Hear me out: cottage cheese is due for a renaissance. If the term cottage cheese conjures images of precious 1950s “salads” composed primarily of those famously chewy curds and canned fruit, or of 1980s diets replete with high-cut spandex and jazzercise routines…well, yes. Those things all happened. But cottage cheese shouldn’t be blamed for the 1980s.
And as fad diets go, there’s nothing really fad about it. Cottage cheese has continued churning faithfully while trendier, sexier forms of high-protein dairy have jockeyed for America’s affection. Greek yogurt, kefir, and skyr are great and all, but cottage cheese is the unsung hero of the dairy aisle, packing the protein and giving you something to chew about while remaining capable of mingling with sweet and savory playmates in equal measure. Plus it has “cheese” in its name, in case you momentarily forgot what’s what.
Cottage cheese can function in cooked recipes from frittatas to lasagna, but its true superpower is how it functions straight out of the fridge. In the spirit of honoring this old-school hero while keeping it contemporary, here are 10 recipes to demonstrate just how sexy cottage cheese can be with the right flavor partners.
Speaking of cheese (and of sexiness), the cottage variety works just as well when queso is called for. This savory dip studded with onions, jalapeños, and cilantro will hardly let you remember how healthy it is. Get The Homesick Texan’s Chilled Chile Con Queso with Avocado Dip recipe.
The flavor of cottage cheese is arguably as mild as plain yogurt, but with three times the protein. With a spin in the blender alongside some fruits and honey, the result is as smooth a smoothie as befits the name. Get the Peach, Banana, Honey and Cottage Cheese Smoothie recipe.
Perhaps you have memories of a dubiously pink cottage cheese salad involving gelatin and tropical fruit cocktail. Right. Again, don’t blame the cottage cheese, especially since it does perform so well in a tropical setting. Try an updated, grown-up version like this nuts-and-fruit-layered parfait. Get the Tropical Cottage Cheese Parfait recipe.
Cottage cheese is basically one step shy of becoming mozzarella cheese anyway, so treat it like you would fresh mozzarella by pairing it with caprese fixings: tomato, basil, and a little balsamic for that triumphant, my-lunch-is-better-than-yours attitude. Get the Cottage Cheese Caprese Salad recipe.
Now that’s a grown-up breakfast. Imagine what the day will have in store for you when you begin it with this powerhouse: cottage cheese with fresh fruit, granola, and a little nut butter of your choosing. As close to having superpowers as we mortals can wish for. Get the Cottage Cheese Granola Bowl recipe.
Proof pudding that cottage cheese is capable of rolling in any decade, here it finds itself comfortably in the millennial wonderland that is avocado toast. In the words of another improbable millennial hero: “How easy is that?” Get the Avocado Toast with Cottage Cheese recipe.
But if you do want to kick it old school, you can just as easily throwback with cottage cheese. Here, a classic combination of carrots, walnuts, apples, and raisins can keep it retro, minus the 1950s housewife trope or huge 1980s hair. Get the Cottage Cheese Waldorf Salad recipe.
This is hardly a recipe as much as it is a supremely solid life choice. Cottage cheese brings the tang of mayonnaise to egg salad plus an extra dose of protein. Then you can take it whatever egg salad direction you like; here a little dill and mustard for classic pizzazz. Get the Cottage Cheese Egg Salad recipe.
You can top a baked sweet potato with cottage cheese in place of sour cream, or you can top the cottage cheese with a little savory sweet potato medley. Either way: genius, healthy, tasty. Get the Sweet Potato Fajita Cottage Cheese Bowl recipe.
Well, this simple toast is kind of reminiscent of a Croque Monsieur or Croque Madame, though cottage cheese takes it to an appreciably higher level, so perhaps we’ll call it Croque Your Eminence? Get the Asparagus, Cottage Cheese and Prosciutto Toast recipe.