Warm Dairy-Free Greek Cheese with Tomatoes, Olives, & Herbs
This gently warmed dairy-free Greek cheese with tomatoes, olives and fresh herbs is a simple starter that is sure to please vegans and non- vegans alike. Serve it with a stack of warm, whole wheat pita for a healthy treat that feels oh-so naughty.
Talk to new converts to a plant-based diet, and most of them will admit the thing they miss most about their former diet is ooey gooey cheese. That’s certainly been the case for me, because anyone who knows me will confirm that I have always adored cheese. I love cheeses of all colours and sorts — even the stinky ones that most people love to hate.
So, it’s been a pleasant surprise to discover that there’s actually a pretty great selection of plant based cheeses, cultured butters and more readily available at the supermarket. Dairy-free cheese is more expensive than normal cheese, but it’s out there, and it’s delicious. If you’re budget-conscious there’s even an impressive array of websites with recipes for homemade plant-based cheeses. So, whether you’re lactose intolerant or following a plant-based diet, there’s no reason to give up on cheese!
One of the first ready-made vegan cheeses I tried was dairy-free Greek white cheese which can be swapped into recipes for feta. The texture is a little different (softer, more melty), but the flavour is delicious.
No, it isn’t feta. However, the dairy-free version has a pleasant taste and features some of the tang that makes feta a terrific companion for the season’s finest tomatoes.
Cheese is still a treat. However, when you pair it with olives, olive oil, fresh herbs, and plenty of fresh tomatoes, it’s one worth indulging in from time to time!
About the Recipe
This is one of the simplest recipes imaginable. However, if it’s your first time working with dairy-free Greek cheese, you should know that it’s much softer and melts more quickly than feta.
I’ve been known to put the dairy-free Greek cheese in the oven at the same time as the tomatoes on occasion. However, I only do this when I’m happy to have more of an ooey gooey cheese dip than a classic appetiser. So, if you’d like the cheese to remain in a block form, you’ll want to follow the instructions and add it to the gratin dish only during the last few minutes of baking. This way, the cheese will be warm, yet still retain it’s original shape.
As for the herbs, fresh herbs are critical to the fresh flavour of this dairy-free Greek cheese starter. Whatever you do, don’t skip them. However, you can vary the herbs according to your tastes, the season, or the contents of your garden. Play with the flavours and have fun.
I sometimes add slivers of preserved lemon just before serving, which is also a delicious option. I hope you’ll feel free to experiment with your own variations on the theme, as that’s part of the pleasure of cooking!
Most of all, I hope you and your family enjoy this tasty, dairy-free treat of a starter every bit as much as my family does. Bon appétit!