Welcome to Another Ingredient of the Week!This week’s feature is cottage cheese.

Cottage cheese seems to be one of those foods that people either love or love to hate. Personally, I’ve been a fan of a long time because of how versatile it is: you can eat it on its own or add it both sweet and savory dishes. Another plus is that it’s packed with protein. Check out the nutrition stats of my favorite brand:

16 grams—not too shabby, right? It’s a pretty good deal, especially when you consider that a serving has only 90 calories and 1 gram of fat. For someone who gets most of their protein from meat, a dairy product with a silly name  may seem lame, but for others looking for something that packs a little more of a punch than, say, peanut butter, this is a pretty good go-to.

So what is it? Cottage cheese is a curd product with a mild flavor that has been drained and rinsed but not pressed or aged. You can buy cottage cheese in various varieties of milk at, ranging from 4% to 0%, in small or large curd sizes, and in versions with and without salt. However, the no-salt-added varieties (which I tend to prefer) are a little harder to find. While I have not seen any vegan/non-dairy varieties in stores, I have seen others make their own out of tofu.

There are endless ways in which to eat it. Many varieties are great eaten on their own or used as a dip for crackers, fruit, and the like. I’ve been known to add it to toast and English muffins. You can also add it to pastas and other dishes with cream or cheese sauces.

chocolate chip zucchini bread topped with cottage cheese and cinnamon

Some of my favorite dishes to use it in are oatmeal and overnight oats. This chocolate chia oats recipe is a good place to get started. I also love it in carrot cake oats.

Chocolate chia oats topped with roasted figs

Dessert is another great place to use cottage cheese. Epicurious has some really delicious-sounding recipes for cheesecakes, blintzes, pies and more all using cottage cheese. I don’t have any occasions coming up that call for baked goods, but maybe that just means I’ll have to make it happen soon and share.

Do you love or hate cottage cheese? Favorite ways to use it? 

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