Greek yogurt is one of those foods you should always have on hand that benefits you in many ways. Not only is it incredibly versatile, but it also seems to make everything healthier. One cup offers 13 to 20 grams of protein, and it contains fewer carbohydrates and 50% less sodium than the regular stuff.
Plus, you can substitute nonfat, plain Greek yogurt for so many high-fat ingredients, significantly cutting the overall fat content of your meal! Instead of mayo, sour cream or cream cheese, you can use the same amount of nonfat Greek yogurt for more protein and less artery-clogging. Check out Chobani’s substitutions infographic for a more comprehensive guide.
Try using plain Greek yogurt benefits — key word being plain; vanilla could ruin your meal, depending on what you’re making — next time you want to make these 10 foods:
Want that creamy texture but not the high-fat heavy cream? Use Greek yogurt for soups like chilled cucumber dill — Andrew Zimmern’s recipe is a personal favorite — or even roasted butternut squash soup.
Believe it or not, yogurt can be used for baking — and not just desserts. You can use Greek yogurt to make all sorts of bread. Try these three awesome recipes for everything bagels, zucchini almond bread and asiago and chive biscuits.
3. Pie, cheesecake & other sweets
How does a 150-calorie piece of cheesecake sound? Get excited because such a thing actually exists — and it’s not a microscopic slice or lacking flavor. This skinny chocolate raspberry cheesecake from Skinnytaste uses vanilla Greek yogurt for a guilt-free dessert that clocks in at only 7.5 grams of fat.
Greek yogurt is also a great ingredient for pies, like this boozy key lime pie from Café Terra Blog. Made with plain Greek yogurt, chia seeds, lime juice and lime zest, tequila, sugar, toasted pecans, only ½ cup of melted butter and graham cracker crumbs, this is about as healthy as pie gets.
Want something extra nutritious and diet-friendly? Dip strawberries, blueberries or whatever berries you crave into a mixture of Greek yogurt and honey, and freeze for a cold, sweet treat.
Hummus isn’t the only healthy dip out there. Greek yogurt can serve as the foundation for creamy dips like spinach dip, cucumber dip and sriracha-lime dip. Remember, you can sub an equal amount of Greek yogurt for cream cheese, mayo or sour cream, which means you can turn all your favorite guilty-pleasure dips into low-fat, high-protein goodness.
This yummy chicken recipe has been circulating Pinterest for the past year, and we gotta say, it works. Combine 1 cup of Greek yogurt, ½ cup of Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 ½ teaspoons of seasoned salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Use it to coat four boneless chicken breasts, and bake at 375°F for 35 minutes. Simple, delicious and minimal cleanup required!
So you want to make something easy, convenient and healthy — preferably something that will last you a couple of days. Use Greek yogurt to make casseroles like this chicken, rice and mushroom one from Chobani. Or go Greek with Weight Watcheres’ baked lamb and yogurt casserole. Or, if you’re needing some serious comfort food, try this twice-baked jalapeno potato casserole with Greek yogurt from the Laugh With Us blog.
7. Salad dressing
Who knew that ranch dressing could be moderately healthy? Just mix 1 cup of nonfat plain Greek yogurt, 1 envelope of ranch dressing mix, ¼ cup of milk and voila! You’ve got a fat-free, protein-packed salad dressing. (Nix the milk if you want to make it a dip.) You can even give blue cheese dressing a makeover with this recipe from Heather’s French Press.
8. Cucumber salad! Potato salad! Chicken salad!
Remember: 1 cup of mayo = 1 cup of Greek yogurt. So ditch the mayo next time you make something like potato salad or chicken salad. We particularly love this chicken salad recipe from the Tasty Fork. You can even cut back on the fat in cole slaw — we wouldn’t skip the mayo entirely, but you can reduce the amount you use by also using yogurt.
One of our favorite ways to use Greek yogurt over the summer is in this cucumber salad recipe from JoCooks.com. All you need is English cucumber, Greek yogurt, feta cheese, fresh dill, salt and pepper. It makes for a super refreshing snack on a hot day.
9. Pasta sauce
Whether you’re craving something tomato-based or alfredo-like to top your pasta dish, yogurt can help. Add some Greek yogurt to your favorite marinara to add more protein to your dish and make it creamier — about 1/4 cup of yogurt for every 1/2 cup of marinara. Or make a low-fat version of alfredo, like this one from Stilettos and Diapers, which uses milk, Greek yogurt, Parmesan cheese and garlic salt.
Here’s a new way to eat yogurt for breakfast: Use it to make fluffy, yummy pancakes! We recommend these blueberry pancakes with strawberry maple syrup from Ambitious Kitchen.