Maybe it’s the fault of all those little plastic-wrapped cottage cheese and canned-fruit “salads” languishing on cooler shelves in cafeterias and delis — but we tend to dismiss cottage cheese as one-dimensional and dowdy.
We don’t realize there’s plenty of potential in a carton of cottage cheese. If there’s cottage cheese in your fridge, you’ve got a start on breakfast, lunch or even dinner — and an inexpensive start, at that. With food prices soaring, it’s an economical way to add protein to a meal without adding a lot of fat.
You can use it as a sauce for pasta, or you can stir it into a casserole or quiche. Drained briefly in a strainer, cottage cheese can be substituted for ricotta in many recipes; with longer draining, it can replace farmer’s cheese. I usually choose small-curd, which has a little more acidity than large-curd, for cooking.
ITALIAN FLAG COTTAGE CHEESE SALAD
Serves 4 16 ounces small-curd cottage cheese 1 medium red bell pepper, diced 6 medium green onions (white and most of green parts), sliced 4 tablespoons buttermilk Salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste 6 large basil leaves
Nutritional analysis per serving: 123 calories, 2 grams fat, 8 grams carbohydrates, 17 grams protein, 10 milligrams cholesterol, 481 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber, 18 percent of calories from fat.