Mascarpone is a creamy Italian cheese made from creme fraiche and denatured with tartaric acid. After the cheese is denatured, the whey is removed from it. Depending on the brand, buttermilk may be added to the cheese. Mascarpone cheese is used in various pasta dishes, tiramisu and as a substitute for butter to enrich risottos. As for the amount of calories in mascarpone cheese, it depends on the brand you purchase.
Fat-Free Plain Yogurt
If you're making a savoury or sweet dip that calls for mascarpone cheese, you can use fat-free plain yoghurt as a healthier substitute. For example, you can make a blue cheese and avocado dip by combining 2 cups of crumbled blue cheese, one small container of the fat-free yoghurt, one peeled and minced avocado, 1/2 cup of crushed walnuts, 3 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of black pepper and a few crushed basil leaves.
Low-Fat Ricotta Cheese
If your pasta dishes call for mascarpone cheese, you can substitute low-fat ricotta cheese. For example, if you're making a vegetable lasagne and the cheese mixture has mascarpone in it, you can use the ricotta and add to it 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, 2 tsp of black pepper and a few crushed oregano leaves.
Low-Fat Cream Cheese
If you're making a chocolate icing and it calls for mascarpone cheese, you can substitute low-fat cream cheese as a healthier option. In a medium-sized bowl you can combine 1/2 cup of dark cocoa powder, 1 cup of the cream cheese, 3 tsp of milk or double cream and an 227gr. box of confectioner's sugar as well as 1 tsp of vanilla extract.
Reduced-Fat Sour Cream
If you're looking for an alternative to mascarpone cheese when topping your salads or soups, you can use reduced-fat sour cream. If you want to flavour your sour cream topping, you can combine 1 cup of the cream, 2 tsp of chilli powder, 1 tsp each of salt and black pepper and 1 tsp of garlic powder in a small bowl.