This low-fat soft cheese has long been popular in parts of Europe. Made from soured milk, with a light, creamy texture, it can’t be beaten for adding creaminess without lots of calories
1. Honey breakfast treat
Sweeten quark with a little honey and flavour with vanilla extract. Add some blueberries and serve with your favourite no-added-sugar muesli.
2. Luxury soup
Stir a spoonful of quark into your favourite homemade or bought soup to make it extra special. We love it with pea and mint, tomato and basil, and leek and potato.
3. Mushroom spread
Fry some garlic and sliced chestnut mushrooms in a little olive oil with a few sprigs of fresh thyme. Blend with quark and season with plenty of freshly ground pepper. Spread on wholemeal toast or crackers and serve with watercress.
4. Root vegetable gratin
Layer thin slices of parsnip, celeriac and potato in a baking dish. Mix quark with a little semi-skimmed milk and crushed garlic, season, then pour over the vegetables to just cover. Sprinkle with grated reduced-fat mature cheddar and bake until tender.
5. Extra easy white sauce
Mix a 250g tub of quark with 125ml semi-skimmed milk, then season with pepper and heat gently, stirring. Ideal for fish pie, lasagne and pasta bakes – or, for a cheese sauce, just stir in 2tbsp freshly grated parmesan.
Mix together equal quantities of quark and 0% fat Greek yogurt. Add some lemon zest and juice and elderflower cordial, to taste, then spoon over crumbled amaretti biscuits in glasses.
Toss shredded fennel, red cabbage, carrot and apple in a dressing made from quark, lemon juice, wholegrain mustard and sunflower seeds.
8. Herb sauce for fish
Stir creamed horseradish, chopped dill and parsley into quark. Spread over salmon or white fish fillets, then top with breadcrumbs and bake.
9. Skinny dip
Mix some quark with coarsely grated cucumber, garlic, mint and plenty of black pepper for a cooling dip or sauce to serve with curries.
10. Not-so-naughty Eton mess
Thin some quark with a little orange juice and stir in crushed meringue, poached rhubarb and a little orange zest.
What’s so great about quark?
HFG expert and nutrition scientist Bridget Benelam says: ‘Quark, like other dairy products, contains vital nutrients such as protein, B vitamins and calcium. But, unlike dairy products – such as cream, crème fraîche and some yogurts, which are high in calories, fat and saturates – quark contains less than 1% fat and just 74 calories per 100g. It’s also high in protein and vitamin B6, and contains calcium, phosphorus and vitamins B2 and B12. It can be used in cooking and baking, and is a good dairy alternative for sauces, cakes and desserts.’