Give Your Lasagna A Tangy Upgrade With Goat Cheese

While lasagna is loved for its familiar flavors, switching up the recipe and adding new, more complex flavors can elevate it with a unique twist. One of the best ways to make a simple upgrade is by incorporating unique cheeses into your lasagna. Enter goat cheese.

While ricotta cheese is regarded as an integral addition to most lasagna recipes, its flavor alone is quite bland. This smooth, slightly grainy cheese is made from tiny milk curds and has a subtle sweetness. It provides textural dichotomy and juxtaposes the chewy mozzarella layer on top of the lasagna. However, goat cheese is an alternative that offers a similar texture with a stronger sour flavor.

While goat cheese is a great option for those trying to cut back on cheese made from cow's milk, it also provides a tangy taste and has a soft mouthfeel that can be silky or crumbly. There are many different varieties of goat cheese as well, including familiar variations of Brie and Gouda. As goat cheeses age, the taste becomes more nuanced, developing musty, nutty, or even citrus characteristics. Although goat cheese can be polarizing, fresh varieties with a higher moisture content — such as a Canadian Paillot De Chèvre or the French Selles sur Cher – have a creamy, velvety texture and mix incredibly well with classic ricotta to make your familiar lasagna dish even more flavorful and exciting.

Goat cheese complements the existing ingredients

If you want the best of both worlds, creating a ricotta and goat cheese blend to layer into your lasagna is an easy way to upgrade the dish. Mixing goat cheese with ricotta is not a new concept as it's been done in popular dip recipes for charcuterie boards. When just starting with your lasagna filling, it's best to do a 5-to-1 ratio of ricotta to goat cheese to test out the new flavor. This could look like 3 ounces of goat cheese for every 15 ounces of ricotta. 

Incorporating goat cheese into your recipe allows that tangy taste to permeate your lasagna, complementing the acidity of the tomato sauce and cutting through the fatty meat. Plus, herbs like basil pair perfectly with goat cheese and help to accentuate its earthiness. However, goat cheese can be overpowering for some palates. Therefore, combining a small amount of the fresh variety with the mild ricotta flavor dilutes the tanginess, creating the perfect balance. 

Of course, if you are eager to try something new and want that intense flavor to shine, crumbling a dryer aged goat milk cheese such as a Manchego onto your lasagna before baking will allow it to seep into the mozzarella on top, ensuring that prominent sharp flavor in every bite. Ultimately, not thinking outside the box with your cheese selection is a common lasagna mistake everyone makes. And, goat cheese provides an extra pungent flavor that will be hard not to love.