It has suffered long enough from a bad reputation as an ’80s diet food. Guess what? Mom was right. Cottage cheese is super healthy, packed with protein, calcium, vitamin B-12, and selenium.
Even better, it’s a versatile ingredient that can make everything from lasagna to desserts taste better. Mildly tangy, acidic, and naturally low in fat, it’s a fresh cheese of curds packed with some of the whey.
We ignore any calls for low fat or fat free dairy in these recipes. Regular cottage cheese, as it’s called, naturally has 4 percent milk fat. It comes in large and small curd varieties. Small curd has 25 grams of protein per cup, and large curd has 23 grams.
So forget those old-school diet meals with that scoop o’ cottage cheese and cantaloupe (though, admittedly, it’s a delicious combo). Here are 24 recipes that bring cottage cheese up to date.
1. Cottage cheese lasagna
Swap in cottage cheese for the ricotta and keep the awesome layers of ground beef, spicy sausage, tomato sauce, and pasta. Getting hungry?
2. Vegetarian cottage cheese lasagna
Loaded with colorful, healthy vegetables, this lasagna doesn’t hold back on the creamy goodness, with cottage cheese and mozzarella oozing between sheets of pasta. Do yourself a favor and use no-boil lasagna noodles.
3. Gluten-free cottage cheese lasagna
This recipe feeds a crowd (12 to 15 servings) or provides lots of future frozen dinners. Gluten-free noodles (you could sub wide zoodles) bake in layers of zesty homemade tomato sauce and four kinds of cheese.
4. Strawberry cottage cheese cake
This one-bowl cake is gluten-free baking done right. A batter of cottage cheese, coconut flour, eggs, and milk is studded with sliced strawberries.
We take a few liberties with this recipe, replacing the low fat milk with whole. We slice the strawberries lengthwise for a prettier shape.
5. Double chocolate cottage cheese cookies
These cookies look and taste like any other chewy chocolate treats, but they pack in 1/2 cup of protein-rich cottage cheese. Chocolate chips sweeten the cocoa-rich cookies, and oat flour keeps them gluten-free.
6. Healthy cheesecake
Cottage cheese and Greek yogurt (we use whole-milk varieties) blend into a rich batter flavored with classic lemon zest and vanilla. Sweet and creamy, it’s everything a cheesecake should be. Top with granola for crunch.
7. Strawberry raspberry cream pops
These hot-pink frozen treats get their creamy texture from cottage cheese. And kids will never know it because the sweet flavor of strawberries and raspberries, accented with honey, is so spot-on.
We call that sneaky genius.
8. Chocolate chip cookie dough protein bars
These bars use every healthier ingredient sub in the book, including chickpeas, dates, oat bran, and yes, our new best friend, cottage cheese. And they taste amazing. Good-for-you dessert that tastes good: win-win!
9. Strawberry cottage cheese mini muffins
A platter of these mini cakes stands out on the dessert buffet. They’re bursting with fresh strawberries, flavored with orange juice, and hiding protein-rich cottage cheese. And they’re cute — especially if you get creative with icing.
We replace the canola oil with coconut oil. The white flour in this recipe helps the little cakes rise in the oven, creating a light texture.
10. Protein cheesecake mousse
If you don’t have the patience to wait for a cheesecake to bake (we don’t blame you), go for this 5-minute version instead. With cocoa and protein powder blended with cottage cheese, it’s anything but traditional.
11. Strawberry cheesecake overnight oats
Cheesecake for breakfast? We’re in. Prep the night before to make two jars of protein-rich, strawberry-sweet goodness. It takes just four ingredients and 5 minutes to make.
Grab it from the fridge, stick it in your (and your S.O.’s) bag, and take it along on the car/subway/train ride to your desk.
12. Fruit salad tacos with honey-whipped cottage cheese
Fact: Everything is better in taco form. Proof: this recipe. Whip cottage cheese into a creamy orange-honey filling to spread into a warm tortilla and top with fruit salsa.
13. High protein gluten-free blender pancakes
Oats, banana, and cottage cheese are the main ingredients in these light, fluffy, cinnamon-scented pancakes. All you’ve gotta do is toss everything in the blender and then cook ’em up 1/4 cup at a time.
14. Healthy breakfast banana split
Once you drizzle an all-fruit jam (or dark chocolate) over cottage cheese and sprinkle on some crunchy granola and nuts, this banana split starts to look like the real deal. And it’s just as much fun to eat.
15. Cottage cheese and tomato on baguette breakfast
Crusty bread. Creamy cheese. Juicy tomatoes. Fruity olive oil. NOM.
16. Summer melon protein parfait
Switch up the usual parfait with cottage cheese instead of yogurt. This three-ingredient parfait features melon, but you can use it as a template and sub in fruits that are in season (or frozen).
17. Raspberry and blueberry oaty breakfast bars
Cottage cheese gives these oat bars a light texture and a protein boost. Studded with sweet, juicy berries and crunchy pumpkin seeds, these babies are an awesome make-ahead, grab-and-go breakfast.
18. Sweet potato fajita cottage cheese bowls
Pile fajita veggies on top of cottage cheese to dramatically amp up the protein count without meat. Sweet potatoes, red and green bell peppers, and onions seasoned with fajita powder get an extra boost of flavor from salsa.
19. Green power protein salad
We looked up “nutrition” in a dictionary, and we swear a picture of this salad showed up. Think we’re exaggerating? It’s bursting with greens, lentils, nuts, seeds, and our friend cottage cheese.
It’s energizing, tasty, and satisfying — a total veggie love fest.
20. Low carb spanakopita cottage cheese and egg casserole
Can’t find phyllo or simply want to keep the carb count low? Ditch it. Just keep the filling, featuring the Greek flavors of garlicky spinach, feta, and dill. Cottage cheese adds creaminess to this grain-free twist on tradition.
21. Easy guacamole tostadas with added protein
Blend cottage cheese with lime, cilantro, cumin, and cayenne for an alternative to sour cream. The blogger stirs it into mashed avocado. We like to use it as a topping for the guac.
22. California cottage cheese bowl
Keep things simple, tasty, and quick with this straightforward lunch.
23. Waldorf salad with cottage cheese
Speaking of retro recipes, this eternal favorite proves that some things never get old, but they can get better. Here, cottage cheese takes the place of the mayo that binds the apples, celery, raisins, and walnuts.
24. Cottage cheese egg salad
Cottage cheese subs for mayo, adding a boost of calcium and protein to this new version of an old favorite. Mustard and dill add familiar egg salad flavors. (We use spicy whole-grain mustard and fresh dill.)
Whether it’s a quick lunch straight out of the container (just add avocado and cherry tomato) or the secret ingredient in a dessert, cottage cheese is more awesome than you might have thought.
It adds protein and calcium to breakfast, lunch, dinner (lasagna… *drool*), and dessert. And come on, you know you’re starting to really dig that mild, tangy flavor.