Our national hero… to the rescue! Saves hundreds of Greeks everyday from malnutrition, as it is packed with countless health benefits, like gut-friendly probiotics and muscle-building proteins.
When you refer to yogurt in Greece, you need to be more specific. Sheep’s milk yogurt is considered our traditional one, sold in a clay pot with a thick skin of gooood fat formed on top. For diet freaks, low fat goat’s or water buffalo’s milk yogurt is recommended.
But what became the hype around the world as Greek yogurt, is cow’s milk yogurt, strained to remove the whey, resulting to a thicker consistency that can work miracles in your kitchen. Here’s a few ideas to do it like the Greeks from breakfast to dinner:
1. Greek lamb or chicken marinades
Tenderising and flavourful, Greek yogurt can become the star of your BBQ marinades! Feel free to improvise mixing Greek yogurt with lemon, garlic, olive oil, oregano/thyme, paprika, cumin, mustard and spices – eg chilli flakes offer a nice contrast to the cooling yogurt sensation. Let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour, or even plan ahead and prepare it overnight. You can even save some of the marinade to dip your meat while on the table, which takes us to number…
2. Tzatziki – style dips
Are you a big fan of tzatziki but hate the garlicky (aka compulsory social distancing) effect it has? Create an easy dipping sauce combining:
* Any kind of fresh herbs, – dill, parsley, coriander, chives, peppermint, fennel, basil.
* Citrus notes: lemon or lime juice and zest.
* Hot stuff: chilli peppers, mustard, curry.
Get creative making your own favourite combo, add a dash of extra virgin olive oil and serve it with warm sourdough/pita bread.
3. Creamy sauces
Greek yogurt is the healthy alternative to all recipes calling for cream or buttermilk, giving a bright tang to your dishes.
Our favourite is this one made with only three ingredients: Greek yogurt, eggs and cheese. For about 200-250g , add one egg and approx. 100-150g grated hard yellow cheese, (in your Greek deli, go for the aged graviera or kefalotyri). A light bechamel sauce with more than one way to enjoy: 1. on a low calories moussaka, 2. on top of mixed vegetables in the oven, 3. over halved stuffed zucchini or eggplants with minced meat.
4. Salad dressings
Greek yogurt is for all of you salad lovers, who would gladly swap out from the recipe the word mayo for the word healthy, without giving up on tasty.
For your basic Greek dressing you need to add something sour (eg lemon), something sweet (honey) and of course olive oil. Then let the flavour game begin: add fresh (eg dill) and/or dried (eg marjoram) herbs, pickles, green onions, horseradish, etc. Serve on top of green salads with cherry tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers.
5. Cakes and pies
Greek yogurt acts like magic in baking, as it:
* Lightens up fat-laden cakes, stepping in for sour cream or butter.
* Saves your baked goods from drying out, offering moisture.
* Activates baking soda with its acidity, for an extra fluffy outcome.
* Replaces cream cheese for high-protein, low-calories frosting.
Here’s our easy-peasy, no-bake Greek yogurt lemon mousse:
* 1 lt Greek yogurt
* 400 ml condensed milk
* Juice of 2-3 lemons & zest (or oranges if you prefer).
Mix the ingredients all together and cool the mix in the fridge for a few hours. Serve it with crumbled cookies and chocolate chips or nuts with fruit jam or honey.