Food

Ricotta Breakfast Bowl

Ricotta Breakfast Bowl

Everyone can agree on the immediate deliciousness of ricotta in pasta and on toast. But have you tried a scoop of ricotta for breakfast? It tastes like yogurt’s cool older cousin. So, to kick off a month of cheese (!), we’re excited to share this easy morning meal from Heidi Swanson’s cookbook, Near and Far. Here’s how to toss it together…

Ricotta Breakfast Bowl
By Heidi Swanson’s Near and Far

I’ve received many notes from the Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, kitchen of my childhood friend Nikki Graham. They’re typically short and often sum up something she’s cooked for herself (or her family of six). I look forward to her ideas, because they’re off-the-cuff and unfussy and often put ingredients together in a way I might not have thought about. This ricotta breakfast bowl is an example — substantial and a nice alternative to yogurt. We both use the best quality whole milk ricotta we can find. Putting this bowl together is all about personal preference, so if you’d like more nutty crunch, go heavy on the almonds.

Recipe: Ricotta Breakfast Bowl
Serves 1

You’ll need:

1/2 banana, sliced
1/3 cup good ricotta (whole milk recommended)
Fine-grain sea salt
Drizzle of honey or chunk of honeycomb
Sprinkling of toasted sliced almonds
Dried fruit (golden raisins, sliced dates or figs)

Arrange the banana slices to the side of the bowl. Season the ricotta with a bit of salt to your liking. Add the ricotta to the other side of the bowl. Top with a drizzle of honey (or a chunk of honeycomb if you can get your hands on it), almonds and dried fruit.

Note: For a savory version, drizzle the ricotta with good olive oil and sprinkle generously with a mixture made from 1/3 cup toasted almond slices ground in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt, a small garlic clove and eight whole coriander seeds.

Thank you so much, Heidi. Your cookbook is beautiful.

P.S. More recipes, including a breakfast party board, and an heirloom tomato and ricotta tart.

(Reprinted with permission from Near & Far by Heidi Swanson, copyright © 2015. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photography credit: Heidi Swanson © 2015. Thanks to Stella Blackmon for helping with this series.)

  1. Really delicious and a new favorite at my house. Yum!

  2. Hannah D. says...

    a month of cheese!!!!! looks like this will be the best month!!!!

  3. Nicole says...

    As a little girl, my dad would make me a scoop of ricotta, sprinkled with sugar and topped with berries or chocolate chips for dessert. So good.

  4. My favorite breakfast is ricotta drizzled with honey, but I never thought about adding in nuts or fruit. Thanks for the (obvious, right? :) ) suggestion!

  5. Shawnee says...

    Yum! This reminds me of a breakfast I ate often last year when I nannied for a Ukranian/Russian family in the Bay Area. Their grandmother would make a homemade cottage cheese and we’d mix in plain yogurt, sometimes adding either jam (rose preserve was my favorite) or a little honey. I miss it!

  6. Yes! Love it. I’m not a fan of honey, so add ginger syrup instead.
    I also enjoy ricotta with a drizzle of olive oil, tomatoes, cucumbers and olives and a good amount of salt.

  7. I love having cheese for breakfast with fruits or jams so will try this recipe !

  8. I suggest ricotta with balsamic vinegar reduction as an appetizer. Very good with caramelized onions too.

  9. Yes! Love that this one fits within my eating parameters (personally and professionally). Simple, real, whole, primal food. Full fat – not diluted.

    I don’t eat breakfast myself (other than a high-fat bulletproof coffee or tea), but this has the makings of part of my lunch very soon, for sure. MMM.

    • P.S. Love having a savory version. I don’t do much fruit or sweetener these days – for me, dairy IS a sweet (though I absolutely add dark chocolate to it after dinner!).

    • Erin says...

      Before I found out I couldn’t have dairy (waaaah, casein sensitivity!), and used to eat primally, I loved having ricotta for breakfast with blueberries or a few nectarine slices and a little vanilla. Low sugar and so yummy.

  10. We love this idea!! Month of cheese is the best. As a small cheese shop owner in Brooklyn every day is a cheese day. Savory or sweet ricotta bowls are the best …satiating and a great way to start the day

    • Oh, gosh, Agatha. Your shop and cheeses look spectacular.

  11. Katie says...

    Love this idea! I eat a ton of ricotta… most commonly on toast, but I also love a bowl of blueberries topped with a scoop of ricotta and drizzled with honey. If you can’t get super amazing fresh ricotta, my favorite supermarket ricotta is the one from Trader Joe’s. I go there just for ricotta sometimes…

    • Dana says...

      Thank you for your recommendation, Katie. I don’t like ricotta, but I also know it’s because I’ve only ever used the cheap supermarket variety. I’m unsure of where to find the nice stuff. I’ll try TJs!

  12. Libbynan says...

    This sounds just too good to be believed. I can’t wait to try it.

  13. Kathleen says...

    Delish! Ricotta with fresh sliced figs, a few pistachios and a drizzle of pure maple syrup is my fav.

  14. YUM!!!

  15. Gretchen says...

    Heads up to all Austin-based readers! Antonelli’s Cheese Shop has the MOST amazing fresh ricotta. It’ll blow your mind.

    • GFY says...

      A friend convinced me to retry good ricotta, which I’d otherwise never understood because I’d only had grainy watery tasteless supermarket brands. Hers was from Cowgirl Creamery and it was, as they say, a revelation. What a difference quality makes.

  16. I love the idea of this as I have Kite Hill’s almond milk-based, dairy-free ricotta sitting in the fridge waiting for a creative purpose. For a convenient vegan option, it’s delicious!

    I’m planning on topping it with crushed Turkish pistachios, rose petal gomasio (roasted sesame seeds with sea salt), and a drizzle of Tiptree honey! I love the floral notes of that honey with rose.

    • Pamela says...

      Whoa!

  17. Trisha says...

    SO STOKED FOR A MONTH OF CHEESE!!!!!!!!

  18. Jill says...

    Anyone have luck doing this with part-skim ricotta? Is it just not worth it? I’m on Weight Watchers and the whole milk is too high in points (sob).

    • GFY says...

      Do the vegan version Almila Kakinc-Dodd mentions above!

  19. Maire says...

    Made a delicious brunch appetizer this weekend. Mixed honey, cinnamon and salt with whole milk ricotta, then spread on wasa crackers and topped with sliced apricots. This would be delicious with any stone fruit and a fried sage leaf topping for bonus points!

    I later went a savory route and spread ricotta on the wasa, sprinkled with salt and pepper and then topped with arugula and sliced cocktail tomatoes.

  20. Kaitlin Wainwright says...

    This is literally what I’ve been eating for breakfast this week, but with roasted peaches with Chinese five-spice (more zing than cardamom) and toasted oats.

    Recipe for the peaches/oats over here from my friend Tara: http://sevenspoons.net/blog/2013/8/5/strongly-considering

  21. liz says...

    Ricotta with cinnamon on rice cakes!

  22. Alex says...

    For any vegan / plant based readers – I’ve had great success with cashew based ‘ricotta’. I think its better than the soy stuff you can buy at the grocery store. Super easy to make – soak cashews for 2 hours in water, drain, and then blend with fresh lemon juice. If you put it in the fridge for an hour or two before eating it will stiffen up a bit. And you can add any spices or seasoning you like.

  23. Cheryl says...

    I had a simple yet amazing ricotta appetizer at the delightful Ai Tre Scalini wine bar in Rome’s Monti neighborhood. It was a generous scoop of homemade ricotta, surrounded by a ring of arugula, served with a small dish of truffle honey. Scoop the ricotta onto Italian bread or crostini and drizzle with a bit of honey. Fantastico!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, alex and i just went there on our trip! it was so lovely, full of neighborhood locals. we didn’t get the appetizer, it sounds so delicious!!

  24. Hayley says...

    Heidi is pure magic! Our family lives off of recipes from 101 Cookbooks and Super Natural Everyday. Somehow she always manages to combine a few ingredients to create a dish that’s delicious, complex, and simple to put together. So happy to see her featured here, and this looks delicious!

  25. Yum this looks great!

  26. Is this a regional thing, by any chance? I associate ricotta with lasagna, but I grew up eating cottage cheese with fruit as a snack. I don’t think I’ve ever had good ricotta, so now I’m curious.

  27. I’ve seen recipes for making your own ricotta but have, so far, been intimidated. Anyone ever try it?

    • YES it is magical and amazing. I used Deb’s recipe from A Smitten Kitchen; look it up. It will change your life. I haven’t made it in a while – my childhood lactose intolerance has reared its ugly head again now that I’m nearing 40 – but I would risk discomfort for it! Every time I make it I think, oh my god I’ve messed it up. It couldn’t possibly come together. AND YET every time it does. It’s the closest to a wizard I will ever be.

    • Joy says...

      it soooo easy and so delicious! i use the barefoot contessa’s recipe. the process takes minutes of active preparation, and then you just have to strain it with cheesecloth. it’s so worth it!!

    • Deb says...

      Sorry to be the voice of dissent- I made it also using Deb’s recipe- and wondered why I’d bothered. I’m definitely in the minority though!

    • I’ve done it lots. It’s super easy and really good. Keep in mind that it takes a lot of milk to yield a reasonable amount of ricotta so it’s not always cost effective. I got into making it because my local grocery store would clearance gallons of organic milk when they were about to expire- making it a great deal. One thing to keep in mind is that a lot of milk is Ultra-Pasteurized. It won’t separate into curds because it’s too over processed. Pasteurized is fine but the ultra will have you sweating over a pot of cooked milk with nothing to show.

  28. Sarah says...

    A month of cheese! Hooray!

  29. A MONTH of CHEESE?!???!??!?!?! It’s like all of my dreams are coming true…

  30. Judy says...

    If I can recommend another version:
    Add a small dash of vanilla and a squeeze of honey and add sliced strawberries, or any in-season berry. It tastes like a bowl of rich ice cream. Amazing.

    • Lea says...

      Oohh that sounds amazing as well!

  31. Gen says...

    Omg I just had the most amazing ricotta gelato at Pinolo in Portland, OR. It’s seasonal so run over there if you’re local! (Joanna, it’s a few blocks from Ava Gene’s which I recall you enjoyed when you visited).

    This is a delicious idea, thanks!

  32. Eileen Radostits says...

    I love all of Heidi’s food combinations and love tweaking them to match what things are in season!

  33. Emma says...

    Yes! I am ALWAYS looking for high fat/protein low carb breakfast ideas. Why didn’t I think of this? Cheese!

  34. kelli says...

    this sounds amazing! can’t wait to try it!