Ingredient of the Week: Greek Yogurt

Falafel with garlic yogurt dip
Falafel with garlic yogurt dip
Photo by John Suh

What is it?

Greek yogurt is a strained yogurt that has been filtered to remove whey, which means it has twice as much protein but less carbohydrates than regular yogurt. In addition to protein, it is a good source of probiotics, calcium, riboflavin, and vitamins B6 and B12. Greek yogurt is not only gluten-free but also can be easier on the stomach for those who are lactose-intolerant; the lactose that is normally found in milk is converted into lactic acid by the good bacteria in yogurt.

The straining process causes Greek yogurt to be more sour and thicker with a texture between that of regular yogurt and cheese. Traditional Greek yogurt is made from sheep's milk, but nowadays, cow's milk may be used for industrial production. In the West, the term "Greek yogurt" has become synonymous with strained yogurt even though different forms of strained yogurt are used in many other countries like Turkey, Lebanon and India.

How do I use it?

Because Greek yogurt offers a non-fat, low-calorie alternative, it can be substituted for mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk, or even whole milk, depending on the recipe. Instead of mayo or sour cream, try using Greek yogurt in your next vegetable dip. Marinate meat in Greek yogurt prior to cooking for extra tenderization. Or if you prefer, cook the yogurt separately to make a sauce accompaniment to fish, chicken or lamb. Greek yogurt is also delicious as a healthy snack or dessert: just add walnuts or hazelnuts, fresh fruit like blueberries, and a little drizzle of honey or maple syrup and cinnamon on top.

Where can I find it?

In the dairy section of most grocery stores.

Recipe: Yogurt Garlic Dip Similar to tzatziki sauce, this yogurt dip is a simple condiment for all sorts of meats and vegetables; I had mine with falafel. I also added a little cumin for an extra kick. The minced raw garlic can be a bit strong, so if you want to tone it down, use garlic salt instead.

What do you do with your Greek yogurt?

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