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Wonderful Old School Cottage Cheese Salad

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Last Modified: July 13, 2021
Published: July 13, 2021

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A Steakhouse Salad Bar Favorite

This cottage cheese dish was served on the salad bar at a local steakhouse for over sixty years. The establishment opened in 1952, long before the Interstate system connected our country.

Highway 30, the Lincoln Highway, connected east and west in a ribbon strung through "Beef Country." Steakhouses dotted the landscape in those days. This iconic concoction still brings smiles at the mere mention of it.

Grandpa's Steakhouse was a swanky old-school steakhouse. It was the place to go for a celebration for any occasion over a big slab of meat.

Sadly, it closed in 2013, but for many of us who grew up eating dinner at "Grandpa's," we are grateful the recipe somehow got smuggled out while it was still operating.

The savory cottage cheese stuff was so beloved the local newspaper even received a letter from Kearney natives lamenting the steakhouse's closing and their unrequited longing for a good Nebraska steak and cottage cheese salad on a trip back.

After that, the recipe appeared everywhere, including the local community's Facebook page. We were all overjoyed to have it!

Steakhouses And Salad Bars Are Disappearing Across America

Beef prices have increased dramatically over the past few years, putting a lot of pressure on restaurants that traditionally relied on beef, beef, and more beef, a few predictable sides, and a mile-long salad bar.

Once the restaurant businesses' domain, great quality steaks are now available in supermarkets and find their way to the home grill.

We are changing how we eat in many ways and for many reasons. Despite the obesity epidemic, there is more emphasis than ever on eating healthy. There is a greater acceptance of ethnic and "adventurous" dining. The explosion of cooking shows on television has created home chefs who are unafraid of trying new foods and new ways of preparing them.

Last but not least, COVID showed us we could cook at home, eat at home, and enjoy it! Salad bars took a huge hit during the pandemic when fears over food safety forced restaurants to close them.

That's why, right now, it's a perfect time to revisit some of those great old recipes from the bountiful salad bars in the days when steakhouses were king.

Cottage Cheese Salad Won The Hearts Of A Generation

The recipe is simple, and it takes less than ten minutes to make a batch of this crowd-pleasing dish. Is it a salad? Is it a condiment? Is it a baked potato topping? Yes, to all three. I told a group of friends I grew up with that I was making this today, and they all responded with nostalgic enthusiasm.

It seems a lot of them still make it today. One friend said, "We just finished a bowl last night!" Several of them suggested a few of their personal twists on the original. Add some sweet red pepper, or put some dill in it! Stuff it in a hollowed-out cucumber! Serve it with crackers!

When I posted a picture, one new friend thought it was unappetizing. An old friend who grew up on it said it looked "beautiful." I hope you'll give it a try!

Time To Whip Up A Batch And Decide For Yourself

Take a few minutes and whip up a quick batch of this cottage cheese salad! Then you can decide for yourself if thousands of diners for over sixty years were right! It is simply amazing!

Yield: 12 servings

Steakhouse Cottage Cheese Salad

cottage cheese salad

An iconic salad bar favorite from the golden age of steakhouses. Still a favorite today.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 12 ounces of creamed cottage cheese
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp chopped pimento
  • 2 tsp finely chopped chives
  • 2 tsp finely chopped green onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight before serving.

Do you have an old favorite salad bar recipe? Are you looking for one? I've been collecting some; now's the perfect time to try one out! There's a whole season of gatherings coming up!

Here are a couple more of my favorite salads!

Fresh Sweet Corn Salad

Broccoli Slaw

If you liked this old cottage cheese salad recipe, you are my people! So please share this post on your social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest if you enjoyed this recipe today. It would sure tickle me, and I'd be ever so grateful; thank you! 

If you haven't already, please check out my Facebook page and find me on Pinterest, where I'll post easy, delicious, and family-friendly recipes every week!

Love, GB (Betty Streff)

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6 comments on “Wonderful Old School Cottage Cheese Salad”

  1. I'm trying to find a recipe for the boxed Martha Gooch macaroni salad. The Orange Coach in Axtell, NE, always had it on their salad bar. Unfortunately Martha Gooch stopped making the boxed salad. I know it had mayonnaise and a dried mustard....but I can't quite get the rest of the dried ingredients right. I've checked Pinterest and what I've found doesn't quite work either.

    1. I have the recipe for that salad. My Mom used to make the box salad and add tomatoes and shredded cheese.
      Here are the ingredients:
      2 Cups Creamettes Ring Macaroni
      1 Cup Mayonnaise
      1 tsp. Vinegar
      1 tsp. Onion Powder
      1 tsp. Garlic Powder
      1)2 tsp. Tumeric
      1/2 tsp. Dry Mustard
      1 Tbks. Tones Garden Seasoning
      1 tsp. Sugar
      3 Medium Tomatoes, Diced or I use Grape Tomatoes, halved
      1 Cup Mild or Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
      Cook macaroni according to instructions.Rinse macaroni in cold water, and drain.
      Combine mayo, vinegar, onion and garlic powder, tumeric, dry mustard, Tone's Garden Seasoning, and sugar Blend well. Stir into macaroni. Add tomatoes and cheese.
      Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight to allow flavors to blend together.
      This is one of our family favorites. Enjoy!!!

      1. My friend's mom used to make this when I was in high school. The first time, I thought it looked & sounded gross. But she made me taste it. Yummy! She taught me how to make it. She taught me slightly different but your version is the closest I've seen. Yellow onion instead of green onion. No chives. No sour cream. I think I may try it your way next time. I love it on buttered toast or everything bagel. Delicious!

        1. Your comments tickle me! So many people just say yuck without ever trying it! The recipe is great and I love your idea of putting it on toast or a bagel!!

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