Quark has become a pretty popular cheese on the web, but its origins date back to the 14th century, and although it’s thought to have originated in Germany, it can be found in many variations around the world, especially European countries.
What’s so special about Quark, and why would you consider trying it as an everyday cheese, or using it for special recipes calling for cream cheese, cottage cheese, or sour cream?
It’s the health benefits of this natural cheese that make it so attractive.
First of all, it has a fraction of the calories of regular cheese. For example, according to FatSecret.com, a cup of regular cream cheese contains 810 calories, while a cup of Quark has only 123.
Its smooth, soft texture is perfect for blending and melting, so think of all the recipes you have that for cream cheese, and try Quark instead. It has a taste similar to sour cream, cream cheese, and some yogurts, and, depending on the country it’s made in, a little like cottage cheese.
Besides being low in calories, it’s high in protein (about 32 grams per cup), and low in sodium and fat. Who wouldn’t want a healthier cheese? The catch with Quark is that it’s a little harder to find in the US, but not impossible. You can actually order Quark from a couple of places: Vermont Creamery, and Elli Quark.
It’s a versatile cheese that you can use as a spread on crackers, in a health shake whipped up in a blender with fruit and honey, or in a main dish such as lasagna.
If you like trying new dishes but dislike going over your daily calorie count, here are 3 quick Quark recipes:
1. Strawberry Banana Quark Smoothie
This recipe is a great way to start your morning, or if you’re just looking for a quick health smoothie to take on the go with you.
- · 1 cup Quark
- · 1 cup strawberries, fresh (they can be replaced with raspberries or blueberries…as you prefer
- · 1 frozen banana, chopped
- · ¾ cup low fat milk
Place ingredients in a blender and blend for approximately 30 seconds until smooth.
2. Avocado Quark Dip
If you’re looking for something new or different to serve guests at your next party, or to just snack on yourself while catching TV with the family, Avocado Quark Dip may be what you’re looking for. It’s a healthy alternative to most other cheese dips. Try serving it with nachos or crackers.
- · 2 avocados
- · 1 cup quark
- · ½ juiced lemon or 1 lime
- · 2 tablespoons onion, chopped
- · ½ teaspoon salt
- · 1 clove garlic
- · 1/2 fresh chili, chopped and seeded
- · 10 chopped cilantro leaves, chopped
1. Cut the avocados in half. Take out the center and spoon the pulp into a small bowl. Mash it with a fork.
2. Stir in lime or lemon juice, salt, onion and herbs of your choice.
3. Cover the bowl with lid or cling wrap, and refrigerate for an hour before serving.
3. Quark and Herb Baked Potatoes
If you’re looking for some comfort food to share with your next good book, movie, or family, Quark and Herb Baked Potatoes may be just the recipe to try.
For the baked potatoes:
1 1/2 lb of your favorite potatoes
5 tbs olive or cooking oil
1 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp salt
10-15 chopped thyme
For the Quark-Dip:
1 1/4 cups Quark
1 tsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 360°F
2. Wash potatoes and halve them.
3. Mix the oil, paprika, curry and salt in a bowl and stir the potatoes in until they are covered with the mixture.
4. Line the potato halves flat-side up on the baking sheet and spread the thyme over them.
5. Bake for approximately 50 minutes.
1. Remove the shell from the garlic and crush with a knife or slice into small pieces.
2. Mix the quark, lemon juice, and garlic in a bowl, and add desired amount of salt and pepper.
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