Sheryl Kesey Thompson’s mom always said that if you do something long enough, it’ll come back around. While we’d be happy to say goodbye to Jell-O salads forever, it seems like mom was right when it comes to it. In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s back. “It’s on everyone’s Instagram,” says Thompson, whose family owns and operates Nancy’s Creamery, which makes yoghurts, cottage cheese, and other dairy products with probiotics.
Originally made from whey, the liquid leftover from making cheese, cottage cheese has been around for centuries and has gone through periods of being in and falling out of favour with consumers.
A little history
“Cottage cheese became popular in the United States in the 1940s and 1950s as a health food,” says Jessica Clark, the founder of glutenfreesupper.com. It was promoted as being high in protein and low in calories.” It continued to be popular through the 1970s, and it was in the mid-1970s that Nancy’s began selling cottage cheese. “My parents started the creamery in the 1960s, but in the mid-1970s, an employee, who was an old creamery guy and had made cottage cheese in the past, was interested in making it and taught them how to,” says Thompson.
Although the dairy product fell out of favour with many consumers after the 1970s, Nancy’s has continued to sell a fully probiotic cottage cheese and is now seeing it regain popularity.
Why is cottage cheese cool again? It’s versatile and delicious, for sure, but cottage cheese is making a comeback, thanks to the interest millennials and Gen Zers have for foods with a better-for-you element. It’s low on sugar and carbs but is packed full of protein and calcium. There are newer brands that have updated cottage cheese with hipper packaging and new flavours, from all kinds of fruit-on-the-bottom options to savoury pairings like Kalamata olives. The message is clear: this is not your grandma’s cottage cheese!
Five easy recipes
Ready to start savouring cottage cheese in all kinds of ways? Clark likes to add it to breakfast smoothies, it also works well with avocado toast, and we rate it as a secret ingredient in pancakes. Beyond breakfast, try it in mashed potatoes and enjoy it in these four easy, no-cook recipes.
Creamy edamame dip
Clark likes to use cottage cheese as the base for an easy, healthy dip like our creamy edamame dip.
Sweet and savoury tartines
Using sturdy crackers instead of bread makes for a crisp contrast to the toppings for these tartines. Top with your favourite cheese and a smattering of fruits or vegetables for a satisfying, good-for-you snack.
Late-summer chopped salad
Clark uses this cheese to top salads and grain bowls for extra creaminess—and protein. We love this salad made with cucumbers, apples, and fennel; the crunchy fruit and vegetables are the perfect foil for the cottage cheese, and the cheese makes it substantial enough for lunch.
Forget the canned fruit your grandma would use to top cottage cheese! Fresh is the better move. Here, juicy papaya is filled with a scoop of cottage cheese and finished with a sprinkling of cinnamon.
(Hero Image and Featured Image Credit: Janelle Jones)
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