Nutrition is as much of a trend as it is a necessity.
Let’s face it, we’re all looking for the latest quick fix when it comes to staying healthy and looking our best.
For example, few people can deny that yogurt is a smart food choice and, these days, Greek yogurt is really all the rage.
But what if there’s something that’s even better than Greek yogurt?
What if there’s a product out there that is similar in several ways but which has many more health benefits?
What is yogurt?
Yogurt is made from curdled milk (not soured milk) by adding healthy bacteria. It has a creamy consistency and is available in a range of flavors like strawberry, lime, coconut, chocolate, vanilla, and coffee, to name a few.
Check out these benefits of yogurt:
- Rich in protein
- Nutrient rich (calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B12)
- Probiotic (good for gut health)
- Strengthens immune system
- May help with weight loss
- May protect against osteoporosis
Yogurt’s competition: Quark cheese
You may just now be learning about yogurt’s biggest competition (even though it may be on the same shelf in the grocery store!).
This dairy product from northern Europe is packaged and looks like Greek yogurt, but it’s actually cheese (that you can eat with a spoon!).
Quark is produced by curdling the milk and then separating the curds (the solids) from the whey (the liquid). The curds are then drained and pressed into a smooth texture that, in the end, resembles a thick yogurt.
Similarities aside, when you take a closer look at Quark, it really is in a league of its own.
To begin, the benefits of Quark far surpass yogurt:
- It has more than double the protein than yogurt (Quark has 14 grams of protein per 100 g compared to yogurt’s 5 g per 100 g)
- It’s rich in nutrients (calcium, phosphorus, vitamins B2, B6, B12)
- It’s lower in cholesterol than yogurt
- It’s lower in sugar than yogurt (Quark has 3.5 g per 100 g compared to yogurt’s 5.4 g per 100 g)
- It’s lower in salt than yogurt (Quark has 40 mg per 100 grams compared to yogurt’s 70 mg per 100 grams)
- It’s lower in lactose than yogurt (low FODMAP which is good for gut health)
- It strengthens the immune system
- It may help with weight loss
- It may protect against osteoporosis
But what about the taste test?
It’s not enough to know the nutritional profile of a product. You won’t be sold until you actually try it—and like it.
The tangy taste of yogurt is something that you need to get used to.
On the flip side, Quark is tang-free!
Instead, the flavor is smooth, and perfect for anyone who doesn’t appreciate the tartness of yogurt. Because of its mellow taste, it’s an instant hit with both kids and adults.
What’s more, you can dress it up with all kinds of added flavors, from honey to nuts to fresh fruit.
Availability of yogurt and Quark
There’s no question that yogurt is readily available in cities large and small, at general groceries stores and specialty stores (even farmers’ markets). In the larger shops you can always find a wide variety of brands, flavors and price; in other words, there’s something for everyone.
At the moment, we can’t say the same about Quark.
Quark isn’t popular enough (yet) to demand a huge presence. If it happens to be stocked in a mainstream supermarket, expect there to be only a few containers and varieties of Quark.
If you can get to a natural food store, like Whole Foods, you’ll probably luck out, but your choices will be limited. One of the most popular brands to look out for is Elli Quark.
That being said, if you really want to buy some Quark, there are plenty of online shops that sell it.
For what it’s worth, Quark is a hot commodity in parts of Europe. We’re willing to bet that as soon as word gets out about its overall awesomeness, it will be readily available and flying off the shelves.
The good news is that Quark is super easy to make!
And when you make it at home, like with most recipes, you know exactly what goes into it—no added salt and no added sugars.
Versatility of yogurt and Quark
Using yogurt as a healthy alternative to dairy, eggs and oil is nothing new. It’s a smart way to cut down on calories and increase the nutritional value of a homemade dish.
Both are quite versatile, but you’d be surprised about how easy it is to incorporate Quark cheese into your culinary repertoire.
Cooking with yogurt
There are a few things to know when cooking with yogurt.
For example, be aware that yogurt can separate if it’s stirred too much or too quickly, or heated too quickly.
Also, steer clear of aluminum foil pans or dishes because when the acid in the yogurt interacts with the aluminum there’s a chance the foil will breakdown or change to a less attractive color.
Use yogurt when making:
- Egg dishes
- Fruit dishes
- Toppings for salads and soups
Cooking with Quark
Like yogurt, Quark can be used in sweet and savory dishes and is a great substitute for heavier cheese, like mascarpone. And also like yogurt, it breaks down if it’s stirred or heated too quickly.
What makes it more versatile than yogurt is its smooth taste.
For example, you probably wouldn’t use tangy yogurt as a ricotta cheese substitute when making lasagna, but Quark cheese would work just fine.
It’s suitable for a wider range of recipes with the added bonus that the dishes will remain rich in flavor, but have significantly fewer calories and a much higher protein content.
If you have any doubts, check out any of the many recipes for Quark cheesecake. We promise you won’t be disappointed!
You can use Quark when making all of the same yogurt dishes plus:
- Topping for crackers or toast (instead of cream cheese)
- Stuffing for chicken
- Spread for sandwiches
- Topping for baked potatoes (instead of sour cream)
- Toppings or stuffing for pasta (instead of ricotta cheese)
Subtle yet strong competition
It’s easy to see why Quark and yogurt are pitched against each other.
Quark is also often compared to cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream and fromage frais, but when it comes to healthy eating, it really doesn’t compare to anything.
Quark and yogurt are produced and marketed in a similar fashion and they have a very similar creamy texture. The difference lies in the taste and, most notably, the nutritional profile.
It’s also worth noting that Quark can be used in many creative ways outside the kitchen!
This superfood has a slew of interesting healing properties, from sports injuries to bug bites, and it can be used as a moisturizer, in a face mask, and on a sunburn.
There’s no shortage of unique ways to use Quark.
Certainly, we can’t argue with personal taste. However, it’s no secret that the zesty bite of yogurt isn’t for everyone.
Quark, on the other hand, has a low-key flavor that pleases people of all ages.
Considering its subtle taste and its high nutritional value, Quark is on its way to becoming the most popular spoonable cheese you’ve never heard of before!