Although goat cheese may be a relatively new option for the kosher consumer in the U.S., it has ancient origins and is among the best-known and most popular cheese varieties in the world. Goat cheese can refer to any cheese made from goat’s milk, but is most often associated with the soft variety we find in log-shaped packages in the refrigerated section of the market. Cheeses made from goat’s milk tend to have a distinct tangy flavor and can be used to enhance and add complexity to many different dishes. Cheesemakers also may incorporate herbs, dried fruits or other creative flavorings to goat cheese to provide even more options for cheeseheads everywhere.
Goat cheese can be a healthy part of a balanced diet because it is high in protein and calcium. Protein is an essential nutrient necessary for building new cells and maintaining healthy muscles, while calcium is good for your bones, teeth and nervous system. The downside of cheese is that it is high in saturated fat, which can increase the risk of heart disease. It is also often high in sodium, which can increase blood pressure.
The best way to get the benefits of cheese without the negatives is to choose your cheese wisely and enjoy everything in moderation.
That’s where goat cheese has a “hoof” up on cow’s milk cheese. According to Diane Welland, MS, RD, in the February 2011 issue of Today’s Dietitian, “Goat’s milk is higher in protein and several vitamins and minerals, including niacin, calcium, iron, and potassium.” Goat cheese is naturally lower in calories, cholesterol, sodium and fat than most other cheeses. Most cheeses contain about 100 calories per ounce, 8 grams of fat and almost 200 mg sodium. Natural & Kosher goat cheese contains just 60 calories, 5 grams of fat and 65 mg sodium.
Goat cheese is also more easily digested than other dairy products; in fact, many lactose intolerant people who cannot digest cow’s milk cheese are able to enjoy goat cheese without a problem. Consider using goat cheese in place of cream cheese to spread on your favorite roll or cracker; a little “shmear” goes a long way. It is even soft enough to enjoy on Passover matzah without the mess. Turn an ordinary salad into a full protein-rich meal by topping your favorite salads with goat cheese. Goat cheese also makes a great co-star to a tomato or beet salad and can transform an ordinary spinach, broccoli or asparagus quiche into an extraordinary side dish.
Get your goat with these recipes: