Jump into Mediterranean cooking with feta cheese

Stack of feta cheese blocks on a plate beside a bowl of sugar. Contains orange I block logo and Illinois Extension wordmark.
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As part of Mediterranean cuisine, feta cheese is used in a wide variety of dishes. Originally from Greece, feta cheese is made with sheep’s milk, but may also contain up to 30% goat’s milk. However, most of the feta cheese made and sold here in the United States is made from cow’s milk, certainly giving it a different, often milder, flavor than authentic feta. Feta cheese has a creamy white color and crumbly texture. Depending on the age of the cheese, it’s either a soft or semi-hard cheese that crumbles when pressed and is sold as either blocks or crumbles.  

Feta cheese has less fat and calories than most aged cheeses, and when made with skimmed cow’s milk, it’s reduced even more. It has a moderate amount of calcium and B-vitamins. However, because feta is cured in a salty brine, it has quite a bit of sodium. Feta cheese can be paired with many foods, including tomatoes, spinach, zucchini, eggs, pasta and hearty breads. Add it to any salad or even fruit, such as watermelon with feta and fresh mint. Feta cheese softens when heated but doesn’t melt. It’s delicious sprinkled with roasted vegetables or on top of flatbreads. Store feta cheese in its brine in the refrigerator for 4-6 weeks. For crumbles or feta without a brine, store in a tightly sealed container or plastic bag for about 1 week. Jump into Mediterranean cooking with feta cheese!  

 

Crustless Spinach Mushroom and Feta Quiche

(Printable PDF)

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

8 oz. sliced fresh mushrooms

1 clove garlic, minced

1 (10 oz.) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed

2 oz. crumbled feta cheese

4 large eggs

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 cup skim milk

½ cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese

 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Wash hands with soap and warm water. Spray a 9-inch pie plate with non-stick cooking spray. Heat oil in a medium skillet. Sauté the mushrooms until they have released all their moisture. Add garlic and sauté 1 more minute. Remove from heat. Layer the mushrooms, spinach and feta cheese in the bottom of the pie plate. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, Parmesan cheese, pepper and milk. Pour over veggies and feta. Top egg mixture with mozzarella cheese. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until minimum internal temperature reaches 160°F measured by a food thermometer.

Yield: 6 servings

 

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 130 calories, 5 grams fat, 300 milligrams sodium, 7 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 11 grams protein

 

Source:

USDA. Food Data Central. Feta cheese

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Lena Kudryavtseva on Unsplash

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jenna Smith is a Nutrition and Wellness Educator with University of Illinois Extension, serving Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties. Smith uses her experience as a registered dietitian nutritionist to deliver impactful information and cutting-edge programs to Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties and beyond.