Substitutes for Cottage Cheese 

Although cottage cheese is a great food for cooking, snacking, and supplementing a healthy diet, there are times when you might find yourself without any available. When that happens, you need to know what you can use as a substitute for cottage cheese.

 

Plain Eating

Cottage cheese makes a great snack, plain or served with fruit or honey. When what you want is just a bit of creamy dairy, yogurt will make a good replacement. It can be served most of the same ways as cottage cheese, but watch out for the sugar content in flavored yogurts. Kefir is also made from milk, and while it has a runnier texture, it also contains live cultures (probiotics) that contain a long list of health benefits. Ricotta cheese is very similar to cottage cheese, with a smaller curd and sometimes a slightly sweeter flavor. It is often served with fruit. Because it is slightly less runny, it can also be served with bread or crackers. And finally, any hard cheese like cheddar, gouda or Havarti will make an excellent snack. Serve hard cheeses on crackers or French bread with fruit on the side for a well-rounded treat.

To Supplement Protein

If you are eating cottage cheese to increase the protein in your diet, you will need to find other foods that are high in protein. Greek yogurt is the same as regular yogurt but is strained to make it thicker. It is very high in protein, and has a similar consistency to cottage cheese, although without the chunkiness. Egg whites are often recommended to increase protein intake, and can easily be served scrambled or in an omelet. Any type of lean meat will also be a good source of protein, but chicken is generally considered to be a healthy choice.

In cooking

When a recipe calls for cottage cheese, but you find yourself without it (or with half a container that has turned a strange color), you need to find a substitute that you have on hand. If you are baking something that starts as a batter, such as muffins, you could try substituting another dairy product that has a similar texture. Using sour cream or plain greek yogurt is probably a good choice, and a whipped cream cheese, with a little water added to lighten the texture, can work. You should use your judgment as the flavor will usually be stronger.

When you are making a dish that uses cottage cheese as a layer or filling, it is usually some type of pasta or lasagna recipe. Ricotta is often used in these recipes, and it will make the best replacement. If you don’t have any, some recipes will use a béchamel sauce (white sauce), which is made from butter, flour and milk, and creates a thick, creamy layer. A puree of beans or chickpeas spiced with appropriate herbs could also be successful in this situation.

Nutrition

When choosing a substitute for cottage cheese, you will want to know how the nutritional value compares. As a baseline, 1 cup of 2% cottage cheese contains 194 calories, 6 grams of fat (and 2 grams of saturated fat), 8 grams of carbohydrates, and 27 grams of protein.

The same amount of part-skim ricotta cheese contains 339 calories, 19 grams of fat (with 12 grams of saturated fat), 13 grams of carbohydrates, and 28 grams of protein. Ricotta cheese contains about the same amount of protein but contains more calories, carbohydrates, and much more fat.

One cup of plain greek yogurt (traditional, full-fat) contains approximately 217 calories, 13 grams of fat (with 8 grams of saturated fat), 7 grams of carbohydrates and 18 grams of protein. Although greek yogurt contains more calories and fat than cottage cheese, it delivers much less protein.

One cup of cheddar cheese (diced) contains  533 calories, 44 grams of fat (with 25 grams of saturated fat), 4 grams of carbohydrates and 30 grams of protein. Although it provides more protein than the cottage cheese, it has more than twice as many calories and about seven times as much fat!

Fresh egg whites contain, in one cup, about 117 calories, no fat, 2 grams of carbohydrates and 26 grams of protein. They deliver the same amount of protein as cottage cheese with even fewer calories and no fat at all.

One cup of cooked chicken breast meat (diced) delivers 231 calories, 5 grams of fat (with 1 gram of saturated fat), no carbohydrates, and 43 grams of protein. It contains about the same amount of fat as the cottage cheese, but slightly more calories and more protein.

In conclusion, when choosing a substitute for cottage cheese for cooking, ricotta cheese will usually be the best choice. When using it as part of a healthy diet, lean chicken meat and egg whites are probably the best choices.

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