I’m always paying attention to food crazes, and in the past year or so I have noticed that Greek yogurt has really taken off. Once only found in health food stores and specialty markets, Greek yogurt is now in the smallest of grocery stores in a variety of flavors. But what is Greek yogurt? Why all the fuss? And how do you eat or prepare it for a tasty breakfast, snack or dessert?
Greek yogurt is still yogurt, a dairy product produced by bacterial fermentation of milk. Greek yogurt is strained an extra time or two, which removes significantly more whey (the liquid that remains after the initial straining).The extra straining process makes Greek yogurt much thicker and creamier than the “regular” yogurt you grew up with. Traditional Greek style yogurt is often made with sheep’s milk, which has a different amount of milkfat than cow’s milk that is more common in America, but you’ll still need to read labels carefully to find this in the United States.
Greek yogurt is not as sweet as traditional American-style yogurt, giving it a trademark tang. For anybody watching their sugar intake, Greek yogurt might be a nice alternative to the overly sweetened (often with high-fructose corn syrup) American-style yogurt. Greek yogurt is also very, very high in protein but fairly low in fat, so it is a pretty filling treat. My favorite Greek yogurt, a vanilla flavor, has 16 grams of protein (36% of your daily value!) and 13 grams of sugar (about 25% of your daily value) in a single serving. In contrast, vanilla Activia yogurt has 4 grams of protein and 18 grams of sugar in a single serving.
Some of my favorite sweet and savory “recipes” with Greek yogurt bases:
Vanilla Lemon Blueberry Parfait
You’ll need: one single-serving container of vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt,one tablespoon of lemon curd (you can find this with the jams & jellies or in the baking section of your local grocer) and 1/4 cup of fresh blueberries. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, swirl together & enjoy—a little sweet, a little tangy and full of fresh fruit. Less than 300 calories!
Tzatziki Dip & Veggies
Plain Greek yogurt is the perfect low fat, high-protein base for dips and sauces. My favorite it tzatziki, a Greek dip that is fresh and tangy and perfect for dipping carrots, cucumber and pepper slices into. You’ll need: 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice, 2 cloves of garlic minced, 2 heaping teaspoons of cilantro (or dill) chopped fine, salt and pepper to taste, 1/2 cup of finely chopped green onions. Combine in a bowl, adding 1 tbsp of olive oil if you’d like and enjoy with fresh veggies. A perfect high-protein, low-fat alternative to the over-served ranch dressing and veggie trays.
Yogurt & Granola
Yogurt & granola is probably the easiest way to enjoy Greek yogurt. Pick any flavor you’d like and add 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of your favorite granola. Here I’ve mixed Greek yogurt and honey (you can buy this flavor) with my favorite spiced pumpkin granola—delicious. Combine in a bowl and enjoy!
Have you jumped on board the Greek yogurt fad? How do you enjoy it?
Daisy is a lawyer married to a lawyer (insert lawyer jokes here) living in a small condo in a big city with a new baby and beagle. She breaks up the legal-speak by blogging about life in Chicago, which is filled with escapades of urban living. In the summer she enjoys patio dining and in the winter wonders what she was thinking when she moved here. You can read more from Daisy on her blog, Just Daisy.