Cheeses as a whole are a fabulous food item. They are all over the world and used in a wide variety of applications and recipes. So when you find a cheese that is versatile among cheeses it deserves to be made a fuss about. Cottage cheese is just that cheese. It’s used as a pizza topping, in baked dishes, in snack dips and as the old nursery rhyme goes eaten as is under the name curds and whey. If you ever need cottage cheese but cannot find it you would probably want a list of viable cottage cheese substitutes. Let’s understand cottage cheese and it’s qualities first.
What is Cottage Cheese?
Cottage cheese is a fresh cheese made from milk curds. It is made by draining the curdled milk which retains some of the whey as compared to cheeses that are pressed which removes the whey. After draining the curds cream is added to the cottage cheese and this gives the moist, creamy texture that we are accustomed to with cottage cheese. The cheese is not aged. Cottage cheese has found popularity with health enthusiasts as it is a lower calorie option than most other cheeses with only 3.38% carbohydrates. It also boasts only 4.3% fat and a healthy 11.12% protein in addition to containing essential nutrients Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium and Zinc. It has a soft creamy texture and slightly salty taste. You will also pick up a hint of bitterness. It is used as a topping, a dip, a mayonnaise substitute and employed in bakes and sauces. So what are the viable substitutes for cottage cheese and how do they stack up?
If you’re looking for a substitute for cottage cheese that will give you the closest match to it then ricotta cheese is the best thing for you. The light fluffy texture of ricotta makes it an excellent replacement in lasagna, cannelloni, and other types of pasta. It can often be found in pizza and calzones and can be used in baked goods such as cakes, doughnuts, and brownies. Use an equal amount of ricotta as the amount of cottage cheese required in the recipe.
Fromage blanc possesses a mild, tangy and sweet flavour that makes it a good flavour substitute for cottage cheese. It is a fresh cheese that originates from the North of France and its name translates to white cheese. Like cottage cheese, it sometimes has cream added to it and this gives it a similar creamy soft texture. Fromage blanc is, however, an extremely perishable cheese and that means it may not be easily available everywhere. Fromage blanc will make a great cottage cheese substitute in desserts and baked goods.
Another very popular replacement for cottage cheese is Greek yoghurt. Greek yoghurt is, in essence, a strained version of regular plain yoghurt which leaves it very thick and creamy. This texture is similar to cottage cheese that has been put through the blender. Like cottage cheese, it is high protein, low calorie and low sugar. You can use Greek yoghurt as a cottage cheese substitute in your dips, and desserts. Yoghurt notoriously does not cook well so you probably shouldn’t use Greek yoghurt as a cottage cheese substitute in anything that involves cooking.
If the reason you are avoiding cottage cheese is because of lactose intolerance then egg whites may be a good cottage cheese substitute for you. They are high protein, containing 56% of the egg’s protein, while also being low calorie. Egg whites also happen to be affordable and easy to find in any part of the world. They do have the limitation of how can use them. If you use your cottage cheese in smoothies you can put egg whites instead. They also work as a pizza topping substitute and can be hard-boiled or poached to be used in snacks or eaten as is.
Another cottage cheese substitute that ranks highly with those who are lactose intolerant is tofu. Tofu is also a great cottage cheese substitute for vegans and vegetarians. The processed soybean product is low in both cholesterol and fat, two things cottage cheese is also low in. To match the texture of cottage cheese you can mash any soft version of tofu and you will get something close to cottage cheese. You can use tofu as a cottage cheese substitute in pasta fillings and baked and as a great topping too.
If the above substitutes don’t cut it for you and you’re looking for something else that is friendly to vegans, vegetarians and the lactose intolerant then hummus should be on your list. Hummus is made from mashed chickpeas and can even be made at home. Hummus can be used as a cottage cheese substitute in pasta fillings, as a dip and as a spread. Both hummus and chickpeas are easy to find and affordable.
If you just want a substitute for a change of flavour or maybe just want something different then cream cheese is a viable substitute. Cream cheese is a fresh cheese made from cream and milk with a complex manufacturing process, to say the least. In terms of taste and texture, cream cheese can be successfully substituted for cottage cheese that has been blended or puréed. It will work well as a cottage cheese substitute spread or in desserts.
Your best bet as a cottage cheese substitute is ricotta cheese. If you’re lactose intolerant, vegetarian or vegan then tofu, hummus and egg whites are viable options. Fromage blanc is a good substitute though hard to find while Greek yoghurt and cream cheese are good in some applications.