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25 Ways to Use Yogurt

You and yogurt have had a long-standing healthy relationship. You know that it’s better for you than a bagel at breakfast, but sometimes it’s just so boring that you hit a wall and banish this practical, nutrient-rich breakfast from your life. You go wild, eating egg sandwiches from bodegas and pancakes from diners, which just leave you feeling ashamed and bloated. This is when yogurt starts looking really good again, all healthy and loaded with nutrients like potassium and probiotics that aid in digestion and strengthen your immune system. So you decide to give it another go with yogurt, and you say this time will be different. You just have to give yogurt the attention it deserves, take it out for lunch or dinner, and even dessert sometimes. Next thing you know, you’ll be showing off your yogurt at parties and get-togethers.

What you might not have realized is that your old standby, yogurt, has a slightly sour taste that lends itself beautifully to both sweet (like berries and fruit) and savory (garlic, lemons, cucumber) pairings, making it a real jack-of-all-trades and not just something to fill the void before lunch. Get funky with fermented milk using these 25 ideas:

  1. Get to know yogurt on an intimate level and make your own Fresh Yogurt.
  2. Yogurt not your thing? Take that yogurt, strain it and you end up with Yogurt Cheese, a healthy swap-out for cream cheese.
  3. Whoever told you that creamy dressings were bad for you never tried Alton Brown’s Thousand Island Dressing made with yogurt and tomato sauce instead of mayo and ketchup.
  4. Strain the yogurt overnight for Chuck Hughes’ Steamed Carrot Cake with Honey Yogurt Frosting to reach the consistency of frosting. Don’t have any cheesecloth on hand? Use a paper coffee filter instead.
  5. Nadia G. calls for thick yogurt in her Frozen Yogurt Coconut Pops (pictured above). Use the same method from above to achieve the correct consistency.
  6. Make a filling salad, like Ellie Krieger’s Chickpea and Spinach Salad with Cumin Dressing and Yogurt Sauce, at the beginning of the week for a filling and nutritious lunch all week long. Don’t forget to keep the dressing in a separate container until you’re ready to eat!
  7. It’s still warm enough out for grilling; make Jamie Oliver’s Crispy Barbecued Side of Salmon Barbecue with Cucumber Yogurt. Searing fish skin-side down, whether in a pan or on the grill, will make it extra crispy; Jamie takes the skin off the fish and puts it back on the grill to make the crunchy fish version of cracklings (aka pork rinds).
  8. Substitute yogurt for butter, sour cream, whipping cream or creme fraiche while you’re baking — it’ll add protein and richness without the calories to baked goods like Blueberry Muffins and Sweet Potato Pie (it’s that perfect time of year when both are acceptable treats).
  9. Raita (Cucumber and Yogurt Salad) is the Indian version of Greek Tzatziki dip. Either way, this cucumber-yogurt condiment pairs well with lots of spices, chicken and meat.
  10. It sounds complicated, but the Baby Arugula with Balsamic Roasted Peaches, Goat Cheese, Toasted Almonds, Purple Basil, Shallots Tossed with a Balsamic Yogurt Dressing and a Drizzle of Truffle Oil salad requires almost no cooking and comes together quickly. Purple (or opal) basil has purplish, almost black leaves and is very aromatic. If you can’t find purple basil, substitute the traditional sweet basil.
  11. Step up bland chicken dinners with Yogurt Marinated Grilled Chicken with Harissa. Alex Guarnaschelli marinates the chicken with yogurt and spices overnight, which helps retain moisture in the poultry.
  12. Koftas are Middle Eastern dumplings/meatballs, normally grilled and served on kebabs. Mozzarella Gobi Koftas with Sweet Potato Raita are vegetarian and fried. Dip them in a cool raita for the ultimate bite.
  13. Lassis are refreshing Indian buttermilk or yogurt drinks, slightly sour but with lots of sweetness when fruit is blended in. Lassis are often served after dinner as digestives. What better way to digest a meal than with a Peach Lassi or Strawberry Basil Yogurt Cooler Lassi?
  14. Bobby Flay’s Frozen Yogurt with Poached Rum Raisin Pears or Alton Brown’s Lemon-Ginger Frozen Yogurt will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth without requiring you to pull out the stretchy pants.
  15. If dairy is an issue for you, try the lactose-free Coconut Yogurt with Fresh Figs and Apples.
  16. Although a bit time-consuming, Yogurt Panna Cotta with Rose-Scented Raspberries is a delicate and delicious dessert. Rosewater is made from rose petals and can be found in grocery stores and Indian markets. Use leftover rosewater to make Lime Yoghurt Cake with Rosewater and Pistachios.
  17. Fresh summer veggies are still plentiful. Use them while you can in this Summer Yogurt Soup with Tomato and Basil.
  18. Baked Finger Eggplants, Yogurt and Cucumber is a simple dish with tons of flavor. The recipe calls for thick yogurt, so strain your yogurt (a la number 8 on the list) or substitute a thick Greek yogurt.
  19. Sweet Saffron Yogurt: Shrikand is a decadent Indian dessert, utilizing two of the world’s most expensive spices: cardamom and saffron. Strain the yogurt overnight to achieve the desired thickness.
  20. Bengali-Style Aubergine Cooked in Yogurt makes for an excellent side dish. Aubergine is just another term for eggplant.
  21. Roger Mooking showcases smoked paprika (dried, ground mild peppers) in his Paprika Spice Turkey Breast with Hummus and Paprika Yogurt Sauce recipe. Hungarian paprika is bright red and has a deep, round flavor, while Spanish paprika is traditionally a bit more mild. Smoked Spanish paprika has a woodsy aroma and is often used in paella.
  22. Keep frozen fruit in your freezer at all times; replace ice cream or other desserts easily with nutrient-rich smoothies like a Triple Berry Banana Yogurt Smoothie or Peach Pie Smoothie. Frozen fruit can also double as tasty ice cubes in bevvies.
  23. Lighten up a game-day staple with Ellie Krieger’s Classic Coleslaw with Caraway.
  24. Chicken with Yoghurt and Cashew Nuts is a great intro to curry, as it’s mild and creamy with a little bit of crunch from the cashews. Curry leaves are dried leaves used in Indian (you guessed it) curries, but are not the same thing as curry powder, which is a blend of many spices; you can often find these leaves at Indian markets.
  25. Skinny up your chicken dinners by using yogurt and tons of spices to achieve rich flavors. You’ll find you don’t even miss butter or sugary barbecue sauces. Try it out with Papaya Chicken and Bal’s No-Butter Chicken.

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