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Substitute For Feta In Macaroni Cheese

Asked by simone_rigley. Answered on 20th February 2017

Full question

I'd love to make Nigella's Sweet Potato Macaroni Cheese but I have a sensitivity to feta. Is there another, non-aged cheese that would substitute well?

Sweet Potato Macaroni Cheese
Photo by Keiko Oikawa
Sweet Potato Macaroni Cheese
By Nigella
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Our answer

Nigella's Sweet Potato Macaroni Cheese (from SIMPLY NIGELLA) has a sauce that is blended with a sweet potato puree and then has small cubes of feta folded through. The feta cheese gives a slightly salty contrast to the sweet, golden sauce and it softens as the pasta dishes are baked, though does not quite fully melt into the sauce.

In the US and parts of Europe you can buy a fresh pressed cheese known as "farmer cheese", or in Mexico "queso fresco", which would probably be the best substitute. However it lacks the salty bite of feta and you may need to season the sauce a little more. In the UK the Indian cheese paneer is the closest substitute and you can find it in some supermarkets and speciality stores. Otherwise fresh cheese tends to be found mainly as soft cheeses and these will blend into the sauce a little too easily, but a fresh, firm-ish goat cheese would probably be the next closest substitute. If you have the time and inclination then you can make paneer and queso fresco at home and there are several recipes on the internet. Cheddar is also often an aged cheese, so for the topping you may want to use mozzarella as an alternative.

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