14 Things to Do with Greek Yogurt

I realized this morning that I've mentioned Greek yogurt not once, not twice, but three times in recent posts on the Epi-Log. So it must be pretty obvious at this point that I'm obsessed with the stuff. But here's why: If you're trying to cut a few calories, nonfat plain Greek yogurt can stand in for mayo, sour cream, buttermilk, whipped cream, or whole milk, depending on the recipe. It's so thick and rich, you'd never know that it was fat-free.

And plus, it's just plain delicious. Here are some of the ways I like to use it:

Dips and sauces:

-In my somewhat low-fat and really low-fat salad dressings.

-As a dip for steamed artichoke leaves and hearts: Mix with lemon juice, thinly sliced fresh basil, salt, and pepper. My brother taught me this one--much healthier than the melted butter I used to use!

-As a dip/sauce for grilled chicken, shrimp, or lamb: Mix with prepared white horseradish, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

-This isn't completely nonfat, but my mom's a big fan of using lowfat plain yogurt in place of sour cream on baked potatoes. (Or try the sauce above on baked potatoes--the horseradish adds a nice kick.)

-As a sauce for grilled salmon: Mix with chopped fresh dill, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

-Tzatziki, the classic Greek dip that's great with bread, veggies, on cooked meats, whatever: Mix with chopped cukes, a little minced garlic, a touch of lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

-Raita, the creamy sauce that cools off spicy Indian curries: Same as above, except replace the lemon juice with chopped fresh mint and a little ground cumin.

-As a marinade for chicken (this is cheating slightly, as you have to use full- or low-fat yogurt, but it's so delicious I had to include it): Mix with the spices of your choice and rub on a whole chicken before roasting it or use to marinate chicken chunks before skewering and grilling them. (The enzymes in the yogurt help tenderize the meat, and the fat adds moisture.)

In place of other ingredients:

-In place of mayo in tuna or chicken salad.

-In place of buttermilk in pancakes (thin with a little skim milk first). Supermarket buttermilk is somewhat low-fat, so this doesn't reduce the calories too much, but I personally find buttermilk hard to keep--I use a little bit and then the rest of the carton goes bad in the fridge. Yogurt lasts much longer, plus I use it more often.

-In quickbreads and muffins, in place of whole milk. But this is one case where it's best to use a recipe--yogurt is more acidic than milk, which can affect the action of the baking powder and lead to a dense loaf. If you were adapting a recipe, you might need to sub baking soda for some of the baking powder, but the formula can get tricky, so I recommend just going with a recipe already designed to work with yogurt. I like this cranberry-pecan bread and these raspberry corn muffins.

As a snack/dessert:

-With blueberries and maple syrup. My friend Lexi Dwyer taught me this recipe, which I think she learned from a class at The Insistute for Culinary Education: Toss blueberries with enough maple syrup to coat and let them sit for a little whilte (the longer they sit, the more flavorful they'll get). Top with plain yogurt and sprinkle with cinnamon.

-A lowfat version of a Scottish dessert called cranachan (which is usually made with whipped cream): Toast steel-cut oats at 300 degrees on a baking tray, stirring occasionally, until brown. Stir honey and several tablespoons single-malt Scotch into the yogurt. Layer the yogurt in a glass with fresh raspberrries, then sprinkle with the toasted oatmeal.

-And of course, the classic: Drizzled with high-quality honey and sprinkled with walnuts or hazelnuts.

Anyone have more ways to suggest?

by Sarah Kagan


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