Tips & Tricks

Greek Yogurt Substitute for Mediterranean Dishes

Published on

8.17.2022

by

Looking for a Greek yogurt substitute for the next Mediterranean recipe you cook? You can’t go wrong with the options you’ll find here.

Greek yogurt is a delicious, creamy, and healthy addition to many Mediterranean dishes. This form of yogurt gives Mediterranean meals a lovely tangy flavor — but what if you don't have any Greek yogurt in the fridge or can’t eat it due to dietary restrictions? The substitutes we'll cover in this post are the perfect solutions.

What Is Greek Yogurt?

Greek yogurt is a type of strained yogurt that originated in Greece. It's made by draining the whey from regular yogurt, which makes it thick and creamy. Greek yogurt has a slightly tangy taste and a higher protein content than regular yogurt.

Why Would You Need a Substitute for Greek Yogurt?

If you're following a recipe to the letter, you may not have Greek yogurt on hand — or you may be looking for an alternative to Greek yogurt to match your palate or dietary needs.

Greek yogurt is high in saturated fat, so if you're watching your fat intake, you may want to choose a Greek yogurt substitute instead. In addition, it's a dairy product, which means it's off the table for most of our lactose-intolerant friends.

However, some lactose-intolerant folks find that Greek yogurt sits better with them than other dairy products. This may be due to the fermentation process used to make Greek yogurt, which breaks down some of the lactose.

Some other reasons you might want to skip the Greek yogurt include:

You're Vegan

Greek yogurt is an animal-derived food. While it's perfectly acceptable on a vegetarian diet, dairy is definitely not part of a vegan diet. Luckily, there are dairy-free alternatives to Greek yogurt, including store-bought and homemade varieties like almond milk yogurt, cashew yogurt, and coconut yogurt.

You're Allergic to Dairy

Dairy allergies are more common than you might think. Being allergic to dairy is different from being lactose-intolerant. People with dairy allergies have an immune reaction to the proteins in milk, which can sometimes be severe.

Greek yogurt contains these same proteins, so it's best to avoid Greek yogurt if you're allergic to dairy.

Greek Yogurt Is Too Tangy for You

Some people find Greek yogurt to be too sour or tart. If that's the case for you, don't worry — there are several substitutes that will better suit your tastes. Milder alternatives include cottage cheese, cream cheese, and mayonnaise.

The best Greek yogurt substitutes will be creamy, high in protein, and a bit less tangy. They should also be easy to find at your local grocery store.

What Mediterranean Recipes Include Greek Yogurt?

Greek yogurt is used as an ingredient in many Mediterranean dishes, both sweet and savory. Some of our favorites, which you'll find recipes for on our Cooking Page, include:

As you can see, Greek yogurt is a remarkably common ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine, and it's easy to see why. It's flavorful, packed with protein, and from the region where Mediterranean food originates.

However, not everyone has access to Greek yogurt or is able to eat it. So, what can you put in your favorite Mediterranean meal to stand in for this ingredient? We have a few reliable options for you.

Our Favorite Greek Yogurt Substitutes for Mediterranean Food

Below, we've compiled a simple list of the Greek yogurt substitutes that we'd use in our own kitchens. Some of these ingredients are still dairy-based, while others fit into a vegan diet. Whichever you choose, you can't go wrong.

Plain Yogurt

Plain yogurt is, of course, the most similar Greek yogurt substitute on this list. It's got a slightly thinner consistency than Greek yogurt, but it's still rich and creamy. The texture lends itself well to Mediterranean recipes, even if it's not quite as authentic as Greek yogurt.

To make plain yogurt more like Greek yogurt, you can strain it through a cheesecloth-lined strainer for a few hours. This will remove some of the whey and make the yogurt thicker.

Greek yogurt is typically made with whole milk, so using whole milk plain yogurt will also help to thicken things up. Of course, it's best to skip yogurt that's flavored with fruit or vanilla extracts — those add-ins definitely don't complement the flavor profile of a typical Mediterranean meal!

Skyr

Skyr is a type of Icelandic yogurt that's become pretty popular in recent years. Like Greek yogurt, it's high in protein and has a thick, creamy texture. It's also one of the most unique entries on our list.

This is an excellent substitute because it can be used in all the same ways as Greek yogurt. It's perfect for dipping, spreading on toast, or adding to smoothies, and it also fits right into a Mediterranean recipe.

The only downside of skyr is that it can be a bit harder to find than Greek yogurt. If your local grocery store doesn't carry it, you may have to order it online. As you might've guessed, it can be a bit pricey, but it's worth it to try skyr at least once.

Coconut Yogurt

If you're looking for a Greek yogurt substitute that's vegan, try coconut yogurt. This dairy-free option is made with coconut milk and has a similar consistency to Greek yogurt.

Coconut yogurt can be used in all the same ways as Greek yogurt, but it does have a slightly different flavor. If you're not a fan of coconut, you may want to try another plant-based Greek yogurt alternative.

Almond Milk Yogurt

Almond milk yogurt is a Greek yogurt substitute that's dairy-free and vegan. It has a similar consistency to Greek yogurt and can be used interchangeably with its dairy-based relative.

Soy Yogurt

Soy yogurt is another common Greek yogurt alternative that fits into a vegan or dairy-free lifestyle. It's made with soy milk and has a similar consistency to Greek yogurt. However, soy yogurt does have a slightly different flavor than Greek yogurt, so keep that in mind when making your selection.

The flavor difference can easily be masked by spices and sauces in your Mediterranean cooking, but everyone's palate is different. Some people notice the soy yogurt aftertaste immediately, while others can't tell the difference.

Which Greek Yogurt Substitute Should I Pick?

The Greek yogurt substitute you choose will depend on your personal preferences and dietary needs. All of the substitutes on our list are worth trying, so it's up to you to decide which one is best for your meals.

If you're looking for a Greek yogurt alternative that's high in protein, go for ricotta cheese, tofu, or plain yogurt. If you want a dairy-free Greek yogurt substitute, try coconut yogurt, almond milk yogurt, or soy yogurt.

Unfortunately, if you're looking for an authentic Greek yogurt experience without the real deal, there's really only one option — strained plain yogurt. While it might not be the exact same thing, it's pretty close!

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are plenty of Greek yogurt substitutes to choose from, so there's no need to worry about not being able to cook your favorite meals without this common ingredient.

When cooking your next Mediterranean recipe, don't be afraid to experiment with different substitutes until you find one that you like. With so many options available, there's bound to be a Greek yogurt alternative that's perfect for your taste buds.

Of course, you'll find all the inspiration and recipes you need on the Jow Cooking Page, which is available for free for your viewing (and eating) pleasure. 

You can also make sure you have all your ingredients by using our personal grocery shopper. Tell us about your household size, and we can get enough ingredients to feed everyone at home. You can also add anything else you need like laundry detergent, toothpaste, paper towels, and more for easy one-stop shopping. Then, you can go pick your items up at the store or have them delivered.

It’s super easy and convenient to give you more time for the important moments in your life.

Similar Articles

Cook This

Weekly Menu: September 25 - October 1

What's on Jow's menu this week!?

Cook This

A Sweet Tradition to Celebrate Rosh Hashanah

Whether you've never heard of Rosh Hashanah or you celebrate it each year, everyone can learn a thing or two about the holiday. Read about the symbolic foods eaten to celebrate the Jewish New Year!

Cook This

Weekly Menu: September 18 - 24

What's on Jow's menu this week!?