Over the past few years, yogurt has taken the dairy aisle by storm and become a major food trend nationwide. The powerful combination of probiotics and high protein promote gut health, making yogurt a smart choice for a meal or a snack. But only yogurt in its purest, plain form is really a health food. Most of the yogurt we see in grocery stores – Greek, Skyr, or otherwise – has too much sugar to classify as healthy. For example, a Dannon Blueberry Fruit on the Bottom yogurt contains 24 grams of added sugar. The World Health Organization recommends limiting added sugar to 25 grams per day. Your “healthy” yogurt snack may be nearly as sugary as a serving of ice cream!
To combat this sugar overload, you should be eating savory yogurt. Plain yogurt is the canvas for a delicious and adventurous dorm room meal. Although it may seem strange at first, many cultures have used plain yogurt as a staple ingredient in their dishes for thousands of years. Inspired by these cultures and my own experiences, I’ve put together a list of ways to make yogurt toppings using simple, common ingredients.
Disclaimer: These combinations are not necessarily authentic representations of the cultures they are named after. They are inspired by flavors and concepts only.
This sushi creation uses yogurt to replace cream cheese in a Philadelphia roll. It’s a delicious, filling way to get your sushi fix. Add a crushed rice cake and wasabi peas into your plain yogurt for simple flavor. If you’re feeling more ambitious, add sesame sticks, soy sauce, shredded carrots, cucumber, pickled ginger and smoked salmon to the rice cake and wasabi.
Many of us are siracha-obsessed, but for some, its flavor is too spicy. Combining yogurt with hot sauce dampers the spice and makes for a kickin’ spread. Enjoy this combo as a dip with pita chips, pretzels or raw veggies.
Inspired by flavors from the South, this combination uses yogurt as a substitute for cream or mayonnaise-based coleslaw. Throw some barbeque flavored nuts or chickpeas – like these Bienna brand ones – into your plain yogurt for a tasty snack. Go a step further and add shredded carrots/lettuce, vineagar and barbeque sauce for a fuller meal.
The Greeks use yogurt to make a savory sauce/dip called Tzatziki which is replicated throughout Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. In my experience, however, I’ve learned that Greeks do this dip best. Make it yourself by adding chopped cucumbers to plain yogurt and eating it as a dip with pita chips. If you’re committed to making authentic tzatziki, add salt, pepper, lemon, and olives.
The Middle Eastern
Yogurt fits perfectly into Middle Eastern meals because of the many dips and spreads made in this type of cooking. Enjoy pita chips dipped in plain yogurt and hummus or add tabbouleh, tomatoes, and onion for an extra punch of flavor.
The Bagel Brunch
Bagels are a breakfast staple across the United States. The Everything Bagel yogurt topping is an innovation from Brooklyn’s Sohha Yogurt shop but there’s no reason why you can’t replicate it in your own home. To mimic yogurt trend, mix yogurt with everything-bagel seasonings – poppy seeds, sesame seeds, onion, and garlic. Use in place of cream cheese or just eat it with a spoon. For a larger meal, add bagel chips, tomato, and lox to your yogurt.
A photo posted by Katie Jenks (@katie.jenks) on Oct 8, 2015 at 11:23am PDT
Who doesn’t love a good caprese salad? The infamous combination of mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes represents the Italian flag in the most delicious way possible. Yogurt serves as the broke college kid’s mozzarella substitute – its cheaper and more easily accessible than good cheese. To replicate this Italian staple, add diced tomatoes and basil to your plain yogurt. If you want to get fancy, add pesto, pine nuts and arugula to your basic caprese for an Italian feast.
If you get sour cream in your burrito or on the side for dipping, this yogurt bowl is for you. Yogurt, especially Greek or Skyr brands, serves as an amazing, healthy replacement for sour cream and a great base for a Mexican-style meal. Mix salsa into your plain yogurt and eat with tortilla chips. Go the extra mile and eat your salsa and yogurt with refried beans, fajita veggies, and chicken for a cheap, healthy Chipotle substitute.
If making your own savory yogurt combinations is too difficult, you may be able to find savory yogurt flavors at your local grocery store. Although the brands are not universally known, both Blue Hill and The Chaat Co. are making waves in the dairy aisle with flavors like carrot and cucumber mint. Happy eating!