Cheese makes good salads great. From green to grain, pasta to potato, we’ve paired your favourite kinds of salad with the right cheese to make the most of their rich textures and flavours. Need more inspiration? Say hi to your local in-store Sobeys Cheese Ambassador or deli specialist, who will help you make your selections.
Leafy Green Salads
Crisp lettuce topped with a tangy dressing needs a mild cheese like Mozzarella to play a strong supporting role without stealing the spotlight. The best way to add Mozzarella to a green salad is to shred it on the large holes of a box grater so it will cling to the leaves without dragging them down. If you’re serving sturdier romaine or iceberg lettuce, try cutting Mozzarella into small cubes and sprinkling it on top. Of course, Mozzarella is so good melted—pairing a cheesy pizza with a green-salad topper is always a tasty idea.
However you slice it, Mozzarella is most delicious when it’s not ice-cold. Take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature before adding it to your salad. It will be softer, and its subtle flavour more pronounced. This is true for all cheeses, and will help you enjoy them at their best.
Whether they’re made with quinoa, barley or bulgur, nutty-tasting grain salads go well with a more powerful cheese—and Feta is a delicious choice. Its creaminess is a nice contrast to chewy grains, and its gentle acidity balances their starchiness. This cheese is especially good with summery Mediterranean vegetables, such as tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.
Feta is on the salty side, so it’s best crumbled, cut into small cubes, or sliced thinly and laid over a salad so you only get a bit in each bite. To dress up Feta as an appetizer, cube it and marinate for a few hours in extra-virgin olive oil, chopped fresh herbs (parsley, oregano, mint and/or dill) and cracked black pepper.
Try Feta in: Cherry, Kale & Bulgur Salad
The queen of backyard barbecues, pasta salad can be as simple as penne tossed with bottled dressing or a more colourful bowl of bow ties, grilled vegetables and pesto. The one cheese that complements them all: Bocconcini. Meaning “little mouthfuls” in Italian, this fresh Mozzarella’s sweet, milky flavour works in just about any salad—and its unique springiness adds more texture. Bocconcini comes in convenient sizes like mini (just halve or quarter for pasta salad) or ready-to-go pearl.
Mild Bocconcini is tasty marinated in olive oil, your favourite herbs and a pinch of hot pepper flakes for some heat. Or toss it with olive tapenade or sun-dried tomato pesto for an even zestier option. Either way, it’s a super-simple, flavourful salad topper.
Try Bocconcini in: Grilled Pork & Pesto Orzo Salad
Potato or Vegetable Salads
Stronger cheeses are a match with heartier vegetable salads. Salty, tangy, creamy and pungent, Blue Cheese offers a complementary bite. It’s especially delicious in potato salads, and essential when you’re making a classic wedge salad or a meal-in-a-bowl Cobb. With Blue, a little goes a long way—too much will overpower the other ingredients.
Blue Cheese has a more-delicate, breakable texture than other cheeses. It’s easiest to crumble when it’s fridge-cold. Break it into small chunks to sprinkle over salads, and toss it as little as possible to keep it from turning mushy. Or whisk it (gently!) right into a creamy dressing, such as ranch, to bump up the flavour.
Try Blue Cheese in: Grilled Potato with Blue Cheese & Arugula