Substitutes for kefalotiri cheese are other hard cheeses such as Romano or Parmesan, both of which have a similar sharp flavor and dry texture. When a recipe calls for the cheese to be sprinkled on top of the dish, nutritional yeast is a suitable vegan substitute. Nutritional yeast is high in protein, low in fat and not made from animal products.
Much like its substitutes, kefalotiri is commonly eaten on its own or as part of a cheese board. It is also frequently added to pasta, meats or cooked vegetable dishes. Its hard, dry texture makes it ideal for grating as a topping for salads or pizza. Saganaki is a traditional dish that features fried cubes or strips of kefalotiri.
Kefalotiri, which is also commonly spelled kefalotyri, comes from Greece, Cyprus and Turkey. It is widely believed to be the ancestor of hard cheeses in Greece, where its history can be dated back to the Byzantine era. Kefalotiri is very hard with a flavor that is similar to a harder, saltier version of Gruyere, and it has a natural, rind and a pale-yellow color. Young kefalotiri is aged for at least two months and has a milder flavor than aged cheese. In general, the longer kefalotiri is aged, the stronger its flavor becomes.