As I was talking with Rebecca Scritchfield, RD, LD, a Washington, DC–based dietitian, I mentioned that I had tried substituting plain nonfat yogurt for high-fat mayo or sour cream in various recipes, with disappointing results. She told me that the secret to successful substitution with yogurt is to go Greek.

“Nonfat Greek yogurt is thicker and creamier than regular nonfat yogurt, so it makes a superb substitute for high-fat mayonnaise and sour cream in many types of recipes,” Scritchfield explained. “Not only does the extra creaminess satisfy the taste buds, but Greek yogurt’s higher protein content satisfies your appetite longer, too.”

During our conversation, Scritchfield also shared two of her favorite recipe makeovers that substitute Greek yogurt for the traditional high-fat ingredients to reduce calories and fat without sacrificing taste. Now I want to pass these yummy recipes along to you. Enjoy!

Tangy Tuna Salad

Using regular mayonnaise, this dish would have about 250 calories and 12 grams of fat per ¼ cup serving… this makeover version has just 110 calories and 1.4 grams of fat per serving. Note: The tiny bit of mayonnaise this recipe calls for is enough to lend it mayo’s characteristic tang without overloading the fat and calories.

2 six-ounce cans of water-packed tuna, drained
2 Tablespoons dill pickle relish
½ Tablespoon mayonnaise
½ Tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
½ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt

Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir well to combine. Serve over lettuce leaves. Makes five servings.

Nutty Banana-Yogurt Bread

Traditional banana bread made with sour cream and oil has about 290 calories and 15 grams of fat per one-inch slice… this Greek yogurt version trims those numbers to 190 calories and 5.5 grams of fat.

1⅔ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
⅔ cup sugar
2 eggs
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
3 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
2 Tablespoons plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅔ cup chopped toasted walnuts

In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, beat sugar and eggs with an electric mixer or whisk until fluffy, then beat in applesauce. To the sugar mixture, add the mashed bananas, Greek yogurt and vanilla, blending well. Fold in flour mixture and toasted walnuts. Pour into a nine-inch loaf pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 45 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool, cut into one-inch slices and serve.

Using Greek Yogurt in Your Own Recipes

To substitute Greek yogurt for higher fat ingredients in your own favorite recipes, you may need to experiment to find just the right consistency and taste. Scritchfield’s simple rules of thumb can get you started. For instance…

  • For full-fat or reduced-fat mayo or sour cream, substitute an equal amount of plain nonfat Greek yogurt.
  • If a recipe calls for both mayo and sour cream, substitute nonfat Greek yogurt for half the mayo and half the sour cream.
  • For each cup of buttermilk (for instance, in pancakes or sauces), substitute one-half cup nonfat Greek yogurt plus one-half cup skim milk.


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