Greek yogurt is a nutritional superstar. It has less sugar and nearly twice as much protein as regular yogurt, and the added bonus of a creamier texture.
"It's more like the thickness of mayo or cream cheese," says Michelle Dudash, a registered dietician and author of "Clean Eating for Busy Families."
Everything we love about it comes from the unique straining process used to separate the whey and lactose from the rest of the mixture, making it perfect for cooking and baking.
"It has less liquid so it doesn't separate," says Dudash.
And the thickness and tangy flavor make it the perfect swap for mayo, sour cream and other fattening dairy products in these 15 recipes.
TAKE THE DEVIL OUT OF YOUR EGGS: What makes deviled eggs so sinister? Mayo. Use Greek yogurt instead for the same flavor without the guilt. "You're going to get the extra protein, calcium and save on calories, fat, and saturated fat," says Allison Enke, a dietitian for Whole Foods Market.
MIX A CHEESECAKE: Typical recipes can use a pound or more of cream cheese, but you can replace all or part of it with yogurt. Oikos's recipe use half cream cheese and half vanilla Greek yogurt.
GET CREAMINESS WITHOUT THE FAT: Cream-based sauces are a flat-belly foe. Get the creaminess you crave -- and pack your pasta with belly-filling protein -- by nixing the cheese and cream and stirring in Greek yogurt instead. To avoid curdling, add the yogurt after you remove the entire dish from the stove, says Dudash.
MARINATE CHICKEN AND FISH: Marinate meat and seafood with seasoning and Greek yogurt instead of oil. You'll cut fat and keep your dish moist and tender.
DRESS WAFFLES AND PANCAKES: Put a refreshing twist on a breakfast staple by topping waffles and pancakes with a few dollops of yogurt instead of syrup. It adds protein in addition to cutting calories and sugar.
LIGHTEN SIDE DISHES: Whip up moist mashed potatoes by swapping in nonfat yogurt for a portion of the butter in your favorite recipes.
TOP TACOS AND CHILI: The next time you reach for the sour cream, opt for Greek yogurt instead. Use it to dress your tacos and chili for the same tangy taste and save 15 calories.
ADD PROTEIN TO SMOOTHIES: Triple the amount of protein in one smoothie by using Greek yogurt instead of milk. A berry smoothie can be whipped up in minutes with frozen berries, juice, and nonfat yogurt.
SLIM YOUR FAVORITE DRESSING: Nix the mayo the next time you whip up a tub of ranch dressing. Not only will you cut hundreds of calories, but you'll boost the protein and eliminate the fat if you swap in nonfat plain Greek yogurt.
MIX A SOUP: Add creamy texture to soups by topping it with yogurt or swirling in a few tablespoons after you remove the mixture from heat.
SLIM COOKIES AND CAKES: For every cup of butter you use in recipes for baked goods, use half and substitute the rest with a quarter cup of Chobani.
SLIM SUMMER SALADS: Substituting Greek yogurt for a portion of the mayo in recipes for potato, tuna and macaroni salads is an easy way to cut calories. Just mix it in with your favorite seasonings and spices. Try adding chopped fresh herbs and garlic.
MAKE GUACAMOLE NUTRIENT-RICH: Turn your guac into super-guac by mixing in a few spoons of yogurt. It helps add a creamy texture plus a boost of calcium.