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Which vegetables go well with cheese?

Cheese is a beloved ingredient used in dishes across the world. Its rich, creamy texture pairs wonderfully with many foods. One classic combination is cheese and vegetables. The right vegetables can accentuate the flavor of cheese and create delicious dishes. So which vegetables go best with different types of cheese?

Brief Overview of Popular Cheeses

Before exploring cheese and vegetable pairings, let’s briefly overview some popular types of cheese:

  • Cheddar – This semi-hard cow’s milk cheese ranges from mild to sharp in flavor. Its tangy, nutty taste stands up well with other ingredients.
  • Mozzarella – A soft, mild cheese with high moisture content. It has a creamy, milky flavor that works well in both savory and sweet dishes.
  • Gouda – Typically made from cow’s milk, this semi-hard to hard cheese can range from mild to smoked in flavor. It has a sweet, buttery taste.
  • Parmesan – This hard Italian cheese has a gritty texture and robust, nutty flavor that packs a punch.
  • Swiss – With a firm texture and pale yellow color, this cheese has a mellow, slightly nutty taste.
  • Goat Cheese – Also known as chèvre, this cheese has a soft, spreadable texture. Its tangy and earthy flavor varies by age.
  • Gruyère – Originating from Switzerland, this dense, hard cheese has a salty, fruity taste.
  • Brie – This soft cow’s milk cheese has an edible white rind and smooth, creamy interior with an earthy flavor.
  • Blue Cheese – Known for its pungent aroma and bold, tangy flavor from blue mold cultivation.
  • Feta – This firm, brined curd white cheese has a crumbly texture and robust salty taste.

Pairing Cheese with Vegetables

Now let’s explore which vegetables make the best partners for different cheeses:

Cheddar Cheese

The bold flavor of cheddar cheese stands up well to hearty vegetables. Some excellent options include:

  • Broccoli – A classic pairing, broccoli’s slight bitterness and crunch balances cheddar’s sharp taste.
  • Cauliflower – Both its florets and roasted form pair deliciously with cheddar, like in cauliflower cheese bake.
  • Carrots – The natural sweetness of cooked carrots contrasts the tang of cheddar in dishes like glazed carrots.
  • Brussels sprouts – Roasted brussels sprouts and cheddar is a winning combination.
  • Cabbage – Red or green cabbage sautéed with cheddar lend great flavor and texture.
  • Potatoes – Baked, mashed or fried, potatoes accent cheddar’s nutty notes.

Mozzarella Cheese

The milky flavor and melting texture of mozzarella pair well with summer squash and vegetables with bright, fresh tastes. Try it with:

  • Tomatoes – A match made in heaven, fresh tomatoes and mozzarella are delicious in Caprese salads and on pizza.
  • Zucchini – Grilled or baked zucchini brings out the sweetness that balances mozzarella.
  • Eggplant – Meaty eggplant roasted with mozzarella makes excellent Parmigiana.
  • Bell peppers – The crunch and sweetness of bell peppers contrasts the soft cheese.
  • Mushrooms – Sautéed mushrooms add an earthy flavor and meaty texture.
  • Basil – Fresh basil accentuates the herbaceous notes of mozzarella in dishes like pesto.

Gouda Cheese

Gouda’s nutty sweetness pairs nicely with vegetables on the sweeter side. Consider these combos:

  • Butternut squash – The natural sweetness of roasted butternut squash beautifully matches the caramel notes in gouda.
  • Beets – The earthy sweetness of beets balances gouda’s richness.
  • Sweet potatoes – Baked sweet potatoes with gouda is an excellent fall or winter dish.
  • Carrots – Sautéed carrots complement gouda’s butterscotch undertones.
  • Corn – Grilled corn on the cob slathered with gouda makes a delicious summer treat.
  • Peas – Fresh or frozen peas lend pops of sweetness that work with creamy gouda.

Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan’s salty punch stands up to bitter greens and robust vegetables. Pair it with:

  • Broccoli – Broccoli’s slight bitterness is balanced by parmesan’s saltiness in dishes like pasta.
  • Brussels sprouts – Toasted Brussels sprouts sprinkled with parmesan make a flavorful side.
  • Kale – Massaged raw kale salad dressed with a lemon vinaigrette benefits from parmesan’s zest.
  • Cauliflower – Roasted cauliflower is taken to the next level with freshly grated parmesan.
  • Asparagus – Grilled or roasted asparagus sprinkled with parmesan has wonderful flavor contrast.
  • Green beans – Sautéed green beans are complemented by parmesan’s nutty saltiness.

Swiss Cheese

The mild flavor of Swiss cheese pairs well with both subtle and robust vegetables. Excellent matches include:

  • Mushrooms – Sautéed mushrooms complement Swiss’s earthy notes in dishes like omelets.
  • Onions – Caramelized onions bring out the sweetness in Swiss cheese.
  • Bell peppers – Colorful bell peppers lend a crunchy texture and pop of flavor.
  • Carrots – Shredded carrots in dishes like pot pie taste great with melty Swiss.
  • Tomatoes – Sliced tomato sandwiches are taken up a notch with Swiss cheese.
  • Spinach – Wilted spinach’s bold flavor holds up well to Swiss in dishes like quiche.

Goat Cheese

Tangy goat cheese pairs nicely with bitter veggies that can handle its assertive flavor. Some perfect matches include:

  • Beets – The earthy sweetness of beets is balanced by goat cheese’s tanginess.
  • Arugula – Peppery arugula salad dressed with lemon benefits from creamy goat cheese crumbles.
  • Radicchio – The pleasant bitterness of radicchio is tempered by soft goat cheese.
  • Asparagus – Grilled asparagus with goat cheese drizzle is a delicious spring dish.
  • Eggplant – Roasted eggplant enhanced by goat cheese has great texture contrast.
  • Artichokes – The subtle flavor of artichokes pairs nicely with bright goat cheese.

Gruyère Cheese

Gruyère’s bold, salty flavor can handle assertive vegetables. Some excellent pairings include:

  • Broccoli – Broccoli’s slight bitterness is complemented by Gruyère’s sweet, fruity notes.
  • Kale – Hardy kale stands up well to Gruyère’s strong flavor in dishes like gratin.
  • Cabbage – Red cabbage’s texture and flavor is balanced by melted Gruyère.
  • Potatoes – Gruyère’s saltiness seasons dishes like scalloped potatoes perfectly.
  • Cauliflower – Cauliflower gratin is taken to new heights with grated Gruyère on top.
  • Brussels sprouts – Shaved Brussels sprouts salad gains richness from Gruyère crumbles.

Brie Cheese

Mild tasting vegetables pair well with the soft, earthy flavor of brie. Some excellent options:

  • Tomatoes – Fresh tomato salad or bruschetta is complemented by creamy brie.
  • Zucchini – Thinly sliced or grated zucchini keeps its texture against soft brie.
  • Spinach – Wilted spinach has an earthy flavor that matches brie when warm.
  • Peas – Fresh or frozen peas lend pops of sweetness and crunch with brie.
  • Beets – Roasted beets seasoned with brie melt in your mouth.
  • Green beans – Briefly steamed green beans have a crisp bite that offsets brie.

Blue Cheese

The pungent flavor of blue cheese requires vegetables with their own bold tastes. Some excellent matches:

  • Mushrooms – Meaty mushrooms complement blue cheese’s rich umami.
  • Onions – Sweet caramelized onions balance blue cheese’s sharpness.
  • Asparagus – Grilled asparagus gains a punchy top note from crumbled blue cheese.
  • Radicchio – Bitter radicchio salad is cut by creamy blue cheese dressing.
  • Cauliflower – Roasted cauliflower gets an extra dimension from tangy blue cheese.
  • Brussels sprouts – Caramelized Brussels sprouts make a great flavor match for bold blue cheese.

Feta Cheese

Crumbly, salty feta cheese pairs well with fresh vegetables. Some tasty combos include:

  • Tomatoes – The juicy sweetness of tomatoes is highlighted by the saltiness of feta.
  • Cucumbers – Cool cucumber salad or tzatziki sauce benefits from feta’s briny taste.
  • Bell peppers – Colorful roasted bell peppers get a flavor burst from feta cheese.
  • Eggplant – Meaty eggplant roasted with feta makes a delicious Greek staple.
  • Zucchini – Grilled zucchini enhanced by feta’s saltiness makes a perfect side.
  • Olives – Salty olives complement the flavor of crumbled feta cheese.

Vegetable Pairing Recommendations by Cheese Type

Cheese Recommended Vegetable Pairings
Cheddar Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrots, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Potatoes
Mozzarella Tomatoes, Zucchini, Eggplant, Bell Peppers, Mushrooms, Basil
Gouda Butternut Squash, Beets, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Corn, Peas
Parmesan Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Kale, Cauliflower, Asparagus, Green Beans
Swiss Mushrooms, Onions, Bell Peppers, Carrots, Tomatoes, Spinach
Goat Cheese Beets, Arugula, Radicchio, Asparagus, Eggplant, Artichokes
Gruyère Broccoli, Kale, Cabbage, Potatoes, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts
Brie Tomatoes, Zucchini, Spinach, Peas, Beets, Green Beans
Blue Cheese Mushrooms, Onions, Asparagus, Radicchio, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts
Feta Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Bell Peppers, Eggplant, Zucchini, Olives

Tips for Cooking Vegetables with Cheese

Here are some tips for successfully cooking vegetables with cheese:

  • Cut vegetables to similar sized pieces for even cooking.
  • Roast vegetables in a hot oven to caramelize natural sugars.
  • Sauté vegetables over medium-high heat to retain crunch.
  • Steam vegetables like green beans lightly to preserve crispness.
  • Add cheese at the end of cooking so it doesn’t burn or separate.
  • Grate hard cheeses like parmesan or gouda for a punch of flavor.
  • Toss delicate greens with thick salad dressings containing soft cheese.
  • Stir milk or cream into cheese sauces for a smooth consistency.
  • Use high quality, fresh ingredients for the best flavor.
  • Season vegetables before or after cooking with herbs, spices, salt and pepper.

Sample Cheese and Vegetable Dishes

Here are just some of the many fantastic dishes that can be made by pairing vegetables with cheese:

  • Baked pasta with broccoli and cheddar cheese sauce
  • Margherita pizza with tomato sauce, basil and mozzarella cheese
  • Butternut squash and gouda cheese galette
  • Cauliflower gratin with Gruyère cheese crust
  • Goat cheese tart with caramelized onions and thyme
  • Bruschetta with tomatoes, garlic and brie
  • Spinach salad with blue cheese crumbles, walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette
  • Roasted beet and feta cheese quinoa salad
  • Caprese salad with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil
  • Baked potato halves with cheddar, bacon and scallions


Pairing the right vegetables with cheese can lead to some incredibly delicious dishes. Certain combinations like tomatoes and mozzarella or beets and goat cheese are matches made in heaven. Use this guide to the best vegetable pairings for popular cheeses to create your own sensational sides, appetizers, entrees and more. With fresh, high quality ingredients and smart cooking techniques you’ll have scrumptious meals everyone will love.