Low-fat yogurt is a versatile and inexpensive ingredient. Tasty on its own, low-fat yogurt can be used in a wide variety of recipes. Slash fat and calories by using low-fat yogurt in place of sour cream, cream, and mayonnaise in savory dishes. Use it in and on desserts and in all kinds of other recipes, too. Fat-free yogurt can also be used in many recipes, especially nonfat Greek yogurt, which is naturally thick and creamy and holds up well in cooked dishes. Feel free to experiment with a few different brands until you find the one you like best. Be sure to use plain yogurt for the suggestions below. Any flavored yogurts will significantly alter the food you are making.
10 Easy Ways to Use Low-Fat or Nonfat Yogurt
Try some of these ideas:
- Use yogurt as a tangy marinade for chicken. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to one cup of low-fat plain yogurt, plus 1 teaspoon minced garlic and a tablespoon of curry powder. Stir together and add chicken (breasts and or thighs). Marinate in a bowl (or zip-top bag) for up to 24 hours and then cook using your favorite cooking method (grill, roast, etc.).
- Mix yogurt with shredded cucumber, garlic, and herbs (parsley, dill, fresh oregano, etc.) for an easy and healthy dip.
- Make a delicious low-fat smoothie with yogurt, your favorite fruit (fresh or frozen), and crushed ice.
- Stir up a tangy salad dressing for chicken, tuna or potatoes by simply adding yogurt, lemon juice (or vinegar), salt, pepper, and some fresh herbs.
- Make breakfast (or dessert) fancy with a low-fat parfait. Layer yogurt with berries and whole-grain cereal or granola. For a fancy twist, do multiple layers in a classic glass parfait cup.
- Make your baked potato toppings a little healthier. Simply swap sour cream for yogurt next time you are topping a baked potato.
- For healthier baking, replace the butter and/or oil in muffins and quick bread with the same amount of yogurt. Be sure to add a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda per cup of yogurt.
- For a tangy kick, scoop a dollop of yogurt on top of chilled soups for a creamy texture and extra flavor.
- Use yogurt in stews, chilis, or stroganoffs as a replacement for cream, milk, or sour cream. Be sure to add at the end of cooking and reduce the temperature of your hot dish to a gentle heat to avoid curdling. Another option is to stabilize the yogurt by stirring in a teaspoon of cornstarch before adding it to the hot food.
- Yogurt cheese is a great alternative to cream cheese and very easy to make. Drain the yogurt over a bowl for two hours in the refrigerator in a sieve lined with cheesecloth or layers of paper towels. The end result is a thick and tangy spread that works well on whole-wheat toast and bagels.
Once you have tried a few of the above suggestions, you will have a good sense of how swapping yogurt works best for your favorite recipes. Now you can start making more healthy yogurt swaps and begin experimenting with marinades, smoothies, dips, and recipes of your own.