Undeniably, Rome is home to a lot of things – structures, and foods recognized by many people worldwide. A famous product in Rome is cheese, which is also called Romano, based on the city where it came from.
Romano is basically a hard cheese. It has a crystalline structure and texture, as well as a nutty and umami flavor. Many also find the taste of Romano cheese sharp, strong, and tangy.
If you are not that fond of the strong taste of Romano cheese, you can look for a replacement. There are also Romano cheese substitutes that you can use in your recipes if you run out of this ingredient. The best substitutes include the following:
- Parmesan Cheese
- Cheddar Cheese
- Grana Padano
- Spanish Manchego
- Piave Vecchio cheese
Continue reading so you can further familiarize yourself with the mentioned Romano cheese substitutes.
10 Best Substitute For Romano Cheese
Also called Pecorino cheese, Romano cheese carries several great benefits for those who decide to include it in their cooking. It is famous for its ability to protect you from coronary heart disease and arteriosclerosis.
It also has antioxidant, anti-diabetic, and anti-tumor properties. Pecorino Romano cheese is also safe and healthy that even those who suffer from lactose intolerance can eat it. [Source]
However, if for whatever reason you can’t use Romano cheese in your dishes, here are its most notable substitutes:
Parmesan cheese refers to a hard aged cheese with a salty and nutty taste and a gritty texture. It comes from unpasteurized and raw cow’s milk aged for 12 months, at the very least.
Aging is necessary as it can help kill harmful bacteria in the cheese and bring out its complex yet nice flavors.
Parmesan is a fantastic substitute for Romano cheese, especially if what you are looking for is a healthy alternative. The reason is that it is considered one of the healthiest types of cheese.
It is rich in phosphorus and calcium – both of which are vital for forming strong and healthy bones. Just like Romano cheese, parmesan also has low lactose content, making it ideal for those suffering from lactose intolerance. [Source]
Parmesan is the same as Romano because of its nutty and sharp taste. Note, though, that Pecorino Romano is tangier and saltier than parmesan, so consider that when using it as a substitute. The best ratio, therefore, is 1:1 but add more salt to your dish if necessary.
You may also use asiago, which is an Italian cheese, as a Romano cheese substitute. Among the things that Asiago is known for include its mild flavor and smooth texture. It also has the ability to create a crystallized and hard texture and produce a pungent and sharp taste.
Made from unpasteurized cow’s milk, Asiago is nuttier and sharper in taste compared to Romano. You can grate this cheese over foods but be more mindful when doing so as it is also softer than Romano.
It melts easily, which makes it good to use as a topping for your pizza. You may want to add it around the end of cooking your dish as doing so can provide a creamier consistency. This is especially helpful when preparing stews and sauces.
You can also recognize Asiago because of its slightly nutty flavor. It is ideal for recipes that require mild cheese, like lasagna. Follow the 1:1 ratio when using Asiago in place of Romano.
Cheddar cheese will not also fail you if you decide to use it as a Romano cheese alternative. It is a famous American cheese that results from heating the milk at a max temperature of 180 degrees F. Once it reaches that temperature, enzymes, and bacteria will be added.
It then goes through the process of fermentation, which can lead to the production of lactic acid and thick curd. Once the curd matures, you will notice it becoming drier and harder.
Cheddar cheese works well as a Romano cheese substitute, but you have to take note of its strong flavor. The fact that its flavor is kind of strong makes it a bit different from Romano.
If you plan to choose cheddar cheese as your Romano cheese substitute, make it a point to add more seasonings. This will help in balancing the taste. Use the aged cheddar by grating it over your dish.
Another common Romano cheese substitute is Grana Padano. This Italian cheese has similarities with Romano cheese in terms of texture and taste. The good thing about it is that its calorie content is lesser compared to other kinds of cheese, including Romano.
Another advantage of using Grana Padano in place of Romano is that it can provide your recipe with a more original flavor. The reason is that this Italian cheese boasts of a rich flavor.
You can also choose from the sweet and salty versions of Grana Padano. It has a less flaky texture compared to parmesan but it is still quite the same compared to Romano.
If you choose this substitute, go for the 1:1 ratio. Also, spend time checking the salt content of this cheese as it is lower compared to Romano. This may require you to make some adjustments to your recipes by adding some seasonings.
Mozzarella is a great addition to your dishes if you are looking for something to replace the required Romano cheese. This Italian cheese is famous for its creamy texture and soft shell.
When using mozzarella as a Romano cheese substitute, remind yourself that the former is kind of salty. It also has a slight hint of tanginess. Also, take note that compared to Romano, it tastes less sharp.
With that, it would be necessary for you to make adjustments to the quantity. Once you master the required adjustments, you can start adding it to your pasta, soups, and pizzas. Mozzarella will serve as a great ingredient for recipes that need Romano, which you may not have on hand.
You can also use Spanish Manchego, a cheese that came from La Mancha in Spain, in place of Romano. It is similar to Romano cheese in the sense that the two are made of sheep’s milk. The Spanish Manchego cheese reaches full maturity within 1 to 20 months.
Once it fully matures, expect the cheese to become compact and rigid. It will also have a texture that resembles that of butter. This makes it a great addition to recipes that require cheese toppings.
Note, though, that despite the similarities between Spanish Manchego and Romano cheese, they still differ in terms of taste. The Spanish Manchego is known for its fruity flavor. Meanwhile, Romano cheese is famous for its unique nutty flavor.
Despite that, Spanish Manchego also holds a tangy flavor that can also be likened to that of Romano cheese. This makes it ideal for use on pasta, baked recipes, pastries, and other dishes that require Romano.
Piave Vecchio Cheese
Classified as a soft cheese derived from cow’s milk, Piave Vecchio cheese is also another suitable Romano cheese replacement. Some also refer to this cheese as Italian cream cheese because aside from its light color, it also has a butter-like flavor.
Traditionally, Piave Vecchio cheese is eaten fresh. You can also use it on pasta or as a spread for bread. It has a few similarities to Romano, making it a good substitute.
This sweet and white cheese seems to be compatible with any dish that is in need of Romano cheese.
One important fact about Piave is that its taste and color tend to get stronger as it ages. It will become darker and produce a strong and sharp taste.
Used frequently as a dessert cheese, Piave tends to be more flavorful when used over fruit desserts, such as baked apples and apple pies.
When used as a substitute for Romano, the 1:1 ratio should serve as your guideline. Also, check your recipe every now and then so you will know if you should put in more salt.
Vegan Romano Cheese
If you are a vegan who is looking for a good Romano replacement, know that you can make your own. It is actually possible for you to create your own homemade and vegan version of Romano cheese.
What You Need
- three-fourth cup raw cashews
- one-half cup garlic
- two tablespoons nutritional yeast
- one teaspoon of sea salt
- three tablespoons almond meal.
- 1 or 2 organic onion.
Combine all the ingredients. Mix well until the ideal texture is attained. Add the mixture into an airtight container. You should then put it in your fridge for a minimum of six months.
Once that period is up, you will have your own vegan Romano cheese that you can use in your recipes whenever you run out of the ones sold in stores and supermarkets.
You are also allowed to use nutritional yeast in your recipes requiring Romano cheese. It is a non-dairy and vegan replacement known for its savory and cheesy flavor. It has a strong taste that can remind you of the flavors of Romano cheese.
Rich in B-vitamins and minerals, this deactivated type of yeast serves as an effective flavoring agent for various foods and dishes. These include sauces, soups, spreads, dressings, and dips.
It also has all the essential amino acids, making it completely healthy for you. You can use it as an alternative to Romano cheese in almost all recipes, especially if you are a vegan. Even if it is not a cheese, it can still provide your dishes with a cheesy flavor without increasing their fat content. [Source]
Tree Nuts or Soy
Tree nuts or soy are also ideal for you if you prefer a non-dairy replacement. The fact that they are vegan-friendly makes them good for your health, too.
You will love these non-dairy replacements as you can easily find them in stores. They are also versatile in that they are compatible with all dishes and recipes that need Romano. When substituting using tree nuts or soy, make sure that you follow the 1:1 ratio.
Romano Cheese Substitute Related FAQs
What makes Romano and parmesan cheese different?
The main difference between the two is the flavor. While Romano cheese has a milder taste, the parmesan can be differentiated due to its light yellow and granular structure and consistency.
Can I classify Pecorino Romano cheese as a melting cheese?
No. It is actually a hard cheese that works well for grating. The reason is that it also has a low moisture content that may only lead to a very high melting point.
Is Romano cheese good for my health?
Yes. It has plenty of nutrients that are good for your body. One of these is the conjugated linoleic acid, which can play a major role in making one less prone to high blood pressure.
Romano cheese also has properties that can lower your risk of chronic inflammations and diabetes.
Can Romano cheese spoil or go bad?
Yes. Romano cheese and other hard cheese varieties are like other dairy products in the sense that they will spoil eventually.
Fortunately, Romano cheese has lower water content compared to brie and other soft cheese. This is the reason why it is capable of lasting longer.