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Two Secret Ingredients Make This Creamy Pasta a Protein Powerhouse

Nutritional Info

67 grams
10 grams
30 grams
7 grams

Note: These values represent one serving out of four.

Cottage cheese recipes are having a moment, particularly within the fitness community. You can’t open TikTok without seeing some new take on turning cottage cheese into a high-protein backbone for creamy dishes. And that’s for good reason, says John Christie, registered dietitian and Tonal’s Director of Curriculum.  

“Not only is cottage cheese a complete protein containing all the essential amino acids necessary for muscle building, it’s rich in slower-digesting casein, which provides a more stable, steady supply of amino acids to preserve and build muscle in between training,” he explains. “Additionally, one serving of cottage cheese will generally provide over 30 percent of your daily needs of selenium, a great antioxidant that can reduce the destructive effects of training and stress.”

Cottage cheese is basically curds and cream. It’s a fresh cheese that’s mild-flavored and more versatile than you might think. Gone are the days of cottage cheese and grapefruit, a diet meal that seemed anything but appetizing. Many people are turned off by the texture of cottage cheese thanks to the curds, but don’t let that hold you back. Throw it in the blender to end up with a lump-free, creamy base that can amp up the protein in a variety of dishes, including this delicious High-Protein Creamy Pasta with Vegetables.

Here, cottage cheese is blended with silken tofu, another protein powerhouse, to deliver a pasta sauce that is ridiculously rich, thick, and creamy–without added fat and calories.

By blending them with copious handfuls of fresh herbs, including parsley, chives, and tarragon,  they’re virtually undetectable and all anyone will notice is the luscious taste. 

Sweet tomatoes and squash lighten up this indulgent meal, but you can also use any grilled vegetables, like corn, eggplant, or peppers, to vary the flavor profile.

Finally, serve it up over chickpea pasta, which offers additional benefits. 

“By swapping traditional pasta with chickpea pasta, you’re going to comparatively increase protein and fiber to this meal,” Christie says. “Higher protein translates to greater recovery potential from training. When coupled with the higher fiber content, there’s a comparatively significant boosted satiety effect, as well as improved blood glucose and lipid management.”

High-Protein Creamy Pasta with Vegetables Recipe

4 to 6
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 mins



Preheat a grill (gas, charcoal, or wood) to medium heat, about 400 degrees F. If using a vegetable grilling basket or tray, place on the grill to preheat as well.

Slice the zucchini into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. If the zucchini is particularly large, cut the rounds into half-moons if desired.

Toss the zucchini and tomatoes with the olive oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper.

Grill the tomatoes for 5-7 minutes, until the skins start to char and split slightly. Grill the zucchini for 10-15 minutes.

Set the grilled vegetables aside while you make the pasta and sauce.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon kosher salt.

Add the pasta and cook according to package directions.

Add the cottage cheese, tofu, parsley, tarragon, chives, garlic, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to a food processor or high-speed blender.

Blend, scraping down the sides of the food processor or using the blender tamper as necessary, until the sauce is smooth and creamy.

Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.

When the pasta is al dente (still slightly firm), drain, reserving about 1/4 cup pasta water.

Toss the pasta and grilled vegetables with the sauce, adding a few splashes of pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce to your desired consistency.

Serve immediately.


Store any leftover sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can use it on another pasta dish or repurpose it as a dip or sandwich spread.