It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to email@example.com and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.
Hey, what can we use instead of goat cheese that is comparable in fat content?
Well, there's not much really. The reason that I use goat cheese in the recipes that call for creaminess is because of its richness at a much lower fat content than other cheeses. The normal "full fat" goat milk cheese is about 6 grams per ounce. This is a lot less than half and half or even sour cream. The problem with the lower fat and no fat sour creams, for example, is that they will break down under high heat. I do use them at times, but in trying to design recipes to be as foolproof as possible I felt that using sour cream would be much riskier to use than goat cheese.
If you are having problems with finding goat cheese I am surprised. When I started Dr. Gourmet almost 20 years ago I designed all of the recipes to use ingredients that could be found in the small (20,000 person) town that I lived in. Twenty years later, most grocery stores now carry goat cheese.
There is some variation. Feta is goat cheese, for example, but it's far more pungent than semi-soft goat cheese and it wouldn't work in the Alfredo sauce. There is also a semi soft goat cheese with the brand name Chevrie (the French for "goat" is chevre) and it can be found in many supermarkets as well. It is even lower in fat.
If you have objections to using goat cheese, there is the aforementioned lower fat sour cream but with the risk. I have been testing soy and other non-dairy milks with other recipes, but the results can be quite variable. If you do try using non-dairy milks in place of goat cheese or cow's milk, be sure to choose the unsweetened and unflavored varieties.
Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP