It’s suffered from a not-so-great reputation as “'80s-era diet food” long enough. Cottage cheese really shouldn't be overlooked as a fantastic source of calcium and protein; not to mention, its mild flavor makes it work in everything from pancakes to pastas to popsicles (yes, really!). We’re bringing this weirdly textured but wonderfully nutritious stuff back into everyone’s good graces with these 27 breakfast-to-dessert recipes. As of today, nobody puts cottage cheese in the corner.

Breakfast

Photo: Skinny Fitalicious

Not only does this recipe make it OK to eat something that tastes like cheesecake for breakfast, but it packs in 19 grams of protein to boot. And it takes just five minutes to make and is easily portable from your kitchen to the car/subway/train to your desk. Best breakfast ever?

Photo: Turnip the Oven

Fact: Everything is better in taco form. Proof: this recipe. Even if you’re not crazy for cottage cheese, use it as a filling alongside a fruit “salsa” for these sweet breakfast tacos. They’re so much fun to eat, you shouldn't be surprised if you inhale an extra serving.

Photo: A Mindfull Mom

Protein powder is a common ingredient to power up pancakes but can make them kind of chalky. Get all of the fuel and none of that weird aftertaste by sneaking cottage cheese into the batter instead. With its mild taste and the blender method getting rid of any lumps, you won’t even notice it’s in there.

Photo: Hungry Hobby

Sure, part of the fluffiness of these muffins come from the eggs, but cottage cheese takes a lot of the credit for their amazing texture too. Don’t let the cloud-like lightness fool you though; with only half a cup of oat flour in the recipe, these portable bites are practically all protein.

Photo: Simple Healthy Kitchen

Having an actual banana split for breakfast might be a bit much, but this is the next best thing. With cottage cheese standing in for the ice cream, an all-fruit jam replacing the chocolate sauce, and granola and nuts adding the necessary crunch, it looks as decadent as the real deal and is just as much fun to dig into.

Photo: I Will Not Eat Oysters

Crusty bread. Creamy cheese. Juicy tomatoes. Fruity olive oil. NOM.

Photo: Aggie's Kitchen

Not much of a morning person? This three-ingredient parfait requires minimal brain work, but still makes sure you’re getting in some key nutrients to rev up your engines for the day. Cottage cheese makes for an interesting switch-up from the yogurt; you may even find you prefer it.

Photo: Amuse Your Bouche

A cross between a baked oatmeal and a granola bar, these soft squares are the perfect make-ahead breakfast, since they’re tasty served both warm and cold. With minimal added sugar and extra protein from the cottage cheese, they deliver in the nutrition department too.

Photo: Simple Playful Fare

With a healthy mix of whole eggs and egg whites, just one tablespoon of butter, and no crust, these muffin-size eggy treats are easier and much lighter than your average quiche recipe. Cottage cheese gives them some added volume and nutrition, while caramelized onions and chives make sure they aren’t lacking in flavor.

Lunch and Dinner

Photo: One Sweet Mess

Pile your fajita veggies on top of cottage cheese to dramatically amp up the protein count without the need for meat. With sweet potatoes providing plenty of complex carbs, it’s an unconventional but totally well-balanced 30-minute meal.

Photo: Bound By Food

Look up “nutrition” in a dictionary, and it wouldn’t be surprising if a picture of this salad showed up. Bursting with greens, nuts and seeds, lentils, and cottage cheese, it’s energizing, tasty, and satisfying—exactly what healthy eats are supposed to be.

Photo: Mom Foodie

Can’t find phyllo, or simply want to keep the carb count low? Replace the pastry in this pie with cottage cheese. Garlic, spinach, and feta keep the Greek flavors intact, but this spanakopita is a grain-free twist on tradition.

Photo: Weary Chef

Blended cottage cheese mixed with Mexican spices, and you get a healthier and super-tasty alternative to sour cream. Stir it into guacamole for an efficient topping that doesn’t skimp on any of the classic tostada flavors.

Photo: The Skinny Fork

Keep things simple, clean, and quick with this straightforward lunch or dinner bowl. It’s a perfect meal for when you want something light, but the 13 grams of protein and nearly seven grams of fiber make sure it fills you up.

Photo: The Little Green Spoon

Stuffed chicken breast, sun-dried tomatoes, and cottage cheese were all the rage in the 80s. Put 'em all together for this family classic that brings back the good ol’ days in the most delicious way.

Photo: April Golightly

Speaking of retro recipes, this eternal favorite proves that some things never get old but they can be improved upon—here, the fruits and veggies are stirred into cottage cheese instead of mayo for a heart-healthy homage to the original Waldorf.

Photo: Weary Chef

Chowder might sound like one of the most unlikely dishes you’d put cottage cheese in, but don’t knock it 'til you try it. Blended along with the milk and cheddar, it makes the soup extra rich without heavier ingredients like cream.

Photo: Healthy Aperture

Cottage cheese replaces the mayo in this lunchtime favorite, making it rich in both calcium and protein. With mustard and dill adding typical egg salad flavors, it tastes like the original, with the nutrition kicked up a notch.

Photo: 40 Aprons

Alfredo-anything is usually code for “artery-clogging,” but this recipe is a welcome exception. Low-fat cottage cheese replaces half the Parmesan, the cream is swapped out for milk, and there’s zero butter in the recipe, but the resulting sauce is so creamy and delicious you’ll want to pour it over everything—not just pasta.

Dessert

Photo: My Zucchini Recipes

Crumbly and light from the cottage cheese, and generously studded with strawberries, this cake is gluten-free baking done right. It’s also super easy to make, requiring just one bowl and no fancy appliances.

Photo: Skinny Fitalicious

This recipe proves that a chocolaty disguise can make cottage cheese palatable even to its more hardcore skeptics. The cookies may look and taste like any other decadent, chewy chocolate treats, but not only do they pack in half a cup of the protein-rich dairy, they also have no sugar in their batter aside from the chocolate chips.

Photo: The Pancake Princess

Healthy, low-sugar cheesecake is no longer an oxymoron when it’s made from cottage cheese and nonfat Greek yogurt. Creamy, rich, and slightly tangy from the lemon zest, it’s everything a cheesecake should be. You won’t even miss the crust.

Photo: A Cedar Spoon

You’d never be able to tell from just looking at these hot pink frozen treats that there’s cottage cheese hiding in them, but it’s the secret ingredient that gives them their ice cream-like texture. It may be a sneaky way to get some extra nutrition into dessert but it’s also pretty genius.

Photo: Earthly Taste

With a chickpea base, dates, and stevia replacing some of the sugar, oat bran for extra fiber; and cottage cheese for some sneaky protein; these bars use every healthier swap in the book and still manage to taste amazing. If good-for-you dessert is this delicious, why even bother with the sugary processed stuff?

Photo: Breakfast Drama Queen

These zesty muffins contain zero butter and only two teaspoons of oil, but you can thank cottage cheese for still keeping them light and spongy. Lightly sweet and bursting with berries, they’d be equally perfect for breakfast or dessert.

Photo: Dashing Dish

If you don’t have the patience to wait for a cheesecake to bake (we don’t blame you), go for this five-minute version instead. With cocoa and protein powder blended with cottage cheese, it’s anything but traditional, but the end result is good enough to even convert cheesecake purists.

Photo: Maria Ushakova

These fluffy treats give you your cheesecake fix in portion-controlled cupcake form. With a cottage cheese base, just a touch of coconut sugar, and walnuts scattered in for a crunchy replacement for a crust, they’re healthier and easier to make than any traditional recipe.

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