Introducing Vegan Feta that tastes like real feta cheese! This dairy-free recipe is also oil-free, gluten-free, and nut-free. Use in any dish you’d use traditional feta.
Years ago I never imagined eating vegan feta. Then again, years ago I thought I could never give up cheese.
Twenty years later, I now realize it was much easier than I thought. Still, two cheeses kept me in dairyland for a while: parmesan and feta.
It was the intensity of those cheeses. The flavor impact. Salty, tangy, briny. At the time, there were no substitutes on the market. So, I couldn’t imagine eating without them!
Later, vegan feta cheese products did appear in stores. I tried them, and was underwhelmed. They just didn’t hit the flavor mark.
These substitutes were tofu-based, and for some reason the flavor wasn’t penetrating the tofu well enough.
I started to experiment with my own vegan feta recipe. Not only did I want a flavorful marinade that would hold up to a classic greek salad, I also wanted to find a way to make this vegan cheese recipe oil-free.
Most products I tried had an oil marinade. There had to be a way to get that richness without adding that extra oil.
There is! After many trials, the secret to influsing great briny flavor in the tofu is to first simmer it in a vinegar mixture, and then marinate that warm tofu in the full marinade consisting of herbs, lemon juice, vinegar – and chopped olives.
Bingo! Vegan feta flavor success! Not only does the flavor hold up, but for me the texture improves too.
The simmering breaks down the tofu just slightly so that when tossed through the marinade, it mostly holds shape, yet loses *just* a touch of texture. Somewhat like traditional feta cheese.
This recipe is one of my favorites from Plant-Powered Families. It was also one of Nicole’s favorites!
Since summer is here and we are enjoying big, bright salads, I wanted to share this recipe widely on the blog.
So here it is, kids. Enjoy!
(p.s. I did create a soy-free vegan feta recipe for the release of PPF. If you managed to nab the promo ebook, it’s in there – have a look!)
- 1 package 12 oz extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/2″ – 3/4″ cubes (see note)
- 1 cups water
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cloves garlic roughly sliced/chopped
- 1 tablespoons mild miso ex: chickpea miso
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 2 tablespoons for extra tang
- 1/2 teaspoon pure maple syrup
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup minced green olives or kalamata olives
To make the boiling mixture:
- In a large saucepan, add the tofu, water, red wine vinegar, sea salt, and garlic. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 15–20 minutes, uncovered. If some of the tofu is not covered in the brine, gently stir through occasionally.
To make the marinade:
- Meanwhile, in a medium/large bowl or baking dish, combine the miso, oregano, lemon juice, vinegar, and maple syrup. Whisk through, and then stir in the olives.
- After cooking, strain tofu, discarding boiling liquid (it’s okay to keep the garlic). While still hot/warm, transfer tofu to the bowl with the marinade. Stir through to coat the tofu and combine well. Cover and refrigerate. Keeps for 5–6 days.
- Tofu Note: When working the marinade through the tofu it’s okay if the tofu breaks up into uneven pieces rather than uniform cubes (it’s quite good that way)!
- Idea: Try this tofu in a Greek salad with crispy romaine lettuce, bright tomatoes, briny olives, and crunchy cucumbers.
- Serving Suggestions: Think beyond Greek salad. Try this tofu alongside baked potatoes (regular or sweet), atop pizzas, and tossed into pasta, or combine with hummus or another spread in a lunch wrap for your kiddos.
Delicious. Another winner, thank you Dreena.
It’s a winner!!!
I didn’t have read vinegar, so I’ve used organic balsamic.
Mamma mia! Now I am addicted!
I made a mixed veggie salad with red paprika, cucumber, olives, yellow tomatoes, basil, balsamic and topped with this Tofeta. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!!!
Thanks for sharing this recipe. Now I am going to try the soy free you have in the Family book.
Which one is your favourite?
Best regards from Switzerland
Delighted to read your comment, and all the way from Switzerland, thank you! Your salad combo sounds amazing, and you’ve reminded me that I should get that soy-free feta recipe on my blog. It’s only in the Cheese Trap book that I did with Dr. Barnard. The tofu-based one is my fave, though.
Amy M says
Just made this to add to a vegan shakshuka and am excited to see how it turns out. Have you ever frozen it as leftovers? I’m hopeful that it might work well, especially if you like a more “crumbly” feta texture.
HI Amy, it should work fine if you are cool with it becoming a bit crumbly. Tofu will release water when it thaws, so it will become a little ‘spongy’ with some of the marinade releasing. But as I always say… Martha ain’t coming for dinner, so give it a try and enjoy!
I want to try this recipe, but I’m the only plant based person in my home. I know there will be leftovers. Can this be frozen?
Hi Kathleen, I think it will be okay. The tofu will release some water after thawing, that’s all. It might keep long enough for you to use fresh – hope you love it!
I’ve made this three or four times – used it in greek salads, spanikopita and on pizza – it is excellent, and I find that it gets better with age. My daughter has a terrible dairy allergy – finding a tasty substitute for feta has been a life saver – thanks so much for this recipe.
Thank you so much, Patrice. I appreciate the kind feedback, and agree – it does taste better after some time! So glad you found the recipe and really enjoy it.
Do you think basalmic, apple cider or rice vinager work in place of the red? Those are the ones I have on hand.
Hi Rachel, I wouldn’t use balsamic, but apple cider / rice vinegar will work well!
Would like recipe work for Greek pizza? Am new to vegan cooking and was curious on how the end results would be after baking it
*would this, not “would like”….sorry for my stupid auto carrot lol
Hi Misty, yes, it would be excellent on a Greek pizza – go for it!
Kelly H says
Every time I make this recipe I want to scream, “This is the best feta anywhere!” I use it in Greek salad, wraps, love it on pizza and straight out of the bowl for snacks. It also makes a great dip/sandwich spread if you put a cup or so in your Vitamix (I add a few more Kalamata olives) and blend until smooth. My non-vegan family members always comment that the brand of feta I buy always tastes so fresh. Our little secret!
This uses regular tofu, right, not the 12 oz. shelf stable Mori-Nu extra firm? Looking forward to trying this.
yes, yes! Standard extra-firm tofu – silken will not work here. Good luck!
Angel Cleary says
Dang but I love this recipe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <3
YEAH! Thanks Angel. 🙂
Looks great. Can’t wait to make it. It will add a lot of oomph to many things.
Heyy, is there any way I could substitute the red vine vinegar? 🙁 all I have is apple cider vinegar, aceto balsamico and white balsamico vinegar but I really wanna make this recipe..
Yes, I would go with apple cider – enjoy!
How long will this last in the fridge? Any special way to store it?
I’d say about 5 days for sure!
Alicia Cromwell says
Made this a couple days ago, have just been snacking on it. Had it in some greek salad tonight which I have been craving since going off dairy and it hit the spot :).
I’ll probably halve the recipe next time though as it makes a lot!
Hi Alicia, thanks for the kind comment! Sorry for my late reply, I’m so pleased this recipe gives you a feta fix! 🙂
You say this is soy-free, but tofu is made from soy, unless you’ve found a variety made from something else other than soybeans.
Correction: I said I HAVE a soy-free vegan feta in my Plant-Powered Families ebook. I have not indicated that this tofu recipe is soy-free. Read again.
Just made this for a Greek salad I’m serving tomorrow and it tastes great! Never a fan of feta BV but I really like this recipe. Tastes authentic.
wonderful, thanks Shery!
Hi Dreena 🙂
I’ve never used miso before. And I didn’t completely understand this ingredient the way you have it listed: “mild miso ex: chickpea miso”. What does miso ex mean? Could you please link the brand you use? And I have found a chickpea miso but it says it is strong in flavour, their strongest in the range. So is that no good?And is it better to use fresh miso or could powdered miso work equally well once rehydrated? Thanks very much, Dilushani.(New vegan!)
I’m guessing she meant ‘example: chickpea miso.” I have a couple kinds of miso that I tend to use, one is an adzuki bean miso (not very mild at all), the second kind I have (and the one I use most often) can be found here: https://www.vitacost.com/eden-foods-organic-shiro-miso-12-1-oz?csrc=GPF-PA-Food%20%26%20Beverages-024182133608&ci_gpa=pla&ci_kw=&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=024182133608&csrc=GPF-PA&mtp=srEYR84pO-dc|pcrid|97670541013|product|024182133608&pgrid=16877535733&ptaid=pla-108756438731&gclid=Cj0KCQjw3v3YBRCOARIsAPkLbK6wPD6a-2dK-uyj7h5DYD_u_bhlfgc504IkHkq9PDOosRlEFleGwNAaArlfEALw_wcB
I use this kind because I’m also allergic to gluten- but you could use the barley miso by this brand if you’re not allergic to it.
Hi Dilushani, a mild miso meaning a miso that is milder in flavor. In general, they have a strong salty flavor, but the dark miso varieties are even stronger. It’s not going to ruin the recipe if you use it, and you can use a little less if you want. I’ve never used powdered miso – haven’t seen it! The chickpea miso I use is explained in this post: http://bit.ly/1kkHyAF Hope that helps!
Delicious! This recipe is going into my keeper file! Even my non vegan husband enjoyed it, which is high praise from someone who usually won’t touch anything made with the “T” word! (tofu)
I’ve tried several vegan feta recipes, and through the boiling process, your recipe adds a depth of flavor that the other vegan feta recipes I’ve tried have missed. Thank you for a new summer favorite!
I have an informal blog that I use for gardening notes and favorite links. Would you mind if I link to your recipe?
Jamie Pacheco says
I’m impressed and excited with how well this turned out! Thanks so much for the recipe!
Excellent! Thanks Jamie.
This sounds like a great sub for feta but ( I think I”ve answered this myself) I was wondering about the sodium content. I try to keep it down. Hard to do I’m sure and keep the flavor . Will be saving this one.
Do you think this recipe would still work if you sliced the tofu instead of cubing it? Before becoming plant based, we would slice feta and broil it, then brush with olive oil and eat with pita bread and hummus…i miss this comfort food as it was something my late husband would make.
Hi Diane, first, that sounds amazing! Second, yes, I think it will be just fine. It may be trickier to work the marinade into the tofu without it breaking, but if you move the slices about more gently, should work okay. Be sure to use an extra-firm tofu, as just firm will break up more. Hope it works out well and brings back that comfort food feel and memory for you.
Tried out this recipe and coming from a non-vegan who would have had milk feta in recent times, I’m really impressed with the flavour! I added nutritional yeast flakes to the marinade for added flavour.
Hello thank you so much for sharing this recipe!. It sounds amazing and I can’t wait to try it! I have one quick question. How long would you recommend marinating it before using it?
Hi Neisha, thanks! Once the marinade is worked through the tofu, you can use it at anytime. For sure the flavor will develop a little more after it sits for a few hours or overnight. Enjoy!
Will this crumble like dairy feta? I found another recipe that says “crumbles like ‘real’ feta”, but it has cashews & I have a nut allergy so that won’t work. I have a stew recipe that would do best with crumbles instead of cubes. Making this today anyway, just curious if it would be suitable for my stew. Thanks!
Well I made this,and it worked just fine for my stew! I won’t use kalamata olives next time because my “feta” was dark in color & tasted just like Kalamata olives. But the premise works great & I just need to use a less distinctive olive.
This looks sooooo amazing, but I am looking for a soy free version please???
I have that version in “The Cheese Trap”: http://amzn.to/2bdXYsH
Loved this. I’m making spanakopita type wraps with it for dinner tonight. Used shredded dark cabbage, onion, sunflower seeds and “feta “. And sweet potato wedges on the side with minty sauce made with silken tofu.
OH that sounds amazing, Pam! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Amy L says
So excited for this! Before vega, we used to eat grilled watermelon with a balsamic glaze and mint, topped with crumbled feta. Now I can enjoy that sweet/salty treat again! Thank you 🙂
Do you need to press the tofu before boiling it?
Hi Lindsay, no, just straight into the cooking process!
Lita Watson says
I think that making vegan feta from tofu is a great idea since the feta cheese is high in cholesterol and saturated fat. Tofu has lower calories and fat content but adding tofu to a dish as a substitute for Feta will affect the recipe’s texture, but not much the taste
Hi Dreena.. Recipe looks amazing! Can you share the benefits if the boiling step as opposed to just marinating it?
Best wishes for 2017.
Hi Rachelle, missed this comment – sorry! The boiling process help the tofu lose its ‘raw’ flavor, and also helps infuse it with the vinegar for more of a briny flavor. Finally, because it’s warm when mixed with the marinade, it soaks up those flavors even better!
I just finished making this “feta” and it turned out really well. So easy!! I didn’t have any olives, but will be sure to get some for next time. Another blogger who has a variety of easy vegan cheese recipes is Anja at http://www.cookingwithplants.com. Her videos are short and very easy to follow.
Beth Ann says
I just made a simple greek salad and topped it with this tofu feta. It was wonderful!!!
Hi Dreena. I’m thinking of making this for a potluck pasta salad. If I want it to be in cute cubes like in your photo, do I cut it after boiling then put it in the marinade? Or are you supposed to just let it fall apart in the marinade?
Hi Dawn. Cube the tofu before adding to the boiling mixture. Once you begin to mix the marinade with the tofu, it can begin to break down slightly – but not that much. Just some cubes around the edges. It won’t fall apart altogether, as long as you use an extra-firm tofu. Does that make sense?
Just made this today. Very flavorful. Thank you! Making a greek salad for lunch1
This looks delicious Dreena! Thank you. Could you please also post the soy-free version. What are your thoughts on tofu from a nutritional and health perspective? There are contradicting perspectives on tofu in the plant-based world in regards to health benefits.
Thanks Kirstin. I think tofu is a healthful part of a whole foods vegan diet. Most brands are organic/non-gmo (I have yet to find one that isn’t). So the issues surrounding gmo soy are more of a concern for people purchasing processed foods that contain soy products (soybean oil, etc) because they are rarely organic/non-gmo. Also, that non-gmo soy goes to animal feed. For most people tofu is eaten once a day, or not even every day, and that really isn’t a big part of a healthy whole foods diet. Dr. Greger talks about soy in some of his videos, if you want to learn more, here’s a link: http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/soy/
Thanks Dreena for the link. I love tofu and used to eat it a lot, especially when I lived in Viet Nam and bought fresh tofu from the market all the time. However, in recent years I have read reports on the effect of non-fermented soy consumption on hormones so I am trying to find comprehensive and neutral information on the subject.
I will try this recipe as it sounds delicious.
So far all the reports I’ve read claiming soy is not good for you can always be traced back to the Weston A Price Foundation, which has very anti-vegan/vegetarian views. This site is pretty good at explaining it:
Actual nutrition science has always supported soy as part of a healthy diet.
cory good says
Hi Annie, completely agree! Than and BILLIONS of Asian people who have tofu as a large component of their diet are far healthier that North Americans that follow that standard diet.
Cheers, Cory Good
cory good says
Yikes, few typos there!
Stephanie Dreyer says
I am so excited to try this recipe. I am a huge feta fan and have never found a substitute. Thank you!
Hi Stephanie! Well, hope you love this one… #fingerscrossed!
I have really missed feta since becoming vegan. I’m so excited to try this! This seems to be a deal breaker for all my non-vegan friends and family – giving up cheese. If I can serve and convince them with this, we may have swayed more to the vegan movement. Thank you Dreena.
Cheese is such a big issue for people, I agree Joan. If you haven’t tried the Miyoko’s line of cheeses, I’d also recommend those. They are suited more to spreading or serving on platters, but they have wonderfully rich/deep cultured flavors that really impress. Thanks – hope you enjoy!
I can’t wait to try this!! Have you tried making spanakopita with it? That would be yummy! Vegan spanakopita is usually missing a tang factor and too spinachy. This could be the ticket! I’m excited 🙂 Thank you!
I haven’t Marianne – and don’t know why because I have always LOVED it. Agree, this could make vegan spanakopita very special. If you give it a go, let us know!
Do you think I could make this work without the Miso paste Dreena? I can’t find it!!
For sure you can, but the miso adds a salty, umami flavor. The texture will be okay. Miso is pretty available in grocery stores. Maybe ask in your local store, it might be there just not very visible. If you don’t use it, def add extra salt to taste.
Natalie Collins says
Hi Joely, Not sure where you are located, but look for miso in either health food stores, or if you have an Asian grocery store in your area, you are sure to find it there. Most often found in the refrigerated section, but I have seen refrigerated as well
You can probably order some online.