Guest Post, Empowered Sustanance: Dairy Free Cottage Cheese

If you haven’t yet heard, Wednesdays are our Guest Blogger Series day! It’s a day where Matt and I get a bit of a mid-week break while getting to share with you some of our favorite online bloggers.  And for their hard work, they get the benefit of your readership – we encourage you to please show all of them your support by visiting their blog and social media links at the end of this post!

This week (second post in our series of bloggers that make the Paleo Parents feel old) our guest is Lauren from the terrific blog Empowered Sustenance. She shares recipes and information about her own journey, whereby she has successfully treated her ulcerative colitis with nutrition and other techniques. This week, she shares her discovery of dairy-free, coconut milk cottage cheese!

Dairy Free Cottage Cheese


coconut milk cottage cheese

Cottage cheese has never made many appearances in my house. My parents never even bothered introducing my sister and I to the oddly-textured dairy product. I think the only time actual cottage cheese containers have housed themselves in our refrigerator is after raspberry picking. I’ll explain. My grandpa, a weathered and stubborn Dane, cultivates a veritable Eden on his few acres in Washington state. His garden exponentially multiplies everything he grows–a few rows of potatoes somehow yields a hundred pounds, for example. But his raspberry bushes are the most prolific. Every July for as long as I can remember, my parents, sister and I don sun hats, tie buckets to our waist with rope, and prepare for a few hot hours of raspberry picking. After picking–our bellies full of juicy berries and our arms covered in a lacy pattern of scratches from the raspberry bushes–we pack our loot into the empty cottage cheese containers Grandpa provides. He must eat gallons of cottage cheese each year and squirrel away the containers for raspberry season. I must have been nine years old the first time I saw actual cottage cheese, and not simply its empty plastic container. And I was not impressed. After all, what is so appealing about lumpy milk?

coconut milk cottage cheese Coconut milk cottage cheese topped with thawed organic berries from my freezer!

An Unusual Technique for Dairy Free Cottage Cheese

Recently, I was experimenting with my Dairy and Egg Free Strawberry Mousse recipe. I thickened coconut milk with gelatin, omitted the sweetener and strawberry pureé, and let it set. I wondered if I could achieve a fluffier texture by whipping the coconut “jello” with beaters instead of blending it in a food processor. After 20 seconds of blending, I discovered the mixture looked just like cottage cheese. I topped the mixture with thawed blueberries from my freezer and a drizzle of honey. It tasted creamy, luscious, and  rich. The gelatin lends protein and the coconut milk packs healthy fats for a satisfying meal. This faux-cottage cheese is best enjoyed with your choice of toppings–it doesn’t work well in baking/cooking recipes calling for traditional cottage cheese.

Coconut Milk Cottage Cheese

  1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup of the coconut milk.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring the remaining coconut milk to a simmer.
  3. Whisk in the softened gelatin mixture and whisk vigorously until dissolved.
  4. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until set, at least 5 hours.
  5. Using a handheld mixer or standing mixer, blend on medium speed for 20-30 seconds until the texture resembles cottage cheese.
  6. Add a pinch of salt and any desired toppings.

Enjoy! Makes about 2 cups

About Lauren

Lauren is the 19-year-old real food blogger at EmpoweredSustenance.com. After struggling with ulcerative colitis for five years, she decided to dive head first into healing her body with nutrition and a holistic lifestyle. She follows the GAPS diet and enjoys sharing her creative, grain free recipes and healing tools with others. She offers a free, retro-inspired Grain Free Holiday Feast e-cookbook on her blog.

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  • Brilliant. Can’t wait to try this! My toddler LOVES cottage cheese and coconut milk, so this will be a great replacement for the regular stuff. Thanks for sharing!!

    • This is going to be so nourishing for your toddler, too, because of the gelatin and coconut fats. Enjoy!

  • Iris

    I am so intrigued by this recipe. I used to love cottage cheese and really miss it!

  • Michelle

    Yum! Hey, will chia or agar agar also work?

  • This is pure genius!!! Can’t wait to try this for my girls, thank you so much for sharing!!


    • Thank you… I wish I could take credit for being this creative, but it was really more of a mistake that I discovered it 🙂

  • Meghan

    I’ve actually made coconut milk “jello” before, but never though to try this variation. Thanks for the idea! My kids will love this. 🙂

    • I love coconut milk jello, too! I hope your kids enjoy this–I think it is very fun for kids to make, because it is a bit of a science experiment to see how the gelatin thickens the milk.

  • how interesting!

  • lc

    In one comment, you said agar agar (powder) would probably work. Do you by chance know how much agar agar powder I would need instead of the 4 teaspoons of gelatin? Thanks for posting this recipe.

    • She didn’t test it but said it might work, if you figure it out let us know 🙂 Thanks!

      • emalkire

        It’s equal amounts of agar agar powder as gelatin. So a 1 to 1 sub.

  • danielle rouse

    This looks promising! love it! I have missed cottage cheese 🙂

  • Ally

    Can I use Almond Milk?

    • I’m guessing homemade might work, but you want the thick, creamy, full fat coconut milk so the boxed almond milk would have a different consistency

  • Jennifer Rosemann

    Going to have to try this one. My munchkin is a cottage-cheese-a-holic!

  • How much protein does it have per serving

    • As personal bloggers we don’t provide nutritional information, but plugging in ingredients into something like fitday.com should give you what you’re looking for. Thanks!

  • Barb

    Can u bake with this …..

  • To make it vegan, could do you think selba or chai seeds could be used? I may try it with a little pineapple.

    • I think agar agar powder would work well…I’m going to try that at least

    • I am curious about the chia seeds as well! It may be more like chia seed pudding, but would definitely thicken it.

      • Laura

        Flax seeds also might work.

  • J’Marinde Shephard

    Your recommended gelatin is avail on AMZ at the cost of $30.00 for a 2pk of cans AND what about Native Forest Coconut milk? Why must all these ESOTERIC recipes contain such EXPENSIVE ingredients? How about some real basic and INEXPENSIVE recipes with non esoteric ingredients??? It is demoralizing to so often encounter promising recipes only to find they contain unattainable ingredients. THAT IS NO HELP.

    • I can’t speak for our guest, but the two ingredients you mentioned are easily available at any grocery store and would be relatively cheap. What we recommend is always our favorite and what we choose, but there are plenty of other choices out there and you may feel free to choos different frown us!

  • J’Marinde Shephard

    One more thing:
    You say “I discovered the mixture looked just like cottage cheese,” however before even considering the purchase of such expensive ingredients I must ask – – but does it TASTE like cottage cheese?

    • Empowered Sustenance

      While the texture is very similar to cottage cheese, it tastes like coconut milk… which I love! I haven’t found a way to make coconut milk taste like cow milk, though 🙂

    • erin

      i imagine if you added some acid like lemon juice and a little more salt you could get closer to the actual flavor of cottage cheese – i’m going to try it when i make this 🙂

  • steph

    This sounds great! Can you use gelatin from the store?

  • Steve George

    4tsp from a 16oz. can? There’s gotta be a heck of a lot of teaspoons in that can. Doesn’t seem very expensive to me. Thanks for the recipe. Gotta try this one.

  • can you make this with homemade coconut milk?

    • Empowered Sustenance

      Yes, homemade will work well.

  • Mary

    Will boxed coconuts work rather than canned?
    Does it taste like cottage cheese?

    • Empowered Sustenance

      You mean boxed coconut milk? I do not recommend coconut milk in cartons because it usually contains carrageenan, a very harmful ingredient. And while the texture is similar to cottage cheese, it tastes like coconut milk 🙂

  • lranney

    could pectin work as a substitute for gelatin or agar agar??

    • I haven’t found pectin without weird additives so I don’t know.

  • Ally

    Can a yoghurt starter/probiotic powder be added to this to make coconut yoghurt? E.g. from the refridgeration step, add the probiotic powder or a couple of Tbsp of yoghurt – and keep warm for 12 hours?

  • Arletta Sloan

    Thank you for the information. I was doing research for quite some time, this morning, trying to find vegan cottage cheese made without soy. Had no luck until .. actually, it’s after midnight and a new day! Glad I found this.

    I was reading an old diet book that has a lot to do with the way I want to eat, as far as having alternating high/low calorie days; but, there is a lot of cottage cheese involved and I can’t eat any sort of animal milk, except the feta cheese made the traditional way (from the male of one specific breed of goat), and, I can’t have soy.

    Thank you, again.

    • Just to let you know, this recipe isn’t vegan. Gelatin is an animal product, and so is honey. We don’t personally follow a vegan lifestyle because we don’t believe in that lifestyle as our beliefs about health include vital nutrients, proteins and fats from healthy animals, but we don’t want you to eat this mistakenly thinking it is vegan.

      • Alex

        I would like to clarify that no proteins and fats from animals are healthy to the human body, regardless of how the animal was raised. Animal flesh and secretions (both organic/grass-fed and factory-farmed) contain toxins which cause heart disease, diabetes, cancer, tumors, obesity, liver damage, and other health issues. Vegan diets provide all of the healthy nutrients, proteins, and natural fats from plant-based sources–without any of the dangerous toxins or artery-clogging fats. Of course it’s your choice not to be vegan, but it should not have anything to do with nutrition or health. On average, vegans/vegetarians live longer and enjoy an abundance of health benefits from our lifestyle.

  • Kara Zimmer

    Can’t wait to try this! I gave up dairy for real several weeks ago & cottage cheese is a staple from my diet that I miss.

  • Linda D. McFate

    I’m looking at a recipe for Protein Waffles that calls for cottage cheese, and I’m wondering if this would work as a substitute since my husband is dairy-free.

  • Susan Ann

    Wish my husband would have tried this stuff with his ulcerative colitis, it got so bad that he had to have his colon removed 🙁

  • Cindi

    I bet this would be amazing topped with lactofermented berries!