Why Massive Cuts Of Cheese Can Be Served As The Main Course

It can be hard to find a vegetarian restaurant meal that really satisfies. As often as not, you're stuck with some kind of pasta. And while a pasta primavera recipe can be a lovely thing, sometimes even vegetarians just want to sink their teeth into something that really satisfies in a way a spaghetti and vegetables or a buddha bowl just can't. If you're going to spend $20+ on a dish, shouldn't restaurants offer options that satisfy?

Enter the cheese entree. This is one growing trend that we can only hope will really take off. While yes, you can order the cheese plate as an entree as things stand now, those diminutive portions will only leave you scratching the slate board looking for more. But as it stands, the piddling portions of a cheese plate or greasy mozzarella sticks are as close as you can get to ordering cheese as an entree in many restaurants. Both of those are technically appetizers, although one serving of mozzarella sticks boasts an impressive 35 grams of protein, certainly enough to make it a substantial entree. But large, elegant single pieces of cheese? These are rarely seen on menus. Here are a few reasons we think this trend is in everyone's best interest.

Let's get a little cheesy

As Bon App├ętit reported, big ole' slabs of cheese as entrees are picking up in restaurants in New York, and we can only hope that the rest of the nation will follow. It's in restaurants' favor to offer more of these options. While turning out a brie en croute might take significant prep, it can easily be made ahead of time and heated to order. But serving up a succulent burrata? Seconds. Plating a ploughman's lunch, a classic British pub meal consisting of a substantial slice of stilton or cheddar, bread, and a pickled vegetable relish, and other fixings, takes mere minutes.

Cheese can be dressed up or down as much as the restaurant wishes, another point in its favor. A pastry shell-free baked brie will please just as well as the fussy brie en croute. Throw a sprig of thyme on there and it's fancy. NYC's Kiki serves a massive hunk of feta flanked by kalamata olives, awash in olive oil, and sprinkled with oregano. Cheese needs little embellishment to be delicious.

Or nutritious. It's one of the few ways to have a meatless main that offers as much protein as meat options. A wheel of brie packs 32 grams of protein, while a one cup serving of chopped chicken is 38 grams. The typical veggie burger is only 11 grams.