Is Feta Cheese Vegetarian

Is Feta Cheese Vegetarian?

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A Greek-brined white cheese made from sheep's milk or a mixture of sheep and goat's milk is called Feta Cheese. It has been concerning to the people if this white cheese is vegetarian or not. Food that is not made with ingredients derived from animals is eaten by the ingredients. 

In this article, we will make clear if feta cheese is vegetarian-friendly and if there are any alternatives if it is not for vegetarians.

What is feta cheese?

What is feta cheese

Feta cheese is in white colour and made from goat or sheep milk. It has a process to prepare the cheese. At first bacteria and rennet is added to fresh warm milk. The bacteria and rennet are used to coagulate the milk and convert it into cheese. 

As the milk is curdled, watery whey is removed by draining from the mixture. It takes a shape of solid cheese like cheddar and parmesan. 

Try these 4 tasty recipes with feta cheese along with your meals.

What Does Feta Cheese Taste Like?

What Does Feta Cheese Taste Like

Feta cheeses are eaten fresh and cooked. It is served after grilling with omelettes, sandwiches or with other dishes. It tastes tangy and salty. The cheese has crumbly and creamy compositions. The intensity of saltiness depends on how much salt solution the cheese has been stored in.

However, the flavour of the feta cheese will vary because of regional components and their surroundings. Feta cheese is widely produced in Greece and was acknowledged by people for its taste. However, feta cheese is also produced in many other regions. So with the change of grassland, the taste and flavour of the cheese will vary.

Is feta cheese vegetarian?

Is feta cheese vegetarian

To solidify the texture of the cheese, rennet is used.  Rennet is an enzyme that is extracted from the stomachs of newborn calves. This enzyme helps coagulate the milk and turns it into cheese. So, feta cheese can not be considered for vegetarians. 

On the other hand, there are brands that produce vegetarian-friendly feta cheese. They use plant-based rennet that is made of fig leaves, good bacteria, artichokes, thistle, nettles, ground ivy, and even mold.

Is feta cheese dairy-free?

No, feta cheese is not dairy free. It is made of goat or sheep’s milk making it a dairy product. Moreover, it contains higher lactose compared to other cheese. So, if you are lactose intolerant, you should avoid feta cheese.

Is feta cheese vegan?

A vegan abstains from eating all meat and animal products. Goat or sheep milk is used to prepare feta cheese . Also, an animal enzyme called rennet is used to solidify the milk into cheese. So, feta cheese cannot be considered a vegan product. But, vegan versions of feta cheese are also available so that vegans can also change the taste of cheese.

Is it possible to make feta cheese without using rennet?

Rennet is an enzyme that helps to coagulate milk. But it is not the only option to coagulate milk. Lemon juice, vinegar, or good bacteria can be used to coagulate milk. Vegan rennets are also available which are extracted from dried caper leaves, ground ivy, microbes from the Rhizomucor miehei mold or from fermentation-produced chymosin (FPC).

What is used to make vegan feta cheese?

Tofu is used as the base to make the feta cheese. Tofu gives the same appearance and texture as feta cheese which is made of goat milk. Soy milk can also be used instead of milk. Nuts like cashews, macadamia or almonds are also used as the main ingredients of the feta cheese but they needed to be blended into a smooth texture before processing into cheese. 

Lemon juice or vinegar is used to solidify the ingredients and give a form of cheese. You will get a tangy taste because of the addition of vinegar and lemon juice. 

Moreover, the addition of garlic or onion powder enhances the flavour of the cheese. 

Lastly, miso is widely used to make vegan feta cheese. It is a product of soybean and gives an umami flavour to the cheese.

In conclusion, we can say that all feta cheeses are not vegetarian as it is processed using goat or sheep’s milk and animal enzyme rennet. However, there are many brands which are producing vegetarian-friendly feta cheeses. They use plant-based products to make feta cheese. It is better to look through the ingredients before buying feta cheese for your dishes.

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Bella Howard

Bella Howard is a contributing writer and foodie with a particular love of Mexican, Chinese and Euro...

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