A longer version of this article originally appeared on Livestrong.com.
Love yogurt but not in the mood for something sweet? Go with savory yogurt, instead! You’ll begin with a cup of plain yogurt, and then dress it up with a variety of herbs, fruits, vegetables and nuts — whatever you like. But be warned: Once you try one of these savory yogurt ideas, you’ll never look at packaged, flavored yogurt again.
1. Cherry Tomatoes, Basil, Garlic
This refreshing, Caprese-style yogurt is all about the tomatoes — juicy, garden-fresh tomatoes! An excellent source of vitamin C, tomatoes are known for being rich in the antioxidant lycopene, which helps promote skin and heart health. Sweet basil has been found to exhibit anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anticancer properties. And garlic is high in a sulfur compound called allicin, which may help protect the heart, boost the immune system and reduce blood pressure. Start by topping plain yogurt with a handful of halved cherry tomatoes, a sprinkling of minced garlic and a few torn basil leaves. Drizzle some extra-virgin olive oil on top and season with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
2. Roasted Beets, Avocado, Red Onion, Orange Zest
Full of earthy flavor, this savory yogurt bowl is as gorgeous as it is hearty. Low in calories, beets offer an array of nutrients and antioxidants that are beneficial for heart and eye health. They also help to protect your skin from premature aging and wrinkles. Avocados brim with nearly 20 vitamins and minerals. They’re also rich in “good” monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to help lower bad cholesterol when eaten in moderation. Begin by topping plain yogurt with a roasted beet (diced or sliced). Add sliced avocado and a few thin slices of red onion. Top with some grated orange zest and season with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
3. Roasted Red Peppers, Capers, Crumbled Parmesan Cheese
This simple yogurt bowl delivers vibrant color and flavor. Bursting with immunity-boosting vitamin C, red peppers also contain vitamin A for eye health and calcium for bone health. Although high in sodium — a little goes a long way — capers are a mainstay in the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet. They’re low in calories and contain an array of antioxidants and vitamins. The brininess of both the capers and Parmesan cheese provide a great counterbalance to the sweetness of the roasted peppers. To make, top plain yogurt with a handful of roasted pepper slices. Add a sprinkling of capers and crumbled Parmesan cheese. Season with freshly cracked black pepper.
4. Cucumber, Dill, Pistachios
Give your yogurt a refreshing spin with cucumber and dill. Low in calories and naturally hydrating, cucumbers provide vitamin K and potassium for heart and bone health. Some chemicals in dill can help relax muscles and help fight bacteria. For added crunch and nutrition, pistachios are the secret weapon in this dish. They’re one of the lowest-fat, lowest-calorie snack nuts. Plus, nearly 90 percent of the fats found in pistachios are the healthy, unsaturated type. Begin by topping plain yogurt with thinly sliced cucumbers. Toss in roughly chopped pistachios and a few fresh dill sprigs, and season with a dash of sea salt.
5. Mushrooms, Feta, Pine Nuts
This savory yogurt features seared mushrooms topped with creamy feta cheese and crunchy pine nuts. Low in calories, mushrooms provide an array of B vitamins, potassium and vitamin D. Packed with calcium and protein, feta cheese adds a savory kick, while pine nuts pack a crunch. Add a handful of sauteed mini portobello or brown mushrooms to plain yogurt. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, crumbled feta cheese and pine nuts. Season with a dash of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
6. Smoked Salmon, Capers, Fresh Dill, Whole-Wheat Bagel Chips
Inspired by the classic combo of lox on a bagel, this yogurt bowl can be pulled together in just a matter of minutes. Bonus: It’s packed with more protein and less carbs than the original version. Although rich in protein, healthy fats, vitamin B-12 and iron, smoked salmon is also high in sodium, so small amounts are best. Capers, though also high in sodium, provide a savory kick and an array of antioxidants and vitamins. The flavor and medicinal benefits of a few fresh sprigs of dill complete this brunch-inspired classic. To make, top plain yogurt with smoked salmon (cut into bite-size pieces), capers and fresh dill springs. Add a few whole-wheat bagel crisps for the perfect crunch.
Looking for more options, check out my Ginger-Tahini Yogurt Bowl with Zucchini and Chickpeas (shown above) and my Savory Beet and Cucumber Yogurt Parfait recipes!