Greek-style yogurt has really exploded in popularity over the last couple of years, as more brands have hit the market and popular U.S. yogurt makers like Dannon and Yoplait have started making it, too. So what’s the big deal? It’s just yogurt, right?
Well, yes and no. Like the standard American-style yogurt you probably already eat, Greek yogurt is a fermented milk-based product. Both types are good sources of probiotics, healthy bacteria which is thought to help the digestive system.
But Greek yogurt is thicker, creamier, and richer-tasting than most other forms of yogurt, and it can be healthier for you too.
Greek yogurt is traditionally made by straining regular yogurt. This allows whey and liquid to filter out of the yogurt. So, Greek-style yogurt is not just creamier, it’s also more concentrated than traditional yogurts you may be used to eating.
Partially because it’s more concentrated, Greek-style yogurts have about two times as much protein as regular yogurt. Some varieties have as much as 20 grams of protein per serving – that’s almost half the recommended daily allowance for an adult woman. It’s also lower in carbohydrates and lactose than other types of yogurt. So, if you’re diabetic, watching your weight, or lactose-sensitive, Greek yogurt may be a better choice for you.
Many fans, however, like it just for the flavor. You can buy it sweetened with fruit or flavorings, or plain. Some varieties have fat; others don’t. But even if you buy low-fat or no-fat versions, Greek yogurt tastes as rich as sour cream. You can serve it the same way you use regular yogurt – plain or with fruit or granola, blended into a smoothie, or as a dressing for fruit salad.
But this yogurt’s creaminess also makes it great for baking and cooking, because it doesn’t separate. (Just substitute it for buttermilk or sour cream in recipes.) Or, basically, you can substitute plain Greek-style yogurt for anything you might normally use sour cream for. Use it to top baked potatoes or try it in your favorite dip and salad recipes. Finally, you can even use it as a substitute for mayonnaise; try it instead of mayo in your favorite tuna, chicken or potato salad recipe.
Look for Greek yogurt, by popular makers Dannon, Yoplait and Athenos, all in the dairy section of your neighborhood Brookshire’s, right next to the traditional yogurt.