a brined white cheese that in the Mediterranean is made with sheep’s milk or a mixture of goat and sheep’s milk. Feta cheese has a tangy, bright flavor that is perfect for crumbling on top of salads or stuffing inside of meat.
Pecorino cheese is a hard, salty cheese made from sheep’s milk. It is crumbly and has a distinct tangy flavor. Pecorino cheese is commonly used for grating on top of salads, pasta, or soup.
5. Goat’s Milk Cheese
Goat cheese is also sometimes called chevre, and it is made using goat’s milk. Goat’s milk cheese has a waxy texture and a strong, distinctive flavor. This cheese is good for spreading on toast, mixing into a dip, or crumbling over a salad.
6. Ricotta Salata
Ricotta salata is not a soft, spreadable cheese like ricotta. It’s a firm and crumbly cheese. The cheese becomes firm by adding salt to it, pressing it, and aging it for months. This cheese can be used in soups, salads, pastas, and on sandwiches.
Manchego cheese is made from sheep’s milk, and it is aged at a minimum of 60 days and a maximum of two years. Manchego cheese has a crumbly texture and a rich, full, even somewhat zesty flavor. Manchego cheese is mostly eaten raw and served as an appetizer or on a simple sandwich with cured meats.
Halloumi cheese is made with a combination of sheep’s milk and goat’s milk. It has a unique texture that “squeaks” and a high melting point. You can easily fry or grill this cheese and put it on top of a salad or sandwich. Some people even use it as a meat substitute.
Brie cheese can be made from cow’s milk or goat’s milk, and it has a soft, sometimes runny texture. Brie cheese has a smooth, mellow flavor that pairs well with crackers, bread, and fruits. It can also be used in pasta dishes.
Mozzarella cheese is a semi-soft, un-aged cheese made from cow’s milk in the US but traditionally made from buffalo milk in Italy. Mozzarella has a mild, lightly salted flavor, and it melts beautifully in casseroles and on pizza.
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This originally appeared on The Gracious Pantry.