What are your best recipes with yogurt?
July 29, 2014 12:12 PM   Subscribe

I bought 2 pounds (the smallest size I could find) of plain whole milk yogurt, not realizing that there was an almost-empty container in the fridge. So now I have all this yogurt with a best-by date of August 5. What are your favorite ways to use it? I'm especially interested in vegetarian main dishes (bonus points for using CSA-type veggies), but would also like ways to pair it with chicken or fish.
posted by lharmon to Food & Drink (34 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
would also like ways to pair it with chicken or fish.

Tandoori chicken. Chicken pieces marinated for a day in yogurt and spices, and then roasted. Recipes abound.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:16 PM on July 29, 2014 [4 favorites]

Raita forever!
posted by foxfirefey at 12:16 PM on July 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

omg make doogh! Here's a recipe. I make it with carbonated water and aim for closer to a 1/2 ratio of yogurt than 1/3.

I also enjoy eating plain yogurt with chocolate bits mixed in it, as if it were chocolate chip ice cream.

You can also bake using yogurt as the fat. Pancakes made with yogurt are especially good, especially lemon pancakes.

I realize that these are not the dishes that you have specifically asked for but they are indeed great ways to use your yogurt.

But seriously about the doogh.
posted by phunniemee at 12:18 PM on July 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I cut up cucumbers, good tomatoes, and bell peppers, lightly salt them, and let them drain for a bit. Then mince garlic and a light fresh green herb (mint, cilantro, dill, parsley), mix that with the yogurt and a little salt, and mix in the veggies. It's unreasonably delicious, a great side dish for anything you want to eat in the summer, and if you add chopped grilled chicken or flaked salmon it is a great main dish.
posted by KathrynT at 12:19 PM on July 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

Substitute half the mayo with yogurt for cole slaw dressing. If you don't have cabbage in your CSA, you can make a type of slaw with beets, carrots, and broccoli. That's like, 1/2 cup of yogurt right there.

Eat topped with blueberries or whatever other berries are in season. That's like, 1/2 cup of yogurt.

Find a good dip recipe or make a tzatziki sauce. That's like, another 1/2 cup of yogurt.

Also, yogurt doesn't actually go bad that fast - that's the whole point of yogurt, it's a great way of keeping dairy for longer. So don't be afraid of eating it after August 5.

2 pounds of yogurt isn't that much, you can do this!
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. at 12:19 PM on July 29, 2014

Raita and tzatziki.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:20 PM on July 29, 2014 [4 favorites]

Colcannon (mashed potatoes and kale or cabbage) is especially good made with yogurt instead of cream. It's also good stirred into a lot of bean + tomato dishes - chana masala, black beans + peppers + onions + tomatoes cooked with cajun seasoning & similar spices (paprika, oregano, cumin, chili.)
posted by needs more cowbell at 12:20 PM on July 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh - and then you can make a raita on the side and use up even more yogurt that way.


And another idea - strained yogurt cheese, or "labneh". Dump into a colander lined with cheesecloth and let the whey drain off for a full day or so, then make little balls out of the resultant mush and layer them in a jar with some chopped herbs and then cover the whole shebang with olive oil. Makes a great appetizer, and keeps a long time (I still have some left over from a batch I made in the fall).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:20 PM on July 29, 2014 [7 favorites]

One of the best cooks I know swears by Mark Bittman's waffle recipe using the yogurt/milk substitution for buttermilk. They are incredible waffles. Waffles freeze well, and also pair nicely with chicken.
posted by troika at 12:20 PM on July 29, 2014 [3 favorites]

It doesn't use a ton of it, but ATK's Saag Paneer works fantastically with the buttermilk subbed out for plain yogurt. We also use the same recipe and technique with any other greens we can get our hands on, works well with kale, collards, spinach, mustard greens…just about anything really. With punchier greens, I tend to actually use a little more yogurt in fact. And if you want to get this recipe strictly in the weeknight cooking realm, you don't need to make the cheese yourself; queso fresco is a perfectly workably substitute for paneer. Our garden greens get made in to Saag more often than they don't; super CSA friendly.

And with plain yogurt, I wouldn't worry too much about the best by date, it's a fermented product. It might get a bit more sour, but it won't be inedible. You could stretch it another week or two even, as long as you keep it at a steady temperature.
posted by furnace.heart at 12:27 PM on July 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Pretty sure you could make some badass naan and kulcha with all that yogurt.

Actually, can I come visit you? I will eat it all for you.
posted by Hermione Granger at 12:35 PM on July 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I recently tried Alton Brown's vegetable curry, and it's really good.
posted by General Malaise at 12:35 PM on July 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

From an answer to my sour cream question just last night, it can be substituted in baking for any recipe that calls for sour cream. Not as nifty going the other way, but just passing that along.
posted by bluejayway at 12:42 PM on July 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh, I love Beet Borani! So yum!
posted by travelwithcats at 12:51 PM on July 29, 2014

Grilled vegetables with curry yogurt sauce! Something like this. You can use whatever veg you like (I love eggplant, squash, greenbeans) roast in the oven or grill or broil, add as much lime juice/honey/curry/seasonings to yogurt as you want, and fresh herbs. Delicious and healthy and great to make ahead for workweek lunches. This sauce is my favorite ratio and goes with everything.
posted by sarahnicolesays at 12:52 PM on July 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I used to subscribe to plated. One of my favorite meals from there was Chicken Tikka Masala. I don't even like yogurt. This recipe, however, turned out to be fantastic.

(I know you specified vegetarian dishes, but, as I'm not a yogurt fan, this was the only thing that came to mind.)
posted by tckma at 1:01 PM on July 29, 2014

I make a ratatouille and use plain yogurt plus paprika plus cayenne to make a sauce. It's terrific served over couscous. The recipe is fantastic because the ratatouille is temperature hot and flavor mild and the sauce is temperature cold and flavor hot, so they balance each other perfectly. I don't remember the exact proportions, but let me know if you'd like me to look it up.
posted by janey47 at 1:05 PM on July 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's still going to taste good and not make you sick for at least a week past its "best by" (which doesn't mean it will be inedible after that) August 5 date, assuming your fridge works. We get weekly yogurt in our veggie box and it sometimes takes us a while to catch up. Never had bad effects.
posted by rtha at 1:09 PM on July 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Similar to a raita, though soupier and with a slightly different flavor profile: Cacik.
posted by Janta at 1:11 PM on July 29, 2014

Pretty much any Indian curry that calls for cream you can substitute with yogurt. Even ones that don't call from it taste really good with some as a topping! You can make raita or slap it on plain. Dal (curried lentils) tastes AMAZING with plain yogurt on top.

You can also marinade chicken or other meats in yogurt, just add in some lime juice, salt, tumeric, cumin and maybe some cinnamon (all to taste). Cook them in a hot oven and you get tandoori :)

Then you can make Makhani butter sauce and serve it with the chicken and everyone will be impressed and badger you for the recipe.

4 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 c water
2 tbsp grated ginger (or 1 tbsp dried)
10 oz yogurt
1 tsp garam masala
3/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
1 jalepeno, seeded
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground (or just toast the pre-ground powder)
4 tbsp butter, melted

Whiz everything except the butter in a blender until it's pureed. Then slowly add this to the pot of melted butter while stirring to blend. Just heat through and you're done!

This sauce is killer with peas and chunks of fried paneer too :)
posted by ananci at 1:13 PM on July 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

Make this divine yogurt cream cake. It's a European recipe so for a 13"x9" pan I double the cake recipe and make the same amount of the yogurt cream. It's also great if you put some sliced fruit in between the cake and the cream.
posted by karbonokapi at 1:15 PM on July 29, 2014

If you're going to strain/drain yogurt (as advised above), use the whey in baking! I use 10 ounces of whey instead of the lager-water combo for Cook's Illustrated Almost No Knead bread. Some other uses for whey.

If you aren't going to bake right away, the whey will freeze well.
posted by maudlin at 1:35 PM on July 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Make homemade frozen yogurt! Then it will keep.
posted by three_red_balloons at 2:29 PM on July 29, 2014

Freezing - You can also freeze the yogurt in ice cube trays or in a plastic freezer bag pressed flat. Pull out a few ice cubes or break off a piece from the freezer bag and use in smoothies.

Fruit Smoothies - great with yogurt.

Veggie Smoothies - Lately, I've been making green smoothies - perhaps even salad smoothie - with CSA ingredients and a big dollop of yogurt: something like 1/2 cucumber, several pieces of romaine, an acid like lemon or vinegar, few sprinkles of salt, garlic or green onion optional, green herbs say either dill or cilantro, a tomato if that sounds right though it turns brown (green plus red, you know). Celery is good too. Blend very smooth (better blender works best) with a splash or so of water so the texture is thin not thick, then add a handful of ice cubes and blend so it is fresh and cold. Good without the yogurt too. I feel so good after one of these. Think of it as drinkable gazpacho.
posted by RoadScholar at 2:33 PM on July 29, 2014

Flavor it (put it in a blender w/some fruit) and then dry it (dehydrator or warm oven), and you get yogurt fruit leather, yum!

Or my favorite is to mix the yogurt 50/50 with sorbet (mango is the best) in the blender for a wonderful summer smoothie.
posted by jpeacock at 3:22 PM on July 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

We really liked these Smoky and Spicy Yogurt Chicken kabobs. I didn't have all of the spices listed so I just substituted what I had. We used chicken breasts instead of thighs.

Also this Spinach and Feta Gozleme was divine.
posted by Kangaroo at 3:31 PM on July 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I love this recipe for Crispy Yogurt Chicken, which sort of a healthier version of fried chicken. You coat pieces of chicken in yogurt mixed with garlic, lemon, and parsley, and then roll it in panko bread crumbs, and bake it in the oven. It is so delicious, and a great way to use up yogurt. I know this isn't vegetarian, but it is really good.

Not a main dish, but I also really like this blueberry muffin recipe which uses yogurt as one of the ingredients.

Finally, I haven't tried any of these out personally, but if you're interested in making yogurt ice pops, there are several recipes here and here.
posted by litera scripta manet at 5:00 PM on July 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

French Yogurt Cake
posted by wcfields at 6:09 PM on July 29, 2014

My coworker had salad today that had blueberries and diced apples mixed with yogurt and granola. It was yummy.
posted by stormyteal at 6:51 PM on July 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Came in to say "It's still going to taste good and not make you sick for at least a week past its "best by"" except with "at least a month." I have had old yoghurt improve -- better flavour, thicker consistency...

That and labneh as already mentioned. Delicious, versatile.
posted by kmennie at 7:13 PM on July 29, 2014

Mix it with white rice.

Use as a substitute for sour cream in Mexican recipes.
posted by redlines at 7:23 PM on July 29, 2014

Oh, there's also a super-easy parfait-type dessert thing I do, where you don't really even need a recipe, you just sort of....make it. It's based on cranachan, which is a Scottish thing.

Take any fruit you want (about 4 ounces per serving); stew it just a tiny bit in a pan with a little lemon juice and a tiny bit of sugar, and any spices if you want (if you're using raspberries, you don't even need to do that, just mush them in a bowl slightly). Then take 1/4 cup of cream per serving and whip it into whipped cream; fold in about 1/4 cup of yogurt per serving. Then you layer the fruit in a serving glass with the whipped cream/yogurt blend. Let that chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

You can spike the whipped cream/yogurt mix with booze if you want, or crumble up some cookies or grind up some nuts and layer them in with the fruit as well.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:27 AM on July 30, 2014

would also like ways to pair it with chicken or fish.
I serve chicken or fish with a mixture (to taste) of plain yogurt, lemon juice (&/or cider vinegar), tahini, garlic & cumin (if you have it), watered down to the desired consistency.

Also makes a great dip for veggies or salad dressing.
posted by editorgrrl at 11:28 AM on July 31, 2014

It will be ok to eat well past August 5. However you can introduce mould into the container by using a spoon or whatever that's not quite clean, so don't do that.
posted by glasseyes at 9:04 AM on August 1, 2014

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