I think we all can agree that cheese makes everything taste better! So when we talk about cheese making everything better, how can we forget about the versatile manchego cheese? Today, we discuss the same and the best manchego cheese substitutes.
Manchego cheese works well, whether adding it to recipes or using it on a cheeseboard. However, there can be times when you cannot find it in supermarkets. In that case, you can use a substitute. This article is your guide to finding the best manchego cheese substitutes.
I am sure you must be wondering, what are the best substitutes for manchego cheese? The best manchego cheese substitutes are Monterey Jack, mozzarella, cheddar, asiago, muenster, Emmental, chihuahua, and Zamorano cheese.
However, before we get to discussing the best substitutes for manchego cheese, let me tell you a little bit about the cheese itself. This will make it easier for you to pick your substitute. So, let us dive into a cheesy world!
Quick Peek: Manchego Cheese
This section has all the information you need on manchego cheese. You will understand what the cheese is, its flavor, texture, use, and nutritional information. So, shall we get cheesy?
What Is Manchego Cheese?
Manchego cheese, known as ‘queso manchego’ in Spanish, is a semi-hard cheese made in the La Mancha region of Spain. It is made from the milk of the sheep of the Manchega breed. It is made from a firm sheep’s milk curd. This curd is later cut, and the whey is strained out of it.
After the whey is separated, the cheese is kept traditionally in a grass-woven mold. Later, once all the extra whey is removed, the cheese is soaked in brine to get a savory taste and then brushed with olive oil.
Once brushed with olive oil, the cheese is left to age. Olive oil is brushed onto the cheese for it to lock all the moisture. Fresh manchego can be consumed after two weeks of aging. However, it can be aged for more than a year to develop a more complex flavor.
Describing Manchego Cheese: Flavor And Texture
The flavor and texture of manchego cheese generally vary depending on how long it has been aged. So, let me tell you about the flavor and texture of the cheese depending on how long the variety has been aged.
- Fresco: Fresco is the freshest form of manchego cheese. It is aged only for 2 weeks and has a softer texture. The flavor is mild as it has not been aged for too long.
- Semicurado: Semicurado is a semi-firm variety of manchego cheese that has been aged for anytime between 3 weeks to 4 months. The flavor is sharper than that of fresco.
- Curado: Curado is again a semi-firm variety. However, it is firmer than semicurado as it has been aged for a longer time, around 3-6 months. It has a nutty and caramel-like flavor.
- Viejo: Viejo is firm in texture as it has aged 1-2 years. It has a rich peppery flavor and grates really well.
Uses Of Manchego Cheese
Manchego cheese makes a great table cheese for cheese boards due to its complex flavor, especially aged manchego cheese. One of the most traditional uses of manchego cheese is in Spanish tapas. It is paired with olives, serrano ham, and bread.
Moreover, manchego cheese pairs extremely well with sun-dried tomatoes and figs and also nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts. However, manchego cheese has uses beyond this too. It melts really well and hence can be used in various sandwiches.
Off lately, manchego cheese is also being incorporated in pies and salads. It basically works well in all recipes that require a form of melted cheese. It can also be added to macaroni and cheese and various other types of cheese to add a nutty flavor.
Manchego Cheese On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope
Manchego cheese, being a type of cheese, is high in calories and has a lot of fat content. However, it also has various vital nutrients in it. A serving of 1oz or 28 grams of manchego cheese contains 128 calories, out of which 91 calories are from fat.
Manchego cheese also contains high amounts of saturated fats, cholesterol, and sodium. It has minute amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, and dietary fibers. However, the good part is that it is rich in vital nutrients such as calcium, vitamin A, and some iron.
Why Use A Substitute For Manchego Cheese?
I am sure this question must have popped into your mind, considering how great this cheese tastes. While there are many reasons to use manchego cheese in a recipe, there are a few reasons why you can consider using a substitute for the same.
Firstly, manchego cheese is not that popular in every part of the world. While it is slowly gaining popularity everywhere, there are certain places where manchego cheese is still not extremely popular or readily available.
In this case, using a more commonly available substitute can work well. Moreover, because manchego cheese is high in saturated fats and cholesterol, it might not be the best pick for people with certain health issues.
In a situation like this, you can use a substitute with similar taste and qualities like manchego cheese, but it is lower in fat and cholesterol content. Lastly, in case you are just all out of manchego cheese, why bother running to the store?
You can use a substitute for the same as many of the substitute options given in this article might already be present in your pantry! These are good enough reasons why you can consider using a manchego cheese substitute.
I believe I have rambled on enough about manchego cheese. So now, without further ado, let me quickly introduce the best manchego cheese substitutes to you!
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9 Best Manchego Cheese Substitutes
This section has all the best substitutes for manchego cheese. You will understand why you can use these cheeses as substitutes and get information about which recipes the substitutes would work best in.
1. Monterey Jack Cheese
Monterey jack cheese, also known as jack cheese, is a semi-hard American cheese. It is smooth and mild in flavor and melts extremely well, similar to manchego cheese. Hence, it works as a great manchego cheese substitute.
While using Monterey jack cheese as a manchego cheese substitute, go for the traditional, unflavored variety. The unflavored variety has a mild flavor that works extremely well in recipes such as pasta, pizzas, dips, sandwiches, etc.
Monterey jack cheese, moreover, also works well as a table cheese for cheese boards. It pairs well with most types of wines. It is also lower in fat content as compared to manchego cheese.
2. Mozzarella Cheese
Mozzarella is an Italian variety of semi-soft cheese. It has a mild flavor and stringy texture, and it melts extremely well. It makes a great substitute for manchego cheese in various recipes.
As far as flavor is concerned, mozzarella cheese might work best as a manchego cheese substitute for the semiurado variety. This is because mozzarella cheese does not have an intense flavor as aged manchego cheese does.
Mozzarella cheese works well in recipes where the cheese would have to be melted rather than using it as a table cheese. It works well in all cooked recipes. As it has a mild flavor, you can use it as a substitute in the same or higher quantities.
3. Cheddar Cheese
Original cheddar cheese is from England and is a hard cheese made from pasteurized cow’s milk. Cheddar cheese has a nutty flavor and melts well, making it a good manchego cheese substitute.
Cheddar cheese is also aged at various times. However, regardless of how long it is aged, cheddar cheese does have a smooth texture and melts well. It does have a more robust flavor than manchego cheese.
However, the slight flavor difference may work in your favor as it definitely will enhance the overall flavor of your dish. While it might not be the best alternative to keep on a cheese board, cheddar cheese works well in any cooked recipe as a substitute for manchego cheese.
4. Asiago Cheese
Asiago cheese is an Italian variety of cheese made with cow’s milk. It has a firm texture that makes it a great choice to use as a table cheese to be paired with other cheeses on your cheeseboard. Hence, it is a good manchego cheese substitute.
Asiago cheese does not have the same melting qualities as manchego cheese. However, if you are particularly looking for a manchego cheese substitute for your cheeseboard, asiago cheese is your best bet!
While choosing asiago cheese, make sure to pick the asiago pressato variety as it is not aged for too long and has a milder flavor. Aged asiago tends to get too crumbly and has a very strong flavor that does not match manchego cheese.
5. Zamorano Cheese
Zamorano is a Spanish cheese made from sheep’s milk. It has a nutty flavor similar to manchego cheese but a crumbly texture. It works well as a manchego cheese substitute, particularly on cheese boards.
Zamorano cheese might not be the best substitute option if you are looking to melt your cheese. As it has a crumbly texture, it does not really melt the way manchego cheese does.
Moreover, Zamorano can be a tad bit salty. So, be a little careful while adding seasoning to your food when pairing it with Zamorano cheese. It has a fat content similar to that of manchego cheese.
6. Muenster Cheese
Muenster cheese is a semi-soft variety of cheese from the United States. It melts extremely well and hence makes a great substitute for manchego cheese in various cooked recipes.
Muenster cheese has a colored layer around it and is generally covered with paprika on the outside. However, the flavor of paprika is quite subtle and will not change the overall flavor of your dish.
Muenster cheese also has a mild flavor and smooth texture. It can work well on a cheeseboard too. However, it does contain high amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol. So, it might not be the best option if you are trying to lower your calorie intake.
7. Emmental Cheese
Emmental is a pale yellow Swiss cheese with many holes in it. This cheese has a nutty flavor that works well in most recipes, and it also melts well. It works as a good substitute for manchego cheese in various recipes.
Emmental generally tends to work well as a table cheese, along with how well it melts. So, you can use it in recipes such as sandwiches, pasta, pizzas, and mac & cheese. The holes in Emmental cheese make it look different from other types of cheese.
Emmental cheese does contain a fat content similar to that of manchego cheese. However, it also has some protein, which may work well for some people. You can use it as a substitute in a 1:1 ratio.
8. Chihuahua Cheese
Also known as queso chihuahua, chihuahua cheese is a cheese very similar to cheddar in terms of consistency. It melts really well and hence works well as a manchego cheese substitute.
Despite its Mexican origin, Chihuahua cheese is actually not spicy but mild in flavor. It turns gooey once melted; hence it works well in recipes such as sandwiches, pizzas, and pasta and can be topped over french fries and nachos too.
However, as with most types of cheese, chihuahua cheese is very high in fat content and contains high amounts of cholesterol and saturated fats. So, it might not be the best pick for people with certain health issues.
9. Pecorino Romano Cheese
Pecorino Romano is an ancient Roman hard variety of Italian cheese. Though it has a stronger flavor than manchego cheese, it can work well as a substitute for the same in certain recipes.
Pecorino romano generally tends to have a very strong and intense flavor. Although, you can look for a less aged version of this cheese to get a milder flavored cheese. It can be used in various recipes by grating it on top.
Moreover, it can also be used as a table cheese if you enjoy a more intense flavor. It also has some protein to it, so it can be a good substitute option if you are looking for those nutritional values.
Short Recap For Best Manchego Cheese Substitutes
I am sure that by now, you must have gone through all the best substitutes for manchego cheese. However, are you confused about which one would work best for you by any chance? For that, I have broken it down further. Have a look!
Most Suitable: The most suitable manchego cheese substitute is Monterey jack cheese.
Easily Available: Mozzarella cheese and cheddar cheese are the most easily available manchego cheese substitutes.
Best Flavor Profile: Asiago will give the best flavor profile when used to substitute for manchego cheese.
As we have reached the end of this article, I hope you were able to find the best manchego cheese substitute for your recipe. While manchego cheese is delicious and almost irreplaceable in certain recipes, it also can be difficult to find.
Hence, all the options of substitutes given above make very good and worthy alternatives for manchego cheese in various recipes. You can pick your substitute based on what property of the cheese you want to replicate, and I am sure you will end up making cheesy goodness!
How To Substitute The Above Mentioned Ingredients For Manchego Cheese
Manchego Cheese Substitutes
- Monterey Jack Cheese
- Mozzarella Cheese
- Cheddar Cheese
- Asiago Cheese
- Zamorano Cheese
- Muenster Cheese
- Emmental Cheese
- Chihuahua Cheese
- Pecorino Romano Cheese
- Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe
- Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
- Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is manchego cheese and parmesan the same?
No, manchego cheese and parmesan are different types of cheeses. While manchego is made with sheep’s milk and is from Spain, parmesan cheese is made with cow’s milk and is from Italy.
What is manchego cheese good for?
Manchego cheese is excellent for melting, moreover it is also great as a table cheese as it pairs well with wine and other cheeses.
Is manchego cheese good for melting?
Yes, manchego cheese is great for melting.
Is manchego cheese the same as gruyere?
No, they are both different types of cheese.
Is manchego cheese strong in flavor?
The strength of the flavor of manchego cheese depends upon how long it has been aged for. While fresh manchego is mild, more aged manchego has a sharper flavor.