Sure, Greek yogurt is an excellent (if obvious) choice for a healthy breakfast. The protein-rich, low-sugar favorite is certain to keep you full until lunchtime, and checks off a number of the day’s nutritional requirements. But have you considered eating or cooking with Greek yogurt for dinner, instead? Its thick texture and inherent creaminess make it an ideal stand-in for other dairy products, instantly upping a dish’s nutritional ante and cutting its calories and fat. If you need further convincing, read on for 11 enticing reasons you should eat Greek yogurt tonight.
1. It gives a bed of orzo and peas guilt-free creaminess.
Together with oil, garlic and lemon juice, yogurt gives this Creamy Lemon Pepper Orzo with Grilled Chicken its dish-defining moisture (and pleasant tang).
Creamy Lemon Pepper Orzo with Grilled Chicken
Prep: 15 min
Inactive: 5 min
Cook: 35 min
Yield: 4 servings
¼ cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt, at room temperature
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 cup whole wheat or other whole grain orzo
1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed and patted dry
2 ounces finely crumbled goat cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as basil and tarragon
Whisk together the yogurt, 2 teaspoons of the oil, garlic, lemon juice and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper in a medium bowl until well combined.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and preheat an outdoor or indoor grill to medium heat. Rub the chicken thighs with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon pepper and ¼ teaspoon salt. Grill until nicely marked and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board at let stand for at least 5 minutes.
Add the orzo to the boiling water and cook according to package directions for al dente, stirring in the peas the last minute of cooking. Drain the orzo and peas, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Stir the orzo and peas into the yogurt mixture, along with the goat cheese, 3 tablespoons of the fresh herbs and at least ¾ cup of the cooking liquid, until well combined. Transfer to a platter.
Thinly slice the chicken and arrange on top of the orzo. Sprinkle with the lemon zest and the remaining 1 tablespoon fresh herbs and serve.
Copyright 2012 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved.
Recipe courtesy Food Network Kitchens
2. It makes your salad dressing seem more sinful than it is.
In this Greek Meatball Salad, beef meatballs, tomatoes, mint and pita chips are combined with a simple dressing of oil, vinegar and yogurt for a true Mediterranean affair.
3. It’s better on fajitas than sour cream.
Chicken Fajitas are served with the usual accoutrements, plus one very important stand-in: Greek yogurt that has been blended with freshly toasted cumin and coriander.
Related: How to Make Yogurt at Home
4. It’s the perfect counterpoint to a spicy slow-cooker curry.
This set-and-forget Slow-Cooker Chicken Curry possesses plenty of spice, and like other Indian dishes, benefits from the cooling power of a dollop of yogurt.
5. Because you’d never miss the heavy cream it replaces in sauces for pasta and such.
Though this Penne a la Vodka is lightened up, you’d never know it. The dish seems just as indulgent as its heavy cream-wielding counterparts, and packs more protein, to boot.
Related: What Does 100 Calories Look Like?
6. It balances out the mayo in chicken salad (or any deli-style salad).
Even though the bad rap mayo got in years past has subsided, subbing Greek yogurt for half of it in this Herbal Chicken Salad recipe adds nutritional value and more substantial creaminess to the sandwich.
7. Chicken fingers were meant to be dipped into a garlicky pepper-basil-yogurt sauce.
Honestly, why bother with sugary ketchup or barbecue sauce when you have this herby, veggie-filled sauce to liven up Homemade Frozen Chicken Fingers?
Related: 10 Superfoods You Should Be Eating
8. It makes leaner burger patties surprisingly moist and flavorful.
Turkey Burgers gain oomph from the jerk seasoning-spiked yogurt sauce that helps bind and marinate the patties. Serve them on sweet potato rounds for a lower-carb, nutrient-dense meal.
9. It makes risotto even creamier than you’d anticipate.
Yogurt and grated Parmesan thicken this verdant Risotto with Yogurt and Peas just before serving.
10. It’s an ideal taco topping. (Can you feel the light bulb switching off?)
These 5-star Tofu Tacos owe their high rating to the zesty lime-and-yogurt sauce that brings together the crisp tofu pieces, coleslaw, cilantro, radish and scallion mixture.
11. It makes a killer sandwich spread.
The layers of a classic club sandwich like this Veggie Lover’s version are bound and flavored by a simple yogurt-avocado mixture.
By Lindsay Damast
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