Our Favorite No-Fuss Lunches All Have This Ingredient in Common

Can you guess what it is?

August 16, 2019
Photo by Ty Mecham. Food Stylist: Samantha Seneviratne. Prop Stylist: Sophie Strangio.

We've partnered with Hood Cottage Cheese to share a few of our favorite ways you can use their creamy cottage cheese to make a light, easy-to-prepare lunch that's still satisfying and never boring.

Lunch can be a tricky thing.

You want something that's filling enough to keep those mid-day snack attacks at bay, but not so filling that clearing your plate makes you want to take a post-meal siesta right at your desk. There's also that careful balance of meal-prepping a week's worth of lunches for the sake of convenience—say, five portions of grilled chicken thighs over sautéed vegetables and rice—without getting bored of eating the same thing over and over and over again.

But, if there's anything the team at Food52 has mastered it's the art of creating a fantastically delicious lunch.

All of these lunches have a few things in common: they don't call on a ton of ingredients, they require very little time or effort to make, and they combine fridge staples with a few seasonal ingredients for a fresh kick. Oh, and they all have cottage cheese.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I used to think I was weird for making cottage cheese sandwiches, but after seeing the main picture of this article I think I’m in the clear. ”
— zaqary

Turns out, our team is a big fan of cottage cheese not only for its versatility (you can take it in pretty much any flavor direction you like), but also for its creamy texture, and because it packs a nutritional punch.

From a mayo-less egg salad that makes the perfect sandwich spread to a vegetarian lasagna that gets its richness without help from classic ricotta, these staff-approved ideas all call on cottage cheese for extra flavor and ease. Best of all, they're hearty without being too heavy—the key to any good lunch.

Our 13 Favorite Simple & Satisfying Lunches Starring Cottage Cheese

Photo by Ty Mecham. Food Stylist: Samantha Seneviratne. Prop Stylist: Sophie Strangio.

I've always been a fan of eating a fully loaded sandwich for lunch and try to get creative with different combos. One of my all-time favorites calls for multi-grain bread, cottage cheese seasoned with salt, pepper, chopped basil, and a pinch of garlic, plus sliced heirloom tomatoes, Swiss cheese, and couple of pickles for tang. —me!

"I love to pack a creamy ratatouille bowl for lunch because it's super simple to make ahead and very tasty. I'll roast eggplant, tomato, and squash in a big batch and serve them at room temperature on top of cottage cheese. —Emma Laperruque, food writer & recipe developer

"During the warmer months, I bring a make-ahead pasta salad that swaps cottage cheese for mayo (to make it a bit lighter) at least once a week for lunch. I'll also toss in chopped tomato, fresh basil, cucumber, and maybe some pine nuts for crunch." —Ashley Hutchison, account manager

"I had a friend in high school named Natalie who swore by cottage cheese topped simply with a pinch of flaky salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and a dash of Lawry's. It makes for a great lunch side, along with a sandwich or salad." —Ella Quittner, lifestyle writer

"I like to stuff pita pockets with cottage cheese, cucumber, mint, dill, garlic, lemon juice, and chickpeas. It's sort of like a tzatziki spread, but with cottage cheese instead for an extra kick of protein." —Grace Montgomery, brand strategy director


"I love making vegetarian lasagnas in a loaf pan (it's a much smaller portion size than most recipes, plus those no-cook noodles fit perfectly). And instead of ricotta, I use cottage cheese which lightens everything up. Veggies would be zucchini, spinach, stuff like that." —Eric Kim, senior editor

"My famous zero-pot lunch recipe is cottage cheese with chives, capers, a box of Triscuits, and Essential Craftsman YouTube videos." —Cody Kestigian, data scientist

"When it starts to get hot outside, I always bring a salad with lettuce, leftover grilled zucchini and corn, tomatoes, pepita seeds, cottage cheese sprinkled with salt and pepper, and a simple vinaigrette to work. It's so easy to pull together and super refreshing." —Rebekah Daniels, account manager

"I sometimes mix cottage cheese with chopped boiled eggs, dill, Dijon mustard, and salt for a mayo-less egg salad—it goes great with seedy whole-grain bread." —Brinda Ayer, books & special projects editor

"I really am a pure Ritz cracker + plain cottage cheese guy, does that count?" —Patrick Moynihan, senior social media manager

"I like to bring out the savory side of cottage cheese by incorporating it in a colorful salad. Think: little gem lettuce, pickled carrots, pepitas, and a scoop of cottage cheese. I make sure to dress the cottage cheese with plenty of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to make it the star." —Mollie Doherty, account manager

"I top my socca—a type of chickpea flour flatbread—with cottage cheese and seasonal stuff like radishes, watercress, and pesto." —Arati Menon, senior editor

"One of my lunch go-tos is an orzo salad with mint, olives, diced-up salami, and cottage cheese instead of feta." —Lizzie Greene, sales director

What's your favorite light and easy lunch? Tell us in the comments below!

In partnership with Hood Cottage Cheese, we're sharing our team's favorite lunch-ready ideas made even tastier (and easier, too!) with cottage cheese—from a supremely satisfying multi-grain sandwich with all the fixings to a light and creamy riff on classic ratatouille. But no matter what you decide to pack in your lunch box, Hood Cottage Cheese always makes a delicious, wholesome addition. And as a bonus: it's packed with a hearty serving of protein to make sure you don't get hit with an afternoon snack attack.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Erin Alexander

Written by: Erin Alexander

Erin Alexander is the Managing Editor of Food52.

1 Comment

zaqary August 16, 2019
I used to think I was weird for making cottage cheese sandwiches, but after seeing the main picture of this article I think I’m in the clear.