I couldn’t live without yogurt. It’s my go-to breakfast and snack, convenient protein source, and low-fat lunch. I add it to a cake batter to moisten it, add it to muffin batter to bump the protein and extend the shelf life, and I’ve drained it and used it in savory dips and spreads.
I often mix 3 tablespoons per cup with milk to substitute for buttermilk in pancakes, waffles, and biscuits. I love full-fat yogurt, but I generally reserved that for an occasional treat, sticking instead with a part-skim version for general use.
A couple of weeks ago I picked up a couple of containers of Greek yogurt to try. I’d heard enough about it but I had never really had any use for it, since what I had been doing had been working just fine. But with one mouthful, I was utterly hooked, and I don’t know why someone didn’t tell me about it sooner.
For those unfamiliar with it, Greek yogurt is regular cow’s milk yogurt that has been drained of excess moisture, leaving a thicker, creamier, and more flavorful product. Even the non-fat version is unbelievably rich and satisfying, to the point that I may never buy whole-fat yogurt again; there’s just no point.
I wouldn’t hesitate to substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream for a minute; it has a bright and tangy flavor, and it makes a great base for those hot and cold dips we all love but don’t love us back. And because it’s so thick, it doesn’t make your smoothies runny either. Below is a recipe for my Herbed Blue Cheese Dressing and Dip, with non-fat plain Greek yogurt standing in for both the traditional mayonnaise and sour cream.
So the next time you need a rich, flavorful, and satisfying:
- salad dressing base
- buttermilk, sour cream, cream cheese, or kefir substitute
- baked goods component
- smoothie ingredient
…reach for Greek yogurt. It should be a cold pantry staple.
Blue cheese dip from a bottle is bad news as far as salt and saturated fat are concerned. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it from time to time: using a base of plain, non-fat Greek yogurt makes a world of difference to the nutritional impact.
Pro tip: Refrigerating the dressing for at least an hour is absolutely essential to give the flavors time to meld.
Servings: 10 (58 g )
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 1 hour
- 2 cups plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
- ⅓ cup water
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp. blue cheese, crumbled
- ¼ tsp. garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme
- Stir all ingredients together, cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to meld.
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About the Expert Chef
Guiding Stars Expert Chef Erin Dow balances three food worlds. As a mother of three young children, she’s fighting the battle every parent faces: how to keep her kids interested in the foods that keep them healthy.
As the chef and owner of her catering company Eatswell Farm, she utilizes original recipes and techniques–focused on enhancing the enjoyment of locally-sourced ingredients–to best interpret the client’s vision. And as Consulting Executive Chef for Falmouth-based Professional Catering Services, a business specializing in production and backstage catering for concerts, she develops and executes menus that accommodate the strict nutritional requirements of the music industry elite.
Erin and her family raise their own chicken for meat and eggs, have dabbled in pastured Narragansett turkeys, and have a very weedy but very large and productive garden.