Ricotta Salata is cheese made out of sheep’s milk. It originated in Italy and is made from regular ricotta cheese. To create ricotta salata, you have to salt, press, and then dry up the ricotta.
The end result is a thicker and creamier cheese texture that can be used in various dishes. It has this loose consistency that quickly crumbles in your hands. Ricotta Salata is easier to use in dishes and contains just 156 calories per 100 grams.
Unfortunately, ricotta salata isn’t that common outside of Italy or other Europe-based countries. If you’re located in the United States, it might be tough to find this ingredient for your paste dish.
Here are some substitutes you can try out if you don’t have any ricotta salata!
If you love to make things from scratch – you’ll love cashew cheese! This is a non-dairy alternative that’s perfect for people who are lactose intolerant. You can make it yourself because the market isn’t exactly saturated with cashew cheese.
There are more than 2,000 varieties of cheese!
To make this, just soak the cashew nuts overnight. Once they’re good and soft, blend them in a mixture of water, lemon juice, and salt. For added flavor, mix in some nutritional yeast. Squeeze out some liquid if you want. The resulting texture should be similar to ricotta salata.
The dish works well with stuffed shells, scones, zucchini paste, and cheese manicotti. Use a 1:1 substitution. Every 28 gram serving contains 90 calories.
Cottage cheese is perhaps the most common alternative you can find in the market today. Cottage cheese is considered low-fat and you can buy it in practically any store today.
When buying cottage cheese, you want to grab the small curd type instead of the large curd. The small curd will be the closest possible substitute to ricotta salata. Taste wise however, both are incredibly tasty and perfect for most dishes. Typically, this is used in dumplings, pasta, lasagna, and even some dessert recipes.
Use a 1:1 ratio for cottage cheese substitution. Note however, that cottage cheese typically has more whey. You can use a sieve to remove the excess liquid, so it will be close to ricotta salata in texture.
Taste-wise, it’s very close to ricotta but at a milder and saltier flavor. It’s pretty low calorie at just 98 calories per 100 grams.
Cotija is made from cow’s milk. Since it’s a Mexican cheese, you can find Cotija added in most Mexican dishes – including tacos. In fact, they’re very popular in Mexican stores and have a fairly reasonable price tag.
Compared to ricotta salata, cotija has a creamier texture that makes it perfect for omelets and cooked dishes. When added on top of baked goods, you’ll be able to enjoy this layer of creamy goodness that you can’t get without other ricotta salata cheese substitutes.
Always opt for the fresher versions of cotija since they will give you better flavor. They work best when added with eggs – creating the perfect omelet in the morning! It has this slightly salty taste, so you can lower the salt content of some recipes. Cotija is also known as Mexico’s parmesan because of its popularity.
Calorie-wise, the cheese contains around 600 calories per 170 grams, so if you’re on a low-cal diet, you might want to keep amounts low.
This is perhaps the best alternative to ricotta salata. The Greek White cheese is very common and you can find it in most stores all over the world. It’s also made from sheep’s milk but with a mixture of goat’s milk.
Feta cheese can be used in practically any type of dish – whether you’re cooking pasta or another savory recipe. Note that compared to ricotta salata, feta cheese has a saltier taste to it. If the recipe calls for 100 grams of ricotta salata, use just 50 grams of feta cheese.
Since feta cheese is higher in calories, the 1:1/2 substitution actually works in your favor. Feta has 264 calories per 100 grams.
Manouri is a semi-soft cheese. It’s very easy to crush or crumble, although you can also slice it into small slivers for sandwiches.
It can be made from sheep’s or goat’s milk. When included in recipes, it helps create a light and creamy texture to the dish. If you’re adding ricotta salata for the consistency it adds to your recipe – manouri is a good choice.
Note that manouri isn’t very popular so you might have a hard time finding it in grocery stores. However, there are shops that carry it at reasonable prices.
You’ll find that manouri has this creamy milky taste with just a few hints of citrus aftertaste. As a result, the cheese is best used for dessert recipes or baked goods with a fruit base.
You can combine it with watermelon, orange, pineapple, peach, and other fruit flavors to help enhance and contrast the flavor. Use a 1:1 ratio for cheese substitution. Note that manouri is pretty high-calorie compared to other options. Each 14 gram serving already contains roughly 75 calories so keep your servings small if you’re trying to lose weight.
Mizithra is a Greek cheese you can find in various stores. It can be made from either goat or sheep’s milk. In some cases, the cheese is made from a combination of both milk sources.
It’s not an exact substitute for ricotta salata but its close enough if you’re using it for pasta or other cooked dishes. You can buy it fresh or you can get the salt-dried grating version. Of the two, the salt-dried will be closest one to ricotta salata.
Follow a 1:1 ratio when using this as a substitute. Every 100 grams should contain around 165 calories but it still depends on the cheese brand. Don’t be confused – mizithra is also sold as myzithra.
Pecorino Romano is Italian cheese usually added in pizza and pasta dishes. It’s a pretty fancy cheese that’s easily found in many Italian stores. The texture is thick with a strong taste that helps add a layer of flavor to any food you’re cooking.
Since it’s very easy to grate, you can quickly add it to salad or cooked dishes for added flavor. Add in just a few grams at a time and taste your cooked dish until you get the exact taste you want. It melts pretty easy and gives this amazing stretch when used on top of pizza!
Follow a 1:1 substitute for Pecorino Romano when cooking. If adding this as a topping to pizza or salads, just add according to your personal preferences. Every 100 grams of this cheese contains around 326 calories, so it’s more caloric-heavy than ricotta salata.
Ricotta salata is made from ricotta, so it makes sense that this is a possible substitute. Obviously, there’s a slight difference in flavoring because ricotta salata goes through an additional process.
It’s a milder flavor with a less crumbly structure. You can use this in pasta dishes or sweet and savory meals. It has a mild and creamy consistency with a low salt content – perfect for people with high blood pressure.
If you want to grate ricotta, you can also put it in the oven to harden. Follow a 1:1 substitution. Every 100 grams of ricotta contains 174 calories.
Queso Fresco is a Mexican Cheese that can offer you the same texture as ricotta salata. You can put it in baked dishes or crumble it up as part of a salad. It also has this mild and creamy texture that’s perfect for creating rich dishes.
If you’re looking for a cheese substitute with less sodium – this is the perfect item to have in the pantry. It’s very high calorie, though with 310 calories per 100 grams.
There’s not much to say about ricotta affumicata except that it’s made from sheep’s whey. It has a firm but tender consistency, which makes it perfect for grating.
The taste is a combination of salty and smoky, which makes it a good choice for barbequed meat.
Tofu isn’t exactly cheese – but it looks and feels like one. Taste-wise, you might find tofu a bit bland compared to ricotta salata. It’s made from soy-milk and is an excellent vegan option. If you have lactose intolerance, tofu is also a good substitute for your recipe.
Note though, that not all tofu are the same. If you want to stay faithful to the recipe, make sure to choose silken tofu. This type of tofu has the same consistency of ricotta salata, so you can get the texture you want.
Tofu is best used for lasagna or ravioli dishes. Make sure to season the tofu as well because it has a milder and blander taste. With this, you actually have full control over the final flavor of your dish.
As an added bonus – tofu is a low calorie substitute! It only has 76 calories per 100 grams. It’s also a good protein source. Follow a 1:1 ratio substitution for best results.
Ricotta infornata is another version of ricotta. It doesn’t have the same taste or even color as Italian cheese. To produce it, you need to bake the cheese until it produces a brown rind. Despite the difference however, ricotta infornata is still a good ricotta salata substitute.
The cheese is best used in cold dishes. You can add in pasta or vegetable salads instead of ricotta salata. The taste is milder with a slightly nutty flavor. They’re very easy to cut into thin slices so you can put it in sandwiches too!
Note that the brown rind portion is where most of the flavor comes from so don’t take it out! For substitution, just follow a 1:1 ratio or just add to taste. Calories for ricotta infornata depend mainly on the brand itself. However, you’ll find that most brands have approximately the same calories as ricotta cheese.
Homemade Ricotta Salata
When all else fails – just make your own ricotta salata! Use 1 gallon of sheep or cow’s milk, ½ cup rich cream, 1 teaspoon citric acid powder, and 1 tablespoon of cheese salt. Combine them all together and stir under medium heat. Do this until curd forms.