This quinoa salad with shredded carrot,
dried fruit, cucumber, small-diced red
onion, pistachios and parsley gets a
nutrition boost with yogurt dressing.
Charlie Baggs, Inc.
yogurt like Greek yogurt (versus low-fat or nonfat), because heating causes
separation. He adds a little cornstarch to
prevent the separating.
Yogurt works well in French béchamel sauces
in place of heavy cream. “The result is a nice
creamy, tangy richness,” Reardon says. For
the same reason, yogurt is a good substitute
in hollandaise sauce. “You’re cutting the fat
and calories of the base and getting the
benefit of yogurt. It’s a great trade-off.”
“We’re not used to cooking with yogurt.
We think of it for breakfast, for a parfait.
Many never think of it to use in sauces or
as a substitution,” Moore says. “You might
think it’s a crazy substitution, but try it,
taste it and put your own spin on it.”
For the likes of butternut squash soup,
Schweizer advises replacing heavy cream
with yogurt. In that case, don’t bring the yogurt
to a full boil, but, rather, fold it in afterwards. If
you still need thickness, combine yogurt with
cornstarch and a bit of cold water to make a
paste, then stir it in. It will thicken and make
a creamy texture without breaking down. He
advises that it’s OK to let the yogurt simmer in
the soup pot, but not fully boil.
CREAM A SOUP
A dollop of yogurt in place of sour cream
on top of a soup before serving is a
light, simple soup application, but it can
also be added as part of the hot or cold
preparation for the velvety creamy texture
it can add, Reardon says.
DRINK IT UP
Finally, beverages have long benefited
from yogurt. Consider the popular Indian
mango lassi and the Mideast thinned-yogurt ayran. Lassi is a favorite of
Ashton’s, who suggests using peaches
instead of mangoes. Or, add a bit of vodka
to make a cocktail to serve with spicy food.
almonds. “It makes a wonderful chilled
soup,” he adds.
Trading out butter for yogurt in beurre blanc
also works well, Moore says. In any case, he
recommends making sure the yogurt is room
temperature before adding it into a sauce, to
help with the incorporating process.
For a chilled soup, consider a purée of
yogurt with cucumbers, garlic and herbs
such as mint and dill, with the addition of
Follow the advice of those who have mastered yogurt on the menu. YOGURT TIPS
While yogurt is a natural for smoothies,
think about using it in frozen coffee drinks,
• Use plain yogurt only. Flavored yogurt
includes sugar, and in the flavoring
process, it loses some of its probiotics,
making it less healthful, says Adam
Moore, corporate chef for Charlie
Baggs, Inc., Chicago. He prefers
Greek yogurt for its rich smoothness.
“Greek yogurt can be high in fat, so
you may choose low-fat Greek yogurt.”
• The most important aspect of working
with yogurt is how the temperature
interacts with the fat content and how
it affects the consistency, says Tim
Reardon, culinary director for The Food
Group, New York. When making the
Greek cucumber/yogurt dip tzatziki, be
sure to drain the yogurt and squeeze
the water out of the cucumbers.
“I think it’s a great time for yogurt,” he adds. “I
think it’s time we got tuned in to the benefits
of consuming yogurt daily, not just for
breakfast or as a sweet, but across the board.
For chefs, it’s versatile enough to incorporate
as a healthy ingredient on menus. I can feel
good about using a good quantity of it.”
Jody Shee, an Olathe, Kan.-based
freelance writer and editor, previously was
editor of a foodservice magazine. She has
20 years of food-writing experience and
writes the blog www.sheefood.com.