Ways To Make Greek Yogurt Less Terrible

Greek yogurt — it's one of those foods the health industry went ga-ga over that, according to the dairy aisle at your grocery store, you should be dumping into your cart by the tub-full. But look, not everyone loves the thick, creamy, tangy taste of the stuff, especially if you're opting for the unflavored, plain variety.

Here's the deal, though: If you're not allergic to dairy, Greek yogurt is an excellent way to pump up your intake of calcium, protein, and, according to WebMD, vitamins B6 and B12. Greek yogurt also has about twice the amount of protein as standard yogurt when you compare same-size servings, making it a comparatively filling, easy snack when you're on-the-go. So if you're looking for ways to dress up the flavor in a healthy way and enjoy the benefits of Greek yogurt without gagging, it's time to look past the standard smoothie or parfait and discover other ways to incorporate the food into your daily diet.

Creamy Greek yogurt mac and cheese

Who doesn't love the cheesy goodness of the ultimate comfort food: mac and cheese. Well, if you're ready to level-up your dinner and ditch the box of radioactive-yellow pasta, look no further than this recipe for Greek yogurt mac and cheese from Cooking ala Mel. It's a truly adult dish, combining the tangy flavor of sharp cheddar and Greek yogurt with whole wheat pasta and spinach — a comfort food recipe you can feel good about.

Greek yogurt coleslaw

I love subbing plain Greek yogurt for sour cream, mayonnaise, and even cream cheese, depending on the recipe. I use it to add a creamy texture to soups and chilis, and I mix it with vinegar and oil to create vegetable dips. Greek yogurt has a similar flavor to other creamy condiments, but more protein and often more calcium, making it an all-around healthier option. So the next time you whip up a batch of coleslaw for summer picnics and barbecues, try this recipe from Gimme Some Oven — trust me, you won't be disappointed.

Greek yogurt crispy baked chicken

There's something finger-lickin' good about a tangy batch of buttermilk fried chicken, but what if I told you you could skip the buttermilk (or in some cases, the mayonnaise) and the frying for a similar, but healthier dish? That's exactly what you can expect from this recipe for crispy baked Greek yogurt ranch chicken. It couldn't be easier to make — just coat raw chicken tenders in a Greek yogurt mix before dipping them in bread crumbs, then bake until crispy.

Tzatziki sauce

There's nothing quite like tzatziki sauce to amp up a meal. You can drizzle it over a sandwich or gyro, use it as a dip for veggies, or top your steak or roast with the creamy sauce. And a good Tzatsiki sauce requires the tangy, thick flavor of Greek yogurt to taste its best. Of course you can buy a batch at the grocery store, but it's actually easy to make at home. Just try this recipe from Live Eat Learn.

Greek yogurt cheesecake

Okay, so realistically, cheesecake is still cheesecake, no matter how you make it, so subbing Greek yogurt instead of extra cream cheese isn't going to automatically turn it into a health food. But, at the very least, it'll serve up a little extra protein while you're enjoying your dessert. And, hey, this recipe for Greek yogurt cheesecake with a pomegranate syrup topping also has the added benefit of delivering some fruit with your sweet treat.

Baked Greek yogurt donuts

Again, donuts are donuts, so they probably shouldn't make their way onto your breakfast table every single day, but if you're looking for a fun and tasty way to celebrate the weekend, look no farther than this recipe for baked funfetti donuts from I Heart Eating. The recipe uses non-fat plain Greek yogurt to give the donuts their moist, cakey flavor. Not to mention, they're baked, not fried, so even though there's still a fair amount of butter and sugar in the recipe, the fat content isn't quite as high as it would be if they were also deep-fried.

Greek yogurt overnight oats

If you haven't tried overnight oats, you're missing out. All overnight oats recipes start with three basic ingredients: old fashioned or steel cut oats, a milk of your choice, and Greek yogurt. After adding these three ingredients to a seal-able container (like a mason jar), you add toppings of your choice, such as fruit, nuts, seeds, or chocolate chips. Then, you place the containers in the fridge and let them sit overnight, or for up to a week. The milk and yogurt soften up the oats, and the flavors from the toppings seep into the mixture, creating a delicious, healthy breakfast.

And because you can let the jars sit in the fridge for several days, you can make a week's worth on Sunday night, creating grab-and-go breakfasts for the entire week. Recipe options are practically endless, but if you need a place to start, consider this recipe for cake batter protein oatmeal.

Greek yogurt pancakes

Speaking of breakfast, another awesome way to incorporate Greek yogurt into your diet is to use it in pancake batter. Plain Greek yogurt gives your batter a one-two punch of protein and tangy flavor, similar to buttermilk. Plus, the creamy texture makes the pancakes soft and moist. Try this recipe from Le Creme de La Crumb using whole wheat flour for a little extra fiber. If you're not a big pancake person, you can approach biscuits the same way. My all-time favorite biscuit recipe uses whole wheat flour and a full cup of plain Greek yogurt. Just top 'em with a little butter and honey for a tasty weekend treat.

Using Greek yogurt in recipes

Once you get used to adding Greek yogurt in place of other creamy condiments, you'll start wondering why it took you so long to start. From creamy dressings to soups to baked goods, Greek yogurt has a place in practically every kind of cooking. But if you're not sure where to start, check out this substitution guide from Cabot on how to start using Greek yogurt in place of everything from mayo and oil to ricotta cheese and heavy cream.