8 Healthy Greek Yogurt-Based Desserts That Don’t Use Refined Sugar
Before Greek yogurt hit U.S. dairy shelves, this thick, creamy yogurt had been a staple in Greece for several centuries, where it’s known simply as straggisto (which makes sense — French fries are “frites” in France, after all, and a Philly cheesesteak is just a cheesesteak when you’re in Philadelphia). While the Greek yogurts we recently taste-tested varied in flavor (ranging from sharp to mild) they were all made similarly, using the traditional method of straining the whey that results in a thicker texture than conventional yogurt. But no matter which Greek yogurt flavor profile prefer, they all have a place in these Greek summer dessert recipes.
This out-of-the-ordinary tiramisu is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at any summer soirée. Not only is it grain- and gluten-free, but its blending of ingredients from Mexican, Greek, Italian, and Asian cultures will make for good conversation, too. The Kahlua and cinnamon play well against the tartness of the Greek yogurt and the sweetness of the honey (no other sugars involved — not even in the homemade ladyfingers!). We’d recommend topping with seasonal berries and mint leaves before serving, as pictured.
This cake is moist, fluffy, uses just one bowl, and requires only a small handful of ingredients — that’s our kind of treat. It’s also low-carb and gluten-free, which makes it a great fit as a treat for a lot of people with certain dietary restrictions. We think this would be great served with a barely-sweetened cream cheese frosting and a few generous handfuls of fresh, seasonal berries.
Most mousse recipes start by whipping egg whites until stiff before folding into a decadent custard-like mixture. The process here is totally different (to start with, there are zero eggs in this recipe), but the Greek yogurt in this recipe results in an equally rich and creamy texture, while the splash of amaretto brings out the chocolate and sweetness from the maple syrup. This one is a new favorite of ours, for sure.
Okay, we’re still quite a ways from pumpkin spice season, but just because it’s summer doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the occasional pumpkin-y treat. (Also, this parfait is just a great base, and the pumpkin can very easily be swapped with fresh, seasonal blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries instead.) Honestly, this treat is so nutritious you could easily have it as a pretty healthy breakfast, especially if you throw in a little almond butter for some added protein.
This summer, you can walk right on past the Fudgsicles in the frozen aisle — and whip up a batch of these Greek yogurt pops instead. They’re low in fat, rich and chocolatey, and sweetened with only maple syrup. That’s a big, healthy step up from the gums, gels, and oils found in the commercial brands.
This sorbet is all about seasonal summer fruits and it’s so simple to make: we’re in love. Just take the fruit of your choice (we’re into peaches and mangoes right now), place them in a food processor with honey or agave, lemon juice, and Greek yogurt, blend to a creamy consistency, and freeze until just firm. That’s literally all there is to this summer sorbet — and trust us, nothing more is needed!
Another cultural recipe mash-up, Italian panna cotta is one of those desserts that a lot of people shy away from making because of how intimidating it appears — it just somehow effortlessly looks so elegant, doesn’t it? But this version is surprisingly quick and easy to make and requires just a handful of ingredients. We’ll acknowledge this particular recipe isn’t the healthiest on this list, but since the Greek yogurt takes the place of half of the usual amount of heavy cream found in traditional recipes, it’s definitely a healthier version. The strawberry topping is a perfect match for this tart, vanilla panna cotta, but would be equally delightful sprinkled with chopped nuts and a drizzle of honey.
Some may recognize the inspiration behind this recipe and instantly be reminded of an American favorite: ambrosia salad. The creamy fruit salad that originated in the South in the 1800s and was popular at parties during the 50s through the 80s can still be found in the deli section of most supermarkets today. This is a much healthier version that still provides a lot of the texture and flavor of the original. The Greek yogurt brings all the tang that the sour cream usually would, and the honey coupled with the elevated fruit choices (sorry, Maraschino cherries and tinned Mandarin oranges) truly makes it a successful, modern take on the classic.
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