Greek salad with vegan feta

Greek salad with vegan feta

greek salad vegan feta close up

Hope you guys have enjoyed your weekend! We have, very much so! After all my moaning about the weather (which stood in a stark contrast to what we experienced in Greece just over a week ago), the UK has finally showed up. We had a glorious weekend of sun and the weather forecast promises that this will continue well into this week. I’m beyond chuffed as I find that weather massively affects my mood. I am loving this sudden injection of sunshine and making the most out of it. The world just seems like a much better place when the sun is shining you on cheerily (or cheering you on shiningly 😉 ), doesn’t it?

So after you guys went nuts for my Friday moussaka recipe (we are still having it for dinner tonight…), I decided to continue with a Greek theme as Greece is almost synonymous with summer in my mind.

After the Thursday and Friday madness of two moussaka ingredients shopping trips, frantically looking for aubergines as they sold out at my local greengrocer (possibly cos I bought most of them 😛 ) and cooking two trays of moussaka on two consecutive days (don’t even ask why, it’s because I’m mad like the Mad Hatter), I’ve decided to go easy on myself this week as last week left me exhausted.

So today’s recipe is pretty simple and another Greek classic – horiatiki salata (meaning village salad literally, but known to the world as a Greek salad). I made it with a homemade almond vegan feta, which although it is the most involved element of this recipe, doesn’t require much active time at all. Most of it is simply waiting for things to soak, drain or dehydrate in the oven.

This vegan feta freezes well and is quite versatile. It’s delicious spread on a piece of toasted sourdough, topped with ripe tomato slices and capers or crumbled onto a pizza or salad. You can either make it with olive oil for a more indulgent, creamy texture or with almond milk. I have tested them both and I actually prefer the skinnier, almond milk version (no surprises there). This dairy-free feta substitute is salty, tangy, creamy and nicely firm and while it doesn’t taste like feta exactly, it does a very good job at pretending it’s the real thing.

greek salad vegan feta making of

greek salad ingredients

greek salad vegan feta sharing platter

greek salad vegan feta lunch

serves
4
PREP
30 min
COOKING
45 min
serves
4
PREPARATION
30 min
COOKING
45 min
INGREDIENTS
VEGAN FETA (needs to be made a day in advance)

  • 100 g / 1 cup slivered* almonds
  • 2-3 tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, adjust to taste
  • ½ small garlic clove (optional)
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened almond milk, mild olive oil or odourless coconut oil**
  • ½ tsp salt, adjust to taste
  • 2 tsp white miso paste
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

SALAD

  • 8 ripe tomatoes (I used different sizes)
  • ½ long cucumber
  • ¼-½ red onion (I used only a ¼)
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 20 black olives (I used juicy Kalamata olives)
  • fresh or dried oregano

DRESSING

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

METHOD
VEGAN FETA (needs to be made a day in advance)

  1. Place the almonds in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 30 minutes to soak. Rinse afterwards.
  2. Place the lemon juice, garlic, almond milk OR oil, a good pinch of salt, 1-2 tbsp of water (or more almond milk) and rinsed almonds in an upright blender.
  3. Blend until smooth, use a spatula to return the mixture that stays on the walls of your blender back to the centre. The mixture will eventually get really thick and the blender will struggle. I have a little trick to combat this, but please be very careful as it requires you to have the lid off while the blender is running. I slide my spatula flat against the wall of the blender and ever so slightly push the mixture into the centre, which sort of feeds it back into the blades again and prevents an air bubble from forming underneath the surface. I keep on doing that while the mixture is blending, being extra careful that I go nowhere near the blades. This technique allows me to get the mixture super smooth and creamy, but use it at your own discretion.
  4. Taste and adjust the amount of salt and lemon juice to taste. Add miso and nutritional yeast at this point if using. Don’t worry if the mixture tastes quite strong at this point, it will mellow out during the next two stages of preparation.
  5. If you want your ‘feta’ to be shaped like a block, find a rectangular mould with drainage holes (I used this tofu press for this) and line it with a piece of dense cheesecloth (if the cheesecloth isn’t dense enough to hold the mixture inside, double or triple layer it). Otherwise line a sieve with a piece of cheesecloth and place it over a bowl.
  6. Place the cheese mixture inside the cheesecloth. Even out with a spatula if you are making a block, if not bring the corners of the cheesecloth together to form a ball. Fold one side of the cheesecloth over evened out feta, then place the tofu press lid on top and weigh the mixture down (block) or squeeze very gently (bundle) to allow the excess water to drip away. Place in the fridge overnight to allow the mixture to thicken and for the excess moisture to drain away. At this point the cheese will be creamy but still fairly soft / wet – perfect for spreading on a bagel, but for this application we will need to dry it out in the oven.
  7. Gently place the drained cheese block / ball on a paper lined baking tray. Bake in a 140º C (285 º F) oven for about 45 minutes, until you feel quite a bit of resistance when you try to press the cheese gently with your finger. Allow it to cool down completely before cutting or it will fall apart. After baking, this cheese has a yellow crust (more pronounced if you use olive oil), which I simply trim off with a serrated knife before placing it on the salad.
  8. This cheese freezes well, so if you’ve made too much (I tend to make a double batch), freeze some for putting on a pizza or in a salad later.

SALAD AND DRESSING

  1. Cut up your veggies the way you enjoy them. I cut my tomatoes into slices and halves (I used various sizes), chopped my cucumber into thick half-moons, sliced my red onion very finely and finally cut my peppers into half, deseeded and sliced into thin half moons.
  2. Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
  3. Combine the chopped veggies with olives in a large bowl.
  4. Stir the dressing through just before serving. Season with salt and pepper and serve with a block of feta (or chunks of it) on top sprinkled with fresh or dry oregano.

NOTES
*You could also use almond meal, in which case skip soaking.

**Oil enhances the creaminess of this plant-based specimen, but unsweetened almond milk also works well and I personally prefer the oil-free version.

My almond cheese recipe has been adapted from this recipe.

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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
324
16%
sugars
9 g
10%
fats
25 g
36%
saturates
3 g
13%
proteins
10 g
21%
carbs
21 g
8%
*per serving
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5.0
3 reviews, 15 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Yvette:
Well It's lucky I live in a house without a partner, because sticking fingers in bowls then licking them is very unattractive! This is such an awesome recipe (I did not make the salad as was just making the fetta recipe alone). I used 3 tbsp of lemon juice and 2 tbsp of macadamia milk with 1 tbsp of olive oil. No idea if that was a good combo for the wet ingredients but it seems to be, for sure. I also split the quantity to keep some in the soft state (you had me at 'spread on a bagel') and topped on toast and fresh tomato. I recommend this as it's really fresh and goes great with tomato. Some basil would have made it even better! The lemon juice really makes it I think. I also had no cheesecloth or even a tea towel so cut up an old gingham dress to use (don't worry...it was really not at all age appropriate). The other half is in the fridge now. Cheers Ania for this. I will make the bocconcini next.
    Ania
    Ania:
    I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed my vegan take on feta, Yvette. I love the idea of splitting the batch into two so that you get two different textures for different applications. Hahaha, I know what you mean men can be a pain sometimes... (just don't tell D. I said it...;) ) Happy New Year to you, btw! Ania
Emily:
Does it need to be almond milk? I am shielding and can only get food delivered once per week but I have LOTS of oat milk!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Emily,
    Absolutely not, I am pretty sure that oat milk will work well as it's quite creamy and does not have a strong flavour. I hope you'll enjoy my plant-based take on feta. Ania
Gabi Lipka:
Hi! Can this be made with sunflower seeds? One of your recent recipes on Instagram mentions almond meal or sunflower seeds? Thank you!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Yes, definitely!
Wendy:
This sounds amazing and I will try it. I have been trying to eat plant-based since January and being a cheeseaholic, it’s a struggle. I also love Greek food and especially feta. I prefer the creamy texture rather than firm/dry. I will definitely try this although I recently found a good brand of plant-based Feta that has the taste and texture I love. I will try this recipe though and I’m glad someone else asked about using red miso paste because that was all I could find in my small city. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Pleasure Wendy and I hope you'll enjoy my take on feta. If you prefer creamy to dry, you may want to use odourless coconut oil for some of the liquid (it will make your feta firmer once it's set) and skip the baking step. Hope that helps! Ania
Indre:
Do you think it would be okay to use red miso paste instead of the white one? Thank you :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Sure thing. Red miso paste has a stronger flavour so just adjust it to taste! Hope that helps! Ania
Sarah Cummings:
Wow! This looks very healthy and mouthwatering. I'll try this very soon. Thanks for sharing Ania! Thumbs up! :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks, Sarah! I hope you'll like it! Ania
Mariejo:
it's just amazing, greek salad is one of the dishes we eat at least once a week during the summer, and i'm so happy with this, I won't have to skip the feta :-D thanks a lot
    Ania
    Ania:
    That's great to hear, Mariejo! I hope you'll enjoy my plant-based take on this classic Greek cheese! Ania
Maikki / Maikin mokomin:
That feta looks wonderful! Thanks for sharing :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thanks so much, Maikki! Ania
Mariejo:
waouw, so far I just made the feta, but I guess next time I will make more. I just did not know what are silvered almonds, and you do not have the recipe in polish, so I just followed your instructions, but I took the peels off after soaking. Unfortunately my blender refused to cooperate, even after grinding the almonds in my good old Moulinette (must be between 40 and 50 years old) but then Moulinette finished the job quite well. I can't wait to eat. Thanks a lot, merci beaucoup, dzienkuje bardzo!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Mariejo,
    Oh no, sorry to hear that you went to so much trouble, almond flakes would have saved you time, but at least you know now. I'm surprised to hear that your blender didn't manage to churn soaked and ground up almonds, that's very strange. I have a low-priced blender (it's a Kenwood that comes with both a blender and a food processor attachment) and it's not too bad at things like that. I'm glad it worked out in the end though and hope you'll enjoy the texture and taste! Ania
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