The first time I used Greek yogurt several years ago, it was as a substitute for sour cream. But what started as a topper for baked potatoes and fajitas soon developed into a staple in my family’s refrigerator. You could even say we’ve developed a full-blown addiction for the thick, tangy stuff. Today, it’s not uncommon for us to eat it several times a day: We start our mornings with it, nested into a bowl of granola, and are always searching for new ways to enjoy it. We use it in salads, dips, and even cheesecake. Swirled into warm soups or tossed into chicken salad, Greek yogurt is the creamy, dreamy element every kitchen needs.
Here are my five favorite, unexpected ways to use Greek yogurt:
This Kale-Artichoke Dip is just as creamy as its spinach sister, but with a slight tart note. It’s also an easy party food to whip up: Briefly sauté shallots, garlic, and kale together with some dry white wine thrown in at the end, then pulse the entire mixture in a food processor. To serve it, stir the blended mixture into a large bowl with Greek yogurt, mustard, Parmesan, chopped artichoke hearts, and spices. You can even make it ahead of time and enjoy it for days.
Greek Yogurt Cheesecake
When I first set out to make this dessert, I felt that it fell somewhere in between a good challenge and a science experiment. Luckily, it turned out way better than I could have imagined, and the tart pomegranate sauce was the perfect addition. To make it, combine cream cheese and Greek yogurt into a cheesecake base with lemon, vanilla, and a little bit of salt and gelatin. Pour it into a pie pan lined with a gingersnap- and butter-based crumble, and top with pomegranate syrup. Feel free to swap out the pomegranate syrup for any seasonal fruit you like—I can’t wait to try it with berries!
Carrot Soup with Roasted Chickpeas
Plain Greek yogurt serves as the garnish on many of my family’s meals, but mixing it with a few ingredients like toum (an olive oil-based garlic spread), za’atar or chopped fresh herbs, and lemon juice creates the perfect topping to spice up plain vegetables. This smooth and creamy carrot soup has no actual cream in it, but a dollop of spiced yogurt on top makes it creamy and rounds out the dish. To make the soup, sauté carrots with onion, garlic, coriander, cumin, and salt until lightly browned. Add vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a simmer, then purée the soup and serve it with spiced Greek yogurt, roasted chickpeas, and some parsley on top.
Tzatziki Chicken Salad
While I’ve been using Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise in chicken salad for years, this version with traditional Greek seasonings and cucumbers is my favorite. To make it, mix together diced cucumber, shredded chicken, Greek yogurt, herbs, lemon juice, and minced garlic. That’s it! Serve it over greens or in a sandwich and top it with feta cheese or extra cucumbers and herbs—it’s the ideal summer lunch.
Swiss Chard Cakes
This recipe has taught me that greens and tart yogurt are a match made in heaven! These little cakes contain a mixture of blanched Swiss chard, ricotta, Parmesan, and herbs. There’s quite possibly no better venue for thick Greek yogurt. To make them, fold together flour, salt, and baking powder with ricotta, Parmesan, milk, and eggs until blended. Add in some blanched chard and basil, then pan-fry the cakes with ghee or oil, and top with Greek yogurt.
Makes 6 to 10 cakes
3 to 4 bunches Swiss chard
4 basil leaves, sliced thin
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup ricotta
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons ghee or oil, plus more for frying
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
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