Can you recommend some cheeses that might be healthier than others to add? I love cheese on salads.
– Terri Korolev
San Francisco, CA
The key is to use cheeses that provide plenty of flavor but not a lot of saturated fat or sodium.
Remember — the saturated fats in full-fat dairy are more atherogenic than those in other foods (like coconuts and cocoa beans).
The absolute best choices are grated hard cheeses like romano and parmigiano-reggiano (also known as parmesan).
In the case of romano, two tablespoons only add:
That same amount of parmesan cheese, meanwhile, clocks in at:
Another good addition to salads is bocconcini — fresh mozarella balls packaged in liquid (pictured alongside this post). Two pieces of bocconcini provide:
An ounce of whole milk ricotta also delivers strong flavors with a very decent nutritional profile:
If you prefer cheeses higher in saturated fat and/or sodium (i.e: blue cheese, feta, Swiss, etc.), you can still include them. The key is to plan out the rest of your meals accordingly.
For example, if you crave a feta cheese-arugula-pear salad for dinner, make your breakfast, lunch, and snacks that day are low in saturated fat and sodium.
Vegans — you too can enjoy cheeses in your salads — and I don’t just mean shredded-cheddar imitations made from rice or soy.
Dr. Cow makes delicious nut-based cheeses. Most of them include acidophilus, which helps mimic the texture and flavor of aged cheeses. I personally enjoy the aged cashew and crystal algae “cheese”!
Similarly, there are a variety of vegan alternatives to grated parmesan cheese.