My name is Emily, and I am a cottage cheese addict.
So often thought of as the bland diet food of the ’80s, I’m often embarrassed to admit my love for the stuff. It’s got such a bad rap that I get scoffed at by foodie friends and internet-shamed by cottage-cheese haters. But cottage cheese is creamy, rich, salty, delicious, inexpensive, available anywhere you grocery shop, packed with protein and I LOVE IT AND I’M NOT ASHAMED TO ADMIT IT.
My favourite way to eat cottage cheese is in a breakfast bowl with fruit and granola. Instead of using the usual Greek yogurt, top ¾ cup of cottage cheese with your favourite fruit (thawed frozen cherries or raspberries are my go-to, but mango is amazing, as are sliced peaches, blueberries, ripe cantaloupe, you name it…), and half a cup of granola (I’m obsessed with this Chatelaine gingerbread-spice granola).
Why use cottage cheese instead of Greek yogurt?
Greek yogurt gets all the breakfast love for being high in protein, but serving for serving (¾ cup), cottage cheese has 6 more grams of protein. (Greek yogurt has 16g per serving, compared to cottage cheese’s 22g.)
Protein takes the body longer to digest than carbohydrates, thereby keeping you feeling full longer, which can help with achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight and building lean muscle.
Research shows that not only is it important to get enough protein in your diet, but it’s also key to distribute that protein evenly throughout the day, with 30 grams suggested as the optimal protein target at each meal. In a standard North American diet, it’s common to eat meat at lunch and/or dinner, so it’s easy to reach that 30-gram target, but breakfast often consists of mostly carbs (toast, a muffin, or a bowl of cereal … who has time to cook eggs on a weekday morning?). That’s where my friend cottage cheese comes in. That breakfast bowl I mentioned? It packs a satiating 31 grams of high-quality protein. Not only that, but it’s a good source of calcium, which is important for healthy bones and teeth. Plus, you can throw it together in all of 2 minutes.
Some other ways to use cottage cheese
My family regularly wraps homemade crepes around tangy cottage cheese—sometimes mixed with a pinch of cinnamon and a sprinkling of sugar—and fresh berries on lazy weekend mornings. What other filling could stand in with as much satiating substance and creaminess? And an ideal 3 p.m. desk-snack, in my opinion, is sweet pineapple chunks on top of some salty-creamy cottage cheese. Or, top this hero with some cracked black pepper, add a pinch of cumin and a drizzle of olive oil, and never was there a simpler, tastier dip for veggies or flatbread.
So quit with the cottage cheese bashing, and wake up to this uber-delicious and nutritious breakfast bowl (go for full-fat curds for extra unctuousness, and it will make your life).
Originally published April 2018; Updated December 2019.