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There are several types of yogurt salad dressing. They range from the very simple, with the yogurt replacing oil in a basic vinaigrette, to an elaborate mix of sweet and sour ingredients. The style of yogurt that is used can make a difference in the final product, with Greek yogurt providing a thicker, creamier dressing and low-fat yogurt creating a thinner mixture. The texture makes it possible for some yogurt salad dressing to double as a vegetable dip. The combinations are nearly limitless, with the only restrictions being the tastes of the chef.
The yogurt used to form the base can help to steer the flavor of a yogurt salad dressing toward a desired end. Normal yogurt provides a slightly tart base and creaminess. Greek yogurt does not have as strong of a tart flavor and will generate a thicker sauce. Fat-free or light yogurts tend to be a little looser than the others and flow more easily. Finally, there are yogurts that have ingredients such as fruit added to them that can be used as a shortcut for a sweet dressing.
The most basic type of yogurt salad dressing is vinaigrette. This combines yogurt, an acid such as lemon juice and some herbs. The herbs can be anything, although chives and parsley are popular additions. This simple dressing can be used on nearly any salad to give a rich, sharp flavor.
A slightly more complex yogurt salad dressing can be made by adding balsamic vinegar instead of lemon or lime. The balsamic flavor mixes well with the dairy taste of the yogurt. To make the dressing more savory, Dijon mustard can be added. This creates a strong dressing that can be used on top of salads that will be served with meat.
There is a type of sweet and sour yogurt salad dressing, as well. This combines the yogurt — preferably Greek — with soy sauce and honey. A small amount of sugar also can be added, if necessary. Salads that have nuts or dried fruits in them will combine well with this dressing.
A more substantial yogurt salad dressing that also can double as a dip uses olive oil with the yogurt, as well as limes, onion and tomatoes. Parsley, salt and pepper round out the ingredients. There is a certain amount of bite because of the onions in this dressing, as well as some sweetness from the tomatoes. This can be served over a mescaline mix or poured over a warm salad.
@Scrbblchick -- I'll have to try the yogurt for chicken salad. Sounds great!
I did a fruit salad back in the summer and it used a vanilla Greek yogurt, orange juice (from the orange), orange zest and then I also used the pulp in the dressing. It was really, really good. Great for a hot, summer day.
I like a yogurt-based dressing for fruit salad, anyway. There's one that is mixed with a little cream cheese and orange. It's good, too. I think that recipe uses frozen orange juice, but you could add the zest of an orange, too. That would work very well, I think.
I use plain Greek yogurt and season it and use it for chicken salad. I prefer it to mayonnaise any day. It has a clean, fresh taste that you just can't duplicate with anything else.
I like to add curry powder, grape halves and pecans for an Indian-flavored salad, or maybe Old Bay seasoning and dried cranberries, with a dash of chili powder. So good.
I also like to use yogurt for ranch and house dressings. They are a little more tart than with mayonnaise, but again, they are so fresh and delicious. It's like tasting ranch dressing for the first time.
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