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Super Quick Cottage Cheese Salad (High Protein!)

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For a protein-packed light lunch that is healthy, fresh, and full of flavor, look no further than this cottage cheese salad recipe! It’s also ready in just 12 minutes so it’s a great option for a busy day.

Cottage cheese salad served on a white plate which is on a light surface. Next to it there is a glass of water | Hurry The Food Up

This is one of my favorite cottage cheese recipes and one I come back to time and time again. It’s one of those easy recipes that use simple ingredients meaning I can pick them up in most grocery stores and it’s ready in no time.


Take a look at what’s in this awesomely high-protein salad.


Cottage cheese makes the base of this salad. It’s a cheese curd that is a great source of protein for vegetarians (try it in these high protein cottage cheese fritters too).

It’s a great choice for anyone who is interested in healthy eating as it’s low in fat and can take on flavor from most accompaniments.

You can generally find low-fat and super low-fat cottage cheese. I tend to use regular low-fat as it has a little extra flavour and just tastes a bit less ‘dry’.

Salad leaves

Arugala is my choice for the next layer of this masterpiece, also known as rocket, it packs a nice peppery kick which works really well in this easy salad.


I’ve chosen to pair (haha!) the cottage cheese and arugula with slices of pear. They’re sweet and so really complement the umami taste of the cheese.

They also add a lovely contrast in texture as they give a nice bite to the salad.


The best part of this cottage cheese dish is definitely the sumptuous honey and hazelnut glaze. Toasted hazelnuts mixed with honey, olive oil, lemon, and garlic.

Served hot it envelopes the salad like a nice warm hug. Not only does it add amazing flavor it also gives a fantastic crunch.

It’s definitely in my top three salad dressings!

I also love this avocado dressing and my vegan caesar dressing is delicious!

Cottage cheese salad ingredients like cottage cheese, hazelnut, garlic, lemon, olive oil, honey, arugula, bread, pear | Hurry The Food Up

How many calories are in this cottage cheese salad?

This is a well-balanced recipe that has a reasonable 382 calories. This is just the right amount for a main meal on a low calorie diet.

It also has a fantastic 21 grams of protein which is going to do wonders to keep you full between meals.

Here is an overview of the other nutritional data:

kcal 382kcal

Carbs 44g

Fat 16g

Protein 21g

Health benefits

Cottage cheese is definitely my favorite ingredient in this dish (we love cottage cheese – check out these cottage cheese snacks for more!). It is an awesome protein source that is going to do wonders to keep you feeling fuller for longer.

That’s why this is such a great dish if you wanted to lose some weight or build muscle.

If anyone has ever told you that you’ll never build muscle by eating a veggie diet, take a look at this article about building muscle on a vegetarian diet.

It’s packed full of information to show you that it really is possible.

For more weight loss meal ideas, you can try the FREE 7-Day Meal Plan, and if you love it there is a Weekly Weight Loss Plan too!

As well as protein, cottage cheese is also high in calcium and vitamins such as B12 which can help prevent anemia.

The perfect fruit to go with this salad is definitely the pear.

Not only are they highly nutritious, but they are also linked to a lower risk of diabetes, they promote gut health, and have anti-inflammatory properties – they couldn’t be more pear-fect! (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)

Finally, arugula is not only rich in nutrients like beta-carotene and vitamin C, but it has particularly high levels of anti-cancer properties as well. It is also said to help get rid of bad breath when it’s chewed (who knew!).

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How to make the best cottage cheese salad

Time needed: 12 minutes.

  1. Prep time:

    Remove the stalks and skin from the pear and slice thinly. Next, chop the hazelnuts, chop the garlic, and zest the lemon.

  2. Toasting time:

    Heat a small saucepan and toast the chopped hazelnuts with olive oil over medium heat until golden. Next, add the garlic, then the lemon zest, before adding lemon juice, honey, salt, and water, and allow to come to a boil before removing it from the heat.A pot with cooked ingredients for cottage cheese salad | Hurry The Food Up

  3. Construction time:

    Now to put this bad boy together! Dress the plate with a layer of low-fat cottage cheese, lay down that arugula, and top with the pear slices before dressing with the hot hazelnut glaze. Finish with a sprinkling of salt and black pepper – perfection in just 12 minutes!

Cottage cheese salad FAQs

Here are the answers to some of your (cottage) cheesy questions!

How many calories are in cottage cheese?

There are 98 calories in 100 grams of cottage cheese.

How to store cottage cheese salad?

You can store the ingredients for this cottage cheese salad for a few days in the fridge, but I would recommend keeping them all separate and constructing the dish when you’re ready to eat it.

This will help avoid the leaves going soggy, and the pear turning brown and soft as the air hits it.
You could make a bigger batch of the hazelnut dressing and then warm it slightly in a microwave just before serving any leftovers.

What do you serve with cottage cheese salad?

I chose to serve this cottage cheese salad with some fresh bread. It works really well, especially if you need a few carbs with a meal like me!
You could choose a nice crusty roll or some sourdough.

Can I make a cottage cheese salad ahead?

You could make the dressing ahead of time and warm it in the microwave when you’re ready to serve, but I wouldn’t recommend putting the other ingredients together until you’re ready to eat it.

What can you mix with cottage cheese?

Cottage cheese is great in the fact that it can be mixed with a lot of different ingredients due to its plain taste. One idea could be crushed pineapple for a high-protein sweet snack.

You could also mix it with some dashes of tabasco if you wanted to heat it up a little. (If you go a bit overboard mix in some sour cream to bring the spice level back down).

Or even mix it with some chopped English cucumber and cherry tomatoes to make a high-protein side salad, or jacket potato topping, there are loads of options out there!

Does cottage cheese burn belly fat?

According to the Express, experts say that eating more protein could help the long-term reduction of visceral belly fat, therefore cottage cheese could help as it is high in protein.

Is it OK to eat cottage cheese before bed?

Forbes backs the idea that cottage cheese is a great snack to eat before bed as it’s low in carbohydrates and high in protein.

Cottage cheese salad served on a white plate which is on a light surface. Next to it  there is a glass of water | Hurry The Food Up

Recipe variations

  • Different protein: If you don’t want to use plain cottage cheese you may be able to get some that are mixed with pineapple or herbs, so you could use that instead if you prefer, but it may change the final taste of the dish. If you really don’t like cottage cheese, how about mixing it up by using egg salad instead?
  • Different fruit: Experiment with different salad fruit – apple or banana also work well. I’d stick to sweet fruits for this one rather than savoury vegetables.
  • Different salad leaves: Use whichever salad leaves you can get hold of, baby spinach would be a nice alternative.
  • Different topping: If you can’t have hazelnuts you could top it with something simple like sunflower seeds instead.
Bird's-eye view of cottage cheese salad and two pieces of bread served on a white plate which is on a light surface. Next to it, there is a glass of water | Hurry The Food Up

More recipes like this

If you love healthy recipes like this you will love these ones too:

Quick Cottage Cheese Salad
5 from 2 votes
Looking for a super-speedy, tasty high-protein lunch? This cottage cheese and pear salad is ready in just 12 minutes!
Diet: egg-free
Prep Time:7 minutes
Cook Time:5 minutes
Total Time:12 minutes
Servings:2 servings
Author: Abril Macías



  • Cut the pear in half. Remove the core and seeds. Cut into thin slices.
    1 pear
  • Roughly chop hazelnuts.
    3 tbsp hazelnuts
  • Finely chop garlic clove.
    1 clove garlic
  • Grate the zest of the lemon.
    ½ lemon, juiced
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat add the hazelnuts and the olive oil. Cook until they are slightly golden. Add garlic and cook until it begins to brown. Then add the lemon zest, juice of ½ lemon, honey, water and salt to taste. Mix and cook until it boils for about 1 minute. Take off the heat.
    2 tsp olive oil, 1 tbsp honey, ½ tbsp water, Salt to taste
    A pot with cooked ingredients for cottage cheese salad | Hurry The Food Up
  • To serve, spread the cottage cheese on a plate. Top with arugula leaves and sliced pears. Finish drizzling the hazelnuts with the hot dressing over, and sprinkle over salt and black pepper per taste.
    1 cup low fat cottage cheese, 2 oz arugula, Black pepper to taste
  • Serve immediately with a side of bread.
    2 slices wholegrain bread
    Cottage cheese salad served on a white plate which is on a light surface. Next to it there is a glass of water | Hurry The Food Up


Make-ahead? Yes, prep the night before!
Can’t get enough? Try some of our other recipes:


Nutrition Facts
Quick Cottage Cheese Salad
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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I really hope you enjoy trying this great recipe. Whether you need a dish to take to a family reunion or you just want to eat it at home with your own family, it is a fab salad that is super quick and simple to make.

For even more meal inspiration take a look at this collection of 40 Vegetarian High Protein Salads to get you excited!


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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    A beautiful combination of foods. Cottage cheese can be bland but this absolutely wakes it up. Thank you so much. It was quick, easy & absolutely delicious.
    Who would have thought it.
    Thank you all so much.

    1. Awesome! Glad that you enjoyed the recipe that much! To be honest I love it too, each ingredient is great here! 😀