Plain yogurt is anything but boring. It is extremely versatile and can be used in many ways besides being your breakfast. You can use plain yogurt as a substitute ingredient in your next recipe or make it the start of your next recipe.

Use plain yogurt as a substitute for sour cream and mayonnaise in recipes.

Use yogurt as a healthier alternative to sour cream or mayonnaise. One cup of plain yogurt has around 150 calories, depending on brand, is a great source of protein, much lower in fats, and has probiotics to aid in digestion. When compared to the 500 calories and 45 grams of fat in one cup sour cream and 1,000 calories and 79 grams of fat in one cup of mayonnaise, the healthier choice is clear.

If you have plain yogurt, you can use that to replace the sour cream or mayonnaise in a recipe. To do this, simply strain the plain yogurt through a mesh colander with cheesecloth lined on the inside to give the plain yogurt a thicker consistency. If you do not have a cheesecloth, you can use coffee filters, a few pieces of paper towel, or a linen dishcloth to do the job. If you want to skip the straining process, you can use full-fat plain Greek yogurt instead. Use the strained yogurt or the full-fat Greek yogurt as it is a sour cream substitution, and add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard for every cup of strained plain yogurt to use as mayonnaise.

Here is an extremely simple egg-salad recipe in which the yogurt is used as a substitute for mayo:

  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, chopped
  • ¼ cup strained plain yogurt or full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon of sliced scallions
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon or lime juice

In a small container, mix the yogurt with the Dijon mustard until the color and consistency are even. Place the rest of the ingredients into a larger container and mix as you slowly put in the yogurt-mustard mixture. You can add salt and pepper to taste if you prefer. In addition, you can also dice up onions, bell peppers, and other vegetables to add in and give it some color and taste.

Use it on your lunch sandwiches, as a salad topping, or simply spoon it out of the bowl and into your mouth – it is no longer made with belt-busting mayonnaise.

Here is a French onion dip recipe in which yogurt is used in place of sour cream:

  • 2 tablespoons canola, olive, or vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ cups of onions, diced
  • ¾ teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 2 ¼ cups of strained plain yogurt or full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon of yellow mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of paprika

In a sauce pan over medium heat, mix the oil, onions, and a few dashes of salt together. Sauté for around 15 to 20 minutes until the onions are caramelized. Let the caramelized onions cool to room temperature. This is important because yogurt will separate and curdle when it encounters high temperatures. It will not affect the taste, but it will look unappetizing. Mix the onions with the rest of the ingredients into a bowl and serve with your favorite chips or some toasted pita bread.

Use plain yogurt to make a healthy salad dressing

Salads which are full of vegetables and nutritious toppings, such as nuts, grilled chicken, or chia seeds, are certainly a healthy meal option. However, all that nutrition could easily be overpowered by the calorie and fat-laden dressing that most salads come with. One way to prevent this is to make your own creamy and rich, yet still healthy, salad dressing. Instead of using your ranch or balsamic vinaigrette dressing the next time you have a salad, try these tasty recipes instead.

Try this instead of your usual ranch dressing:

  • 1 cup of plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley (you can also use dried
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped chives
  • 1/3 cup of buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice

Try this instead of your store-bought vinaigrette:

  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of honey or agave nectar

For both recipes: whisk all the ingredients in a bowl until they are all well incorporated with each other. If you have a food processor, you can also use the food processor to blend the ingredients. Add more salt and pepper to season it to your liking. If you want the consistency a bit thicker, you can strain the plain yogurt before mixing it in or you can use plain Greek yogurt instead.

Plain yogurt may be a bit off-putting by itself, but it is a great substitute for many unhealthy options when you are trying to eat healthier. In addition to being a great source of protein and probiotics, it is also very low in sugar, a great source of calcium, and a good way for vegetarians to get their vitamin B12.

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