9 Best Substitute For Montasio Cheese

Montasio Cheese Substitute

Cheese, the versatile dairy marvel, has always been an integral part of various culinary delights. Among the plethora of varieties that cheese brings us, Montasio stands out. Montasio is an Italian cheese originating from the Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto regions, known for its smooth texture and evolving flavor profile with age. It’s a culinary staple used in gratins, cheese platters, or as a flavorful garnish over salads and pasta.

However, as relishing as Montasio is, it might not always be available in local stores, or dietary restrictions might call for alternatives. This is where substitutes come in. These Montasio replacements can retain the authenticity of your dish while adding their unique flair. From Asiago and Piave to vegan-friendly “cheese,” they each bring a taste profile that can compensate for the absence of Montasio. So, whether you’re looking to experiment with your cheeseboard or replace Montasio in a recipe, this guide will help you find the best substitutes available.

What is Montasio Cheese?

Montasio is a traditional Italian cheese with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status, meaning it can only be produced in specific regions following time-honored methods. Made from cow’s milk, it’s aged to three stages – fresco (fresh), mezzano (medium), and stagionato (aged). Montasio cheese carries a smooth texture with a slightly sweet flavor when young, which develops a more intense, full-bodied profile as it ages. It is versatile, making it an excellent choice for gratins, cheese platters, or shaved atop salads and pasta.

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Cheesy Alternatives: A Snapshot of Substitutes For Montasio Cheese

  1. Asiago
  2. Piave
  3. Grana Padano
  4. Parmigiano Reggiano
  5. Pecorino Romano
  6. Gruyère
  7. Emmental
  8. Vegan “cheese”
  9. Cashew “cheese”

Best Substitutes For Montasio Cheese

These alternatives, each with their distinct personalities, offer something unique and bring their charm when used in place of Montasio cheese.


The first in our list of substitutes is Asiago, another Italian cheese that shares many similarities with Montasio. Made from cow’s milk in the Veneto and Trentino regions, it also comes in fresh and aged versions.

Asiago Fresco, aged for just 20-30 days, has a soft, creamy texture with a sweet, slightly tangy flavor. It melts well, making it a fantastic substitute for Montasio in recipes that require melting or baking.

Asiago d’allevo, aged for 3-12 months or more, becomes harder and crumbly. The taste intensifies with maturity, becoming more savory and piquant. It can be used just like aged Montasio – shaved over salads or pasta, or as part of a cheese board.


Next, we introduce Piave, named after the river Piave in Veneto, Italy. It’s a hard, cooked curd cheese made from cow’s milk, similar in texture to an aged Montasio.

Young Piave has a mild, almost sweet flavor, while the Vecchio (old) Piave, matured for over a year, has a more robust, full flavor and a slightly fruity undertone. The Piave stravecchio, aged for two years, develops a deep, complex flavor profile.

Like Montasio, Piave pairs well with a variety of wines and is excellent grated or shaved over dishes. Its versatility makes it a convenient substitute, whether your recipe calls for fresh or aged Montasio.

Grana Padano

Moving to the Lombardy region, Grana Padano is a hard, grainy cheese made from partially skimmed cow’s milk. Aged between 9 months to over 20 months, it develops from a milky, slightly sweet flavor to a more robust, savory, and complex profile.

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Grana Padano’s crumbly texture and rich flavor make it ideal for grating over pasta or risotto. It also makes a good alternative for Montasio in salads, soups, and cheese boards. It’s less expensive than some other Italian hard cheeses, making it a cost-effective option.

Parmigiano Reggiano

Perhaps the most famous Italian cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano is a hard, granular cheese from Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy. Known as the “King of Cheeses,” it’s matured for 12 to 36 months or more.

Parmigiano Reggiano has a strong, umami-rich, nutty flavor that’s more intense than Montasio. It’s perfect for grating over pasta, risotto, and salads, or eaten in chunks with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Its rich taste and grainy texture make it an excellent alternative to Montasio. However, due to its more pronounced flavor, use it sparingly until you reach the desired taste.

Pecorino Romano

Moving away from cow’s milk cheeses, Pecorino Romano is a hard, salty Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk. Aged for at least eight months, it’s more robust and salty compared to Montasio.

Pecorino Romano has a crumbly texture and is perfect for grating over dishes. Its distinctive flavor can enrich pastas, salads, soups, or casseroles. When substituting for Montasio, bear in mind that Pecorino Romano has a more potent flavor, so adjust the quantity accordingly.


Crossing over to Switzerland, Gruyère is a hard cheese made from cow’s milk, known for its creamy, nutty flavor. Aged for 5 to 12 months, it becomes more complex and richer with time.

Gruyère is excellent in baked dishes, fondue, and gratins, and works well in sandwiches or cheese boards. Its melting qualities make it a good alternative for recipes that require Montasio fresco.

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Another Swiss cheese, Emmental or Swiss cheese, is famous for its characteristic holes or “eyes”. It’s a semi-hard cheese with a mild, slightly nutty flavor.

Emmental melts beautifully, making it a great choice for gratins, sandwiches, or quiches. It can be a suitable alternative for recipes requiring young, smooth-melting Montasio.

Vegan “Cheese”

For those following a dairy-free or vegan diet, there are many plant-based “cheeses” available. Vegan cheeses are made from a variety of plant foods including nuts, soy, and root vegetables.

The texture and flavor can vary significantly, so you may need to experiment to find the one that suits your taste. Some melt better than others, so choose accordingly based on your cooking requirements.

Cashew “Cheese”

A popular choice in the vegan community is cashew “cheese”. Made from raw cashews, water, and various seasonings, it can be a good alternative to fresh Montasio.

It has a creamy texture and mild flavor, making it a versatile substitute in recipes. It can also be fermented for a tangier flavor.

Substitutes for Montasio Cheese: Nutritional Profile

Grana Padano12090011No
Parmigiano Reggiano11071010No
Pecorino Romano1108109No
Vegan “Cheese”806711Varies
Cashew “Cheese”78650.53No

Note: Values are per ¼ cup and are approximations. Check the packaging for precise information.

Conclusion: The Perfect Substitute Awaits

Each cheese has its charm, and while nothing can perfectly replicate the unique flavor profile of Montasio, exploring alternatives can be an adventure in itself. From the rich Asiago to the tangy Pecorino Romano or even plant-based alternatives, there is a wealth of flavors to discover. Your perfect substitute is waiting for you. So, venture forth, experiment, and savor the incredible world of cheese (and beyond!).

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