Brined Feta Cheese
Traditional Feta cheese is a brined cheese. Sometimes also referred to as “pickled” cheese, this means the cheese has been matured in a brine made from salt and acid. This preservation method helps inhibit bacteria growth. It’s also why you will often see tubs of Feta with big blocks of the cheese still in a brine solution.
In addition to preservation, the brine also imparts flavor. There is a tangy bite that comes from the acid. Plus, a good amount of salt helps add depth.
While traditional Greek Feta is made using sheep’s milk, this dairy-free vegan version uses tofu. I’ve taken the same approach for making traditional Feta and applied it to a plant-based alternative.
With this in mind, you can have fun with this recipe, tweaking it to fit your tastes. Add more vinegar if you want more bite. Reduce the olives and salt if you’re looking for lower sodium. And experiment with other aromatics in the brine. Adding red chili flake, garlic, and fresh oregano can impart more flavor.
Feta is a lovely cheese to have for summer. Use it on Orzo Pasta Salad or Big ‘Ole’ Italian Chickpea Salad. Crumble it for baked potatoes, Pasta Alla Norma, or Stuffed Zucchini. Once you discover how easy it is to make your own vegan Feta, you’ll be finding tons of healthy ways to enjoy it!
Easy | Servings: 6 | Ready In: 20 minutes | Yield: about 3 cups
This healthy, homemade vegan Feta cheese recipe uses organic tofu instead for a dairy-free alternative. It uses the traditional Greek brining technique. Enjoy the light, summer flavors of this plant-based dish. Use it on Orzo Pasta Salad or Big ‘Ole’ Italian Chickpea Salad. Crumble it for baked potatoes, Pasta Alla Norma, or Stuffed Zucchini.
- 1 (16-oz) block extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into bite-sized cubes
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 tablespoon white miso paste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup green olives, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
How it’s Done:
To Brine the Vegan Tofu Feta Cheese: Combine the tofu chunks, garlic, water, vinegar, and salt in a medium pot. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring a few times during the cooking. While the tofu simmers, make the marinade.
To make the Vegan Tofu Feta Cheese Marinade: In a medium bowl, combine the miso paste, oregano, thyme, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olives, and black pepper.
When the tofu is done simmering, drain it. Immediately transfer to the bowl with the marinade. Toss to combine. Do this while the tofu is still warm because the warmth of the tofu will help it soak up more flavor.
Let marinade for a day.
Chef Katie’s Tips:
Brine Flavor Variations: This is similar to the technique used for traditional Feta, which is a pickled cheese. Just like any pickle, you can experiment with different flavors from dried chilies, extra garlic, herbs like dill and mustard seed, and different vinegars. Sherry vinegar also tastes nice in this recipe.
Is Tofu Healthy? Tofu is made from edamame bean curd. Made from soy, it is minimally refined. It is a healthy source of vegetarian protein and linked to reducing heart disease. Most tofu on the market is organic, which means it’s free of GMO’s. For a soy-free alternative, you can apply the same brine and marinade to white button mushrooms or hearts of palm. These won’t have the same creamy texture, but you will get a similar flavor.
Olive Varieties: Other varieties of olives, like Kalamata and Castelveltrano would also work well in this recipe.
Low Sodium: If you’re concerned about sodium, you can omit the olives and reduce the amount of salt in the brine.
Recipe Inspiration: This recipe was inspired by the original Vegan Feta from Dreena Burton. Check out her site for more plant-based ideas.
Watch the Recipe Video:
|Amount Per Serving|
|% Daily Value *|
|Total Fat 5 g||7 %|
|Saturated Fat 0 g||0 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 1 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat 2 g|
|Trans Fat 0 g|
|Cholesterol 0 mg||0 %|
|Sodium 330 mg||14 %|
|Potassium 129 mg||4 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 4 g||1 %|
|Dietary Fiber 1 g||6 %|
|Sugars 0 g|
|Protein 8 g||16 %|
|Vitamin A||0 %|
|Vitamin C||2 %|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
Shopping and Gear List
- Oregano 100% Authentic Dried Greek Oregano leaves
- Viniteau Red Wine Vinegar Aged 2yrs – 8.45 fl oz (250 ml)
- Vegan Cheese: Simple, Delicious Plant-Based Recipes