Panela cheese is a Mexican cheese adapted from a Greek basket cheese. Whole unpasteurized milk curds are salted and drained in baskets to form this fresh cheese. Panela is best eaten fresh as a snack or to top salads or other cold dishes. You can also use panela to crumble over tacos or chili. This cheese can also be fried like halloumi cheese.
Panela is not as common in the U.S. as other Mexican cheeses so look for it primarily in Mexican markets or in online cheese shops. You can also purchase it online at Amazon.com: Queso Panela
If you don't have panela cheese you can substitute one of these alternatives:
Panela cheese is made with part skim milk, rennet and sea salt.
Recipe by Cacique Cheese
1 package (10 oz.) Cacique® Panela – cut in half and slice into 1/4" rectangles
6 cups field greens
1/4 cup red onion, sliced
1/4 cup tomato, chopped
1/4cup radishes, chopped
1/4 cup avocado, chopped Vinaigrette Dressing
3 tablespoons Cacique ® Crema Salvadoreña
1 clove garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 large avocados, cut into chunks
Toss greens with onion, tomato, radish, ¼ cup avocado, and separate onto 6 plates. Heat medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat. Spray with non-stick spray. Gently add cheese slices and sear on both sides until browned (30-45 seconds on each side). Drain on paper towel.
In blender or food processor, mix large avocados, Crema Salvadorena, garlic, lime, jalapeno and extra virgin olive oil on medium speed for 1 minute, season to taste and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Place 3 or 4 slices of seared Panela on bed of greens and drizzle with vinaigrette.