Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium that is even often well-tolerated by the lactose intolerant, but it's also one of those foods that people rarely get excited about. But that doesn't have to be the case. By taking advantage of the wide variety of tastes and textures available in various foods, yogurt can be flavored to suit anyone's tastes.
While I'm focusing on yogurt particularly as a breakfast food here, it is definitely more of a multi-tasker than that! Feel free to expand on the ideas presented here to use yogurt in everything from creamy salad dressings to tangy dessert toppings.
While there are a wide variety of flavored yogurts available on the market, there is something to be said for being in control of the ingredients, taste and texture of the final product. In that spirit, I highly recommend that you begin with plain yogurt -- I usually choose a low fat version that has a nice tang and a creamy texture. From there, the options are only limited by your imagination! Here are a few of my favorite stir-in, topping and layering flavor combinations:
- Try spooning a little jam or all-fruit spread into the bottom of a bowl and adding yogurt. It's an instant fruit-in-the-bottom option!
- Toasted nuts or coconut make lovely toppings for yogurt and a little goes a long way. Toasting them increases the flavor without increasing calories.
- Filling a parfait glass with alternating layers of fruit, granola and yogurt makes a breakfast treat that almost seems like a dessert.
- Something as simple as swirling in a little honey, maple syrup or vanilla extract can spruce up a bowl of yogurt -- add some raisins or other dried fruit to make it really special.
- One of my morning treats is made by mixing leftover rice with yogurt and maple syrup. It's almost like a creamy rice pudding!
- Fruit is a favorite with yogurt. One of my favorite combinations involved cooking fresh and dried fruit together to create a compote that carries a lot of flavor and also softens the dried fruit as well. A recipe that features two of my favorite combinations follows.
- 1 c. frozen cranberries (or peaches)
- 1/2 c. fruit juice -- choose a 100% fruit blend that appeals to you
- 1/3 c. sugar
- 1 tsp. orange zest
- 1 grapefruit (or 1 c. frozen blueberries)
- 1 c. dried tart cherries (or 1 c. chopped dried apricots)
Combine the frozen cranberries (or peaches) with the fruit juice, sugar, and orange zest in a saucepan over medium heat. When the fruit has softened and the mixture is bubbly, remove from the heat. Remove the skin and pith from the grapefruit and cut the segments from their membranes. Add the grapefruit segments (or frozen blueberries) to the saucepan along with the dried cherries (or dried apricots). Return to the heat for 5 minutes or until the mixture is warmed through. Stir into yogurt, layer with yogurt and nuts or use to top yogurt, ice cream or waffles.
- Yields: 6 servings
- Preparation Time: 30 minutes