Ingredient of the Week: Greek Yogurt

IMG - Falafel & yogurt dip.jpg
Photo by John Suh
Falafel with garlic yogurt dip
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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10 comments
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Hugh Ramsey
Hugh Ramsey

I use it to make chicken salad.  Recommend.

big red
big red

Reading the nutrition label is key to getting the right Greek yogurt. There are a few varieties that are no fat, no cholesterol -  the most important criteria for me. Plus the protein levels are similar among the varieties. The difference is in the carbs. And, who counts calories anymore? That is so 1980's.

trisch
trisch

Be careful not to assume that all Greek yogurt is non-fat, low-calorie.  The original Fage is full-fat, as is my flavored yogurt -- Greek Yogurt (brand) with fig on the bottom.  There's a lot of fat and calories in those treats! 

Christine Ha
Christine Ha

Good point.  Thanks.  I'd hate for someone to gain 10 lbs. gorging on Greek yogurt on account of my post.

Jim Robinson
Jim Robinson

I'm not sure what your information source is for this article but I am intrigued by this new interest in "Greek" yogurt. Yogurt is yogurt. It is the Turkish word for milk that has been fermented into a tart, semisolid mass by the action of several types of lactobacilli and streptococci, and comes from a Turkish root word meaning "thick". Most of the grocery store brands have historically added thickeners such as pectin, gelatin, corn starch, etc. to maintain a certain thickness. In Greece, Turkey, Lebanon and other countries, yogurt is typically strained to remove more of the liquid resulting in what until recently was just called "yogurt cheese". I haven't done the research but I suspect that when Fage started their marketing program, they hitched onto the "Greek" yogurt naming to stand out in the yogurt aisles. Over the last year or so, "Greek" started showing up more as the Fage product took off, I suspect. A good source of information on yogurts is found on pages 47-49 of Harold McGee's 'On Food and Cooking'. 

If one makes yogurt at home (very easy to do) one avoids the thickeners that are in the commercial product and one saves a lot of money compared to the store prices of Fage and the rest.

http://blogs.houstonpress.com/...

Christine Ha
Christine Ha

You're correct--marketing strategies are what forged the term "Greek yogurt" to become synonymous with strained yogurt which, inevitably, is all it really is.  Supposedly most of the yogurt in Greece is not even strained.  Americans tend to call strained yogurt Greek.  We can thank Fage's for that.

Tim
Tim

Sliced Banana, and a drizzle of honey. You can make your own Greek Yogurt, by straining regular yogurt through a coffee filter.

big red
big red

I shop at HEB, and I must say their selection and prices for Greek yogurt are PITIFUL !!

The varieties with fruit at the bottom are quite good, and have more taste than the Yoplait Light varieties, plus they are more filling.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Weirdly, Fiesta's selection of Greek yogurt is expensive too. I usually get mine at Randall's; they almost always seem to have my Fage 0% on sale. But Costco is a much better alternative. You can get twice as much there for the same price, and since Greek yogurt has such a great shelf life, it never goes bad before I use it all.

TQro
TQro

True. True. and True.

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