Feta cheese, of Greek origin, is a white crumbly and rindless cheese. It is traditionally made from sheep or goat milk and has a rich tangy flavor. In the US, Feta cheese is made from cow’s milk and while still delicious, does not have as strong a flavor.
Athenos is one of the more popular brands and touts itself as a healthy alternative to fatty American cheeses. In fact, it claims in its advertisements to have 30% less calories than cheddar cheese.
Let’s take a look inside the label…
What you need to know:
The ingredient list for the Chunk Feta is nice and short:
Pasteurized Part-Skim Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes.
A serving is 1 ounce, and contains 70 calories, 50 of which are from fat. The cheese has got 3.5 grams of saturated fat (18% of the daily max) out of a total of 6 grams (9% of the daily max). Not very low. You could buy the reduced fat version with 1/3 less grams of fat.
The sodium value is a bit high too, with 340mg per the small 1 ounce serving. That’s about 15% of the daily max.
Now let’s compare to cheddar cheese. A 1 ounce slice of cheddar cheese is between 100-110 calories. It has 5 grams of saturated fat and 9 grams total fat.
As you can see, the Feta cheese indeed has less calories, and less fat than the more familiar cheddar cheese option.
Recipe: Watermelon and Feta Autumn Salad from Chef Mike Benninger:
Chef Mike says: I have a very strict policy of recipes that goes that if it has 6 ingredients (not including salt, pepper, spices, sugar, oil, or water) or has a method with more than 5 steps, I usually I won’t make it. I cook for a living and I find recipes more complex than that are the ones that break your heart, and there are so many wonderful things to make that are easier, tastier and less prone to failure.
2-4 limes, depending on juiciness 2 lbs. sweet, ripe seedless watermelon (very well chilled)
250g feta cheese (chilled) bunch of fresh basil rough chopped
bunch of mint, chopped 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and coarse black pepper
1. Remove the rind from the watermelon, and cut into approximately ¾” squares, maybe a little smaller if it has a very firm texture. Add to a large flat bowl. Drain the feta well and then dice into ¾” or so sized pieces, add it to the watermelon, then add the roughly chopped herbs.
2. Add the juice of 2 limes, the olive oil and VERY gently toss the salad so that the feta and melon don’t lose their shape. Add a good grinding of black pepper and taste to see whether the dressing needs more lime juice.
3. Serve topped with a sprinkle of coarse kosher salt; goes great with pinot grigio or sav blanc.