Ricotta cheese isn’t just for lasagna and cannolis. This smooth, creamy, mild flavored Italian cheese can work it’s way into many dishes with surprisingly flavorful results. From breakfasts, to lunch, to dinner, and even desserts, this cheese can do it all deliciously.
Aside from being delicious, ricotta is also a good source of protein. 1/2 cup of part skim ricotta cheese provides roughly 170 calories and 14 grams of protein. The whole milk ricotta will provide the same amount of protein, but with nearly 50 more calories per serving. Adding the part skim ricotta cheese to your dishes can boost your protein intake and help you reach your protein goal for the day while still keeping your overall calorie intake low enough to encourage weight loss.
Ricotta cheese can be a good source of protein for gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or lap band patients beginning their post op bariatric surgery diet because it’s soft texture naturally makes it nearly a puree consistency. But, ricotta cheese intake doesn’t have to stop after you’ve moved up to solids.
We found 3 surprisingly delicious ways to use ricotta cheese that may make you forget all about cannolis.
Scrambled Eggs with Ricotta
Cook scrambled eggs until almost done. Remove from heat, but continuing cooking in the hot pan until the eggs are set. Add 2 tablespoons of ricotta cheese for each egg. The heat from the pan and the eggs will soften the ricotta cheese to just the right consistency.
This could work for breakfast, lunch, or dinner depending on what you pair it with. Put a fruit salad on the side and breakfast is ready. Top the eggs with chives, add a slice of pumpernickel toast, and a side of red or orange pepper rings and it’s a quick lunch. Or pair it with a baked sweet potato and a green salad with walnuts and apples and it becomes an easy dinner.
Ricotta Cheese Toast with Strawberries
It’s so simple, you don’t even need a recipe. Spread ricotta cheese on a piece of toasted multigrain bread. Top with sliced strawberries. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if you like.
This makes an easy breakfast or a good snack. The strawberries provide a nice sweetness that helps satisfy a sweet tooth.
Watermelon Wedges with Ricotta and Avocado
Cut watermelon into small squares, about 1 inch long and ½ inch high. Use a spoon or melon baller to scoop out a little bit on top. Add a dollop of ricotta cheese into each scoop indent. Dice avocado and add a piece on top of each ricotta dollop. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds (pumpkin seeds or pine nuts could work, too). Garnish with basil if you’re feeling fancy.
These make a good appetizer or snack. It’s a little bit sweet and a little bit savory. By cutting the watermelon into wedges and creating a finger food, they take a little longer to eat than if you used a fork, which makes the experience last a little longer.
The above suggestions are offered by Dr. Shillingford, M.D., P.A., a board certified surgeon specializing in advanced laparoscopic and bariatric surgery. Dr. Shillingford’s gastric sleeve, lap band, and gastric bypass patients come to his Boca Raton office from both South Florida and Northern Florida, as well as Georgia, Texas, Michigan, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii. His weight loss surgery patients are often looking to explore new and different foods and flavor combinations that are consistent with their low calorie, high protein post bariatric surgery diet. Ricotta cheese can easily and deliciously be incorporated to add extra protein in a post gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or lap band diet.