Using yogurt in dips and sauces is a great way to reduce the fat in recipes that are traditionally made with sour cream. Be sure to choose low-fat plain yogurt, or make your own at home. Yogurt dips are also a great flavor addition to grilled chicken, fish, or pork – try one one of these recipes the next time you are planning a barbecue. If your dinner menu includes a spicier main dish such as a curry or Mexican style entree, accompany it with the cool and creamy Greek Cucumber Yogurt Salad.
Greek Yogurt Dip (Tzatziki)
1 1/2 cups low-fat plain yogurt
1/2 cup grated English cucumber
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 large clove garlic, minced, or 1 tbsp chopped garlic in oil
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Chill for 1 1/2 hours. Use with grilled chicken or pork.
Greek Yogurt Sauce for Fish or Chicken
1/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup finely chopped cucumber
1 tbsp chopped chives or green onion
Freshly ground black pepper
Method: Use a small bowl to combine all ingredients. Use a spoon to spread over fish fillets or chicken breasts prior to broiling, barbequing or microwaving.
Yogurt Cheese is easy to make from store-bought or homemade yogurt, and is a good low-fat alternative to the cream cheese called for in dips, salad dressings, or sandwich spreads. To make yogurt cheese, use 2 cups of a low-fat plain yogurt that is NOT made with gelatin. Your best bet is to find an unstirred Balkan-style yogurt or to use homemade yogurt. Use two layers of thick paper towel to line a sieve placed in a bowl, and pour yogurt into sieve. Cover the whole thing with saran wrap and chill for about two hours. Pour out the liquid that has drained into the bowel, and keep the yogurt cheese left in the sieve in an airtight container for up to one week.
Honey Mustard Yogurt Dip
1 cup yogurt cheese
2 tbsp liquid organic honey
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 green onions or chives, chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Method: Use a blender or food processor to combine all ingredients until there are no lumps. Chill for an hour prior to serving. This dip can be served with raw vegetables such as baby carrots, cucumber slices, broccoli spears, and red and green peppers. It also makes a delicious yogurt salad dressing for dark leafy green salads, and as a good spread for whole wheat bread sandwiches with cold cuts.
Greek Cucumber Yogurt Salad
1 large thinly sliced English cucumber, not peeled
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup yogurt cheese
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Fill a large colander with thin slices of cucumber and sprinkle with salt. Let the cucumber stand for 10 to 15 minutes to drain. Rinse well with cold water, pat dry and place in bowl. Use a second bowl to blend yogurt cheese, lemon juice, garlic and ginger. Pour this mixture over the cucumber and toss carefully. Chill in the fridge for about an hour and a half before serving.