Plan & Prep

5 Great Cheeses to Add to Winter Salads

published Jan 12, 2012
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(Image credit: Megan Gordon)

Let’s face it: goat cheese crumbles get can boring. And there’s a whole exciting world of cheeses that are just calling out to be discovered, hoping to be chosen as the one that will liven up your green salads this season.

Winter salads can be tricky because, truthfully, we don’t have luscious tomatoes and summer vegetables to slice and create colorful, filling creations. Instead, we rely on heartier greens, bulbs like fennel and radishes, cucumbers and carrots, and the occasional root vegetable. So cheese can be important. Cheese adds flavor and texture to what can otherwise be a repetitive salad. While most of these selections are certainly season-less, we chose the following five cheeses because they compliment a heartier, more substantial salad with a certain kind of grace. We think you’ll agree.

5 of Our Favorites:

1) Ricotta Salata: This ricotta isn’t creamy like the one you may be most familiar with. Instead, it’s a firm, mild, slightly salty cheese that’s great in place of feta or goat cheese.
2) Parmigiano-Reggiano: This earthy salty, nutty cheese is often used to finish a pasta dish, but it’s wonderful grated over salads as well.
3) Manchego: This Spanish sheep’s-milk cheese boasts a sweet, mildness and a slightly smoky flavor. Perfect to slice for appetizers but even better with olives, sliced cucumbers and preserved lemon in your next salad.
4) Creamy Feta: Since winter salads often have heartier greens, using a crumbly and salty feta with a lighter consistency will add a nice kick to each bite, making your salad much more of a pleasure than a flat mid-January obligation.
5) Blue Stilton: For our last cheese, we chose an English blue cheese that doesn’t come off too strong. To make a well-balanced salad, add something sweet like candied nuts or dried fruits: the sharp flavor of the Stilton will balance it nicely.