Yogurt instead of Mayo for the win!

Greek Yogurt instead of Mayo

I like to view healthy eating as a bit of a game.   See, I’m a foodie and absolutely love a well-crafted, delicious meal.  But I also love how I feel when I eat a healthful meal.

It becomes a fun challenge to try to combine the two into a truly great meal.

Sometimes, it’s as simple as finding a tasty and good-for-you recipe.  Other times, it’s about making creative substitutions.

The best kind of substitution is one in which you can swap out a Really Bad Food™ with a Really Good Food™ and find that it tastes just as good — if not better!

As you likely know, mayonnaise is one of the most fat-laden, calorie dense foods out there.

Case in point:  A good friend of mine once told me that his college roommate used to eat mayonnaise right out of the jar; he was a broke rock climber, you see, and found that mayo gave him the most calories for his buck.  Yuck!

Personally, I think that low-fat mayonnaise tastes downright awful, even when it’s “hidden” in other foods.  Instead, I’ve been enjoying Greek Yogurt as a spectacular substitute for mayo. It’s much thicker than regular yogurt — almost like a custard or a mascarpone cheese — and is much higher in protein.

One of my favorites is Fage Fat-Free Greek Yogurt, though unfortunately it’s not certified Organic.  (It’s pronounced “Fa-Yeh,” by the way).  Trader Joe’s also sells good 0% Greek Style Yogurts (both Organic and Not), but I find they’re a bit tarter than the Fage. There are a few other brands out there as well, of course, so go with whatever you find and/or prefer.

I should point out that I’m not telling you to never eat mayo.  I’m just saying that when you do, make it count — don’t use it as an ingredient where it  “disappears” into the recipe.

So here’s my “Hooray, it’s the weekend!” gift to you:  Two recipes in which the yogurt sub works particularly well.  You’ll never miss the mayo.

Salmon Salad

Wild Alaskan Salmon Salad
  • 1 can (6 ounces) Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon
  • (Although it's found in pretty much any well-stocked grocery store, it can be pricey. Costco sells a good one in packs of six; you can also get it at Trader Joe's. Make sure it's packed in water, not oil. Even better: Get it with no-salt-added*.)
  • 1 stalk Celery, chopped
  • ⅓ cup Fat-Free Greek-Style Yogurt
  • ½ tsp. Mustard
  • ¼ tsp. Dill
  • Pinch of Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
  • Other items you can throw in for some crunch, color, and nutrients: Chopped Red Bell Pepper, Onion, Cucumber, Jalapeño... you get the idea.
  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. Serve half the mixture rolled up in a 100% Whole Wheat Tortilla with a leaf of lettuce and some diced tomato (or however else you like).
* Trader Joe's charges twenty cents more for the salt-free variety. Seems kind of backwards if you ask me, but, well, drop the two extra dimes and keep your blood pressure a bit lower.

Spinach Artichoke Dip
  • 1 can Artichoke Hearts, rinsed, drained, and chopped
  • ½ cup chopped, cooked frozen Spinach (thawed)
  • ½ cup Fat-Free Greek-Style Yogurt
  • ¼ cup low-fat Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • ¼ cup Shredded Parmesan, Romano, and/or Asiago Cheese
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder (not garlic salt)
  • Pinch of Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
  1. In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine all ingredients.
  2. Heat on high in the microwave, in 30-45 second increments, stirring each time to be sure it heats evenly.
  3. Alternately, you can double the recipe and bake in a casserole dish at 350° for 30 minutes, covered.
  4. Sprinkle a little more mozzarella on top and bake uncovered at 450° for about 8 more minutes, until the cheese is browned.
Serve with 100% Whole Wheat Bread, Ak-Mak Crackers, or a few Reduced-Fat Triscuit Crackers.

Do you have a great yogurt-for-mayonnaise idea?  Please share it in the comments or email it to me at andrew@eatingrules.com.

Total” © 2009 chrisinplymouth, used under creative commons license.

, , ,

36 Responses to Yogurt instead of Mayo for the win!

  1. Ellie March 2, 2013 at 8:00 am #

    I have been using Fage instead of sour cream on baked potato, in tuna and chicken salad, I mix it with frozen fruit for a great dessert, and I make salad dressings with it as my creamy base. Great with dill and cucumber! I think this is just the beginning since I love to experiment.

  2. Amy March 2, 2013 at 5:45 am #

    Thanks for the recipes, I was looking to sub the mayo in my baked salmon and smoked whitefish salad. I really dislike mayo, so much rather keep a large plain non-fat Greek yogurt in the refrigerator.

  3. Lisa October 17, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    Thanks Andrew,
    I’m sure it will help.

  4. Lisa October 17, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    I have recently found out I have high cholesterol and amy trying to find the mayo substitute for whatever mayo is required in or on, how does this Greek yoghurt (or any low-fat plain yoghurt) translate to the requirements for low cholesterol eating?
    Thanks for the input. Much appreciated

    • Andrew October 17, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

      Hi Lisa,

      I believe that “good” fats and “bad” fats are going to make far more difference on your heart health than your dietary cholesterol intake. BUT I certainly don’t want to give you advice that goes counter to your doctor’s recommendations — and the good news is, I don’t have to! I just checked and the Fage 0% Yogurt has no cholesterol. That’s also my favorite Greek yogurt to use, since it is less tart than other brands I’ve tried.

      If you use the Classic (full fat) yogurt, it’s 25mg per cup.

      Hope that helps!

  5. leslie October 7, 2012 at 10:14 am #

    can plain greek yogurt be used in a basic crab salad? Should I cut back on the amount since the recipe also calls for dijon. My dr. has put me on a low carb, whole food diet and I need ideas for ways to substitute “bad habits” for “good habits”. I’m the primary cook for the house so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • Andrew October 7, 2012 at 10:23 am #

      I bet plain Greek Yogurt would be great in a crab salad! I’d recommend Fage brand for this, if you can find it – I’ve found it’s the most “neutral” flavored (not quite as tart) as many of the others. Try adding a little bit less, along with the mustard, and give it a taste. Easy to add more!

  6. Sally October 3, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    I also use Fage in tuna salad. I don’t have exact measurements for my recipe (sorry) but I blend in onion powder and a fairly light sprinkle of celery salt. Yum! A little white pepper can be added to that also. Blend yogurt and spices first, then add tuna and break up large tuna pieces so they’re well coated… then add any vegetables such as onion, cucumber, tomato (diced), shredded carrot, celery etc. My son and I had created this “GARDEN TUNA” originally with mayo. This was a terrific solution to get him to eat a nice variety of veggies. Making the transition to yogurt was easy- these few spices gives it enough “zip”. Doubtful I’ll ever return to mayo. : )
    P.S. READ your tuna can! Soy seems to be in most of them- probably GMOs.

  7. Ellie Naill August 7, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    I love Tuna salad and Greek yogurt, Fage is also my favorite. Thanks to your site I am having them together with gluten free crackers for lunch. I guess I should be eating it on those abundant cucumbers from the garden.. gotta try that!. I am wondering if I can get this past my hubby?Thx.

  8. Andrea June 15, 2012 at 9:45 am #

    Thanks for all the great tips…from everyone. I’m trying a new Broccoli, Grape, Pecan Pasta Salad today and am substituting greek-yogurt (also whole wheat pasta). So excited to try it!

  9. Chari June 3, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    I love your friend Dana! That is the BEST, but very happy for your ideas to help me cut down on my love for mayo.


  1. The Effortless Diet: Healthy Substitutions For The Most Unhealthy Cooking Ingredients | Lifehacker Australia - April 7, 2013

Leave a Reply