Food Q&A: Ricotta Cheese

Do you have any suggestions for leftover ricotta?

Need ideas for coping with restaurant buffets? Want some good snack ideas? In our Q&A series, nutritionist and food editor Leslie Fink, MS, RD, answers questions about food, nutrition and weight loss.

Q: Do you have any easy suggestions on how to use up leftover part-skim ricotta cheese?

A: Lasagna and cannoli are the first foods that typically come to mind when most people think about using ricotta. An experienced cook knows, however, that its uses go far beyond these Italian specialties. Jodie Shield, MEd, RD, recipe developer and nutrition consultant to The Chicago Tribune, suggests the following options:

  • Mix the ricotta together with a small amount of sugar (or sugar substitute) and cinnamon; use as a spread for bagels or toast.

  • Substitute the ricotta for mayonnaise in your favorite dip recipe or in a creamy dressing for tuna or chicken salad.

  • Buy pasta shells or manicotti tubes; cook, stuff with seasoned ricotta cheese (e.g., with herbs and salt and pepper) and freeze in a container on a layer of tomato sauce for a future microwavable meal.

  • Substitute the ricotta for the cream cheese in a frozen cheesecake or pie recipe.
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