Yogurt is always there for you. When you're running out the door in the morning, or too tired at night to prepare a proper dinner, or the hot items on the hotel breakfast buffet look questionable at best... yogurt will always do in a pinch. But if you're only eating yogurt by the spoonful, you're missing out. This protein-packed dairy product belongs in more recipes than you might realize.
In Soups and Stews
So, it's important to get this out of the way first: Strawberry yogurt does not belong in chicken noodle soup. We're not suggesting that when we suggest adding yogurt to soups and stews. Plain yogurt, on the other hand, delivers creaminess and tang and cuts the heat in spicy dishes. Swirl in a spoonful to creamy tomato or butternut squash soup, or use plain Greek yogurt in chili.
As a Sub for Buttermilk
Yogurt and buttermilk are basically siblings. So the next time you get halfway into a recipe before realizing your buttermilk has curdled, reach for a container of plain yogurt instead. If your yogurt is thick, water it down a little to better match the consistency of buttermilk. Then use it as an equal swap; that is, if the recipe calls for half a cup of buttermilk, add half a cup of the yogurt instead.
As a Sub for Butter
If yogurt is buttermilk's sibling, it's butter's first cousin once removed. They have enough similar qualities that yogurt can be subbed for some of the butter in your baked goods without anyone knowing. Try swapping half the butter in a basic cake or muffin recipe for plain Green yogurt. It's a simple way to slash cholesterol and up the protein in your favorite treats.
To Make Cheese
Are you sensing a pattern here? Yup, yogurt's so versatile you can actually transform it into a kind of soft, spreadable cheese. Place cheesecloth in a strainer, pour in the yogurt, cover it and let it drain over a bowl in the refrigerator overnight. When the excess liquid drains away, you'll have a good substitute for cream cheese or goat cheese.
In Salad Dressing or Dip
Creamy ranch that comes out of a bottle is so good, but sometimes you just need to impress the crowd with homemade dressing. Yogurt makes the perfect base for a variety of flavor profiles. Mix plain yogurt with garlic, lemon juice and fresh herbs to make a simple dressing for a green salad. Make a sweet version with fruit-flavored yogurt, fruit juice and honey to drizzle over fruit salad.
To Make Crispy Rice
Yogurt and crispy aren't two words that typically go together, but they can. Yogurt is a key ingredient in a Persian rice dish called tahdig. Mix yogurt and spices with cooked rice and pack the rice into a hot, oiled pan. After about 15 minutes on the stove, the bottom of the rice will turn into a crispy golden crust.
Guacamole purists may be horrified by the idea of yogurt stirred into this luscious avocado mixture. But considering the price and fat content of avocados, filling out your guacamole with yogurt is just plain brilliant. Add a big spoonful of tangy Greek yogurt and mix it in until the white disappears. If the guacamole snobs don't want it, all the more for you.
As a Decadent Dessert Drink
It's sweet, creamy and refreshing. The next time you're craving a smoothie, make lassi instead. It's a yogurt drink popular in India, and it's easy to make your own version at home. Blend yogurt with water or milk, fresh or frozen fruit and honey as a sweetener.
In Two-Ingredient Flatbreads
The only thing better than a recipe with only three ingredients? A recipe with only two ingredients. Equal parts plain Greek yogurt and self-rising flour is all you need to make a basic flatbread dough. Roll pieces into thin disks and cook each one for a few minutes in a dry pan over medium heat. Flip the flatbread halfway through to brown each side.
Yogurt brings to coleslaw all the tang and creaminess you could want, without the oil content of mayonnaise. As a bonus, using yogurt will make your coleslaw appealing to the picnic guests who can't stand mayo in any context! Use Greek yogurt as a one-to-one swap, or substitute it for just half the mayo. As long as you load the slaw with plenty of flavor, some diners might not even notice the switch.