Greek yogurt invaded supermarkets. Chobani, which the Washington Post calls the best-known brand, saw its sales explode in its first five years from about $3 million to more than $1 billion in 2012, the newspaper reported.
There is good reason Greek yogurt is a fierce competitor when it comes to regular yogurt. It is creamier, akin to mousse, has significantly more protein and less sugar. Many nonfat varieties have been introduced in the marketplace as well in the last few years.
The higher protein content (often 12 to 15 grams per serving compared to 5 grams in many regular yogurts) makes it not only a worthy snack, but a good foundation for a main course. It is the production process itself that is responsible for the better nutrition profile.
The Los Angeles area (including Beverly Hills and Santa Monica) boasts Go Greek, a small chain that prepares its own fresh regular and frozen Greek yogurts in both savory and sweet made-to-order dishes. That’s a rarity, however, inquiring at local Greek restaurants as to whether they make their own yogurt is a way to taste fresh versions nationwide. Also, tzatziki, one of Go Greek’s offerings, a Greek staple, served with pita bread and raw vegetables for dipping, is available at most Greek restaurants and includes cucumber, mint, garlic, lemon juice, salt and crushed black pepper.
Some of Go Greek’s simple, yet flavorful, creations that follow can provide inspiration for dressing up supermarket versions (either plain or flavored) at home, and result in adding even more superfoods to the mix than just the Greek yogurt itself. All ingredients are to taste.
FLORINA: Raisins, apple, pecan, cinnamon, flaxseed and Greek honey.
DODONI: Sundried tomatoes, fresh basil, feta, pine nuts, olive oil, cumin, salt and crushed black pepper.
ACESO: Mango, avocado, Serrano chili pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, hemp seeds, salt and crushed black pepper.
HERMES: Dates, walnut, cacao nib, dark chocolate shaving, carob syrup and Greek honey.
MEGAS: Strawberry, banana, walnut, flaxseed, dark chocolate shavings and Greek honey.
AFTER-WORK GOURMET COOKBOOK SHELF
If you want to give “wheat meat” a thorough try, or, if you’ve only tasted packaged versions and wondered what homemade might be like, noted Chef Tommy McDonald’s 100 vegan recipe collection in “Field Roast” offers lots of tasty practice. He calls his recipes “artisan” for good reason. Packaged versions are usually plain, McDonald’s recipes are anything but and it’s most likely the flavors that will linger rather than the fact that you skipped meat. After learning to prepare your own vegan charcuterie, you’ll feast on spicy sausage, five-alarm chili, burgundy stew and specialties like pate de Campagne.
Lisa Messinger is a first-place winner in food writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the author of seven food books, including “Mrs. Cubbison’s Best Stuffing Cookbook” and “The Sourdough Bread Bowl Cookbook.”