Thursday, April 13, 2023

Creative ways to use yogurt in honor of Pack the Pantries initiative


Central Indiana food pantries have seen a dramatic increase in demand over the past year due to skyrocketing grocery prices, general inflation, and the recent spike in gas prices. Nearly 1 million Hoosiers are food insecure, meaning they don’t have consistent access to nutritious and affordable food, and one in six Indiana residents goes to bed hungry every night.

Each year, FOX59 and CBS4 team up with Midwest Food Bank and Gleaners Food Bank for an initiative called "Pack the Pantries." They are requesting financial donations, rather than food donations, because Gleaners and Midwest can buy in bulk at wholesale prices, which allows them to stretch the dollar much further.

A donation of just $1 provides about 5 meals. A $10 gift provides 50 meals and $25 covers 125 meals. Find out more information about how to donate here.

I spoke with a representative from Midwest Food Bank about which items they have trouble moving off their shelves. The representative told me it would be helpful to share creative ways to use yogurt. "We get a lot of yogurt—probiotic, low-fat, dairy alternatives, flavored, vanilla, soy. I think showing ways it can be used in recipes both savory and sweet would be great."

So I created a sweet and savory yogurt bowl recipe and a sweet and savory yogurt dip recipe.

The best part about the bowl recipes is they're filling enough to be an entire meal, and they're easily customizable, with fresh, frozen, or canned ingredients.

There are many benefits to eating yogurt: it's rich in important nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin B12; it's high in protein which is great for appetite regulation and helping us feel full; and some varieties benefit digestive health.

So what is a yogurt bowl? It's yogurt in a bowl with mix-ins. You can mix everything together or leave it all in layers on top. I like using plain whole milk Greek yogurt because I love how thick and rich it is, but any type of yogurt or yogurt alternative will work.

I'm going to share two sweet yogurt bowl examples and one savory yogurt bowl example. I included ingredient measurements, but these recipes aren't meant to be followed exactly as written. You can change the ingredients based on taste preference and availability.

PB&J Yogurt Bowl

Yield: 1 serving

Time: 5 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons strawberry or raspberry jam
  • 2 Tablespoons creamy or crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 Tablespoons granola


  1. Add yogurt to bowl 
  2. Layer toppings over yogurt

Tropical Yogurt Bowl

Yield: 1 serving

Time: 5 minutes


  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 1/4 cup pineapple or mango, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted


  1. Add yogurt to bowl 
  2. Layer toppings over yogurt

Most of the savory yogurt bowls I make take on a Mediterranean / Middle Eastern vibe, probably because it's similar to the dish fatteh, which has Egyptian roots and people have been eating it for centuries. I love savory yogurt bowls because the yogurt soaks up all the flavors from the toppings while also providing a creamy, tangy element to the dish.

Savory yogurt bowl

Yield: 2 servings

Time: 5 minutes


For the base

  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons tahini
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the mix-ins

  • Farro or brown rice
  • Sweet potatoes, diced, roasted
  • Chicken, baked, diced
  • Tofu, cubed, baked
  • Chickpeas, drained, roasted
  • Red onion, finely sliced
  • Cucumbers, thinly sliced into half moons
  • Pita bread, torn into 1-inch pieces, toasted
  • Fresh herbs
  1. Mix the base ingredients together. 
  2. Spread on large platter or divide into bowls.
  3. Layer desired mix-ins on top.

Yogurt dips are a great way to get a healthy boost while also motivating you to eat more fruits and vegetables. I'm sharing a sweet and savory option.

Key Lime Yogurt Dip

Yield: About 2 cups

Time: 5 minutes


  • 12 ounces yogurt
  • Zest from 1 lime
  • Juice from 1 lime (2 Tablespoons)
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup or honey (optional)


  1. Mix ingredients together.
  2. Serve with graham crackers, strawberries, or other fruit.

Kale Yogurt Dip

Yield: About 2 cups

Time: 5 minutes


  • 12 ounces plain yogurt
  • 2 cups kale, de-stemmed, shredded, massaged
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Mix ingredients together.
  2. Serve with pita, chips, carrots, peppers, or other vegetables.


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