Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pesto Yogurt Sauce

Pesto Yogurt Sauce 1

I miss New York…the food, the dance classes, the (near) absence of responsibility :) But it has been “back to reality” for almost two weeks, and while I do wish I was still there, I’m glad to be here in Baton Rouge freshly inspired both as a choreographer/teacher and as a cook. 

A few blocks away from Broadway Dance Center, one of my friends discovered a great sandwich place, City Sandwich.  They boast mayo-free sandwiches where they have “swapped the mayo for yogurt sauces and a splash of olive oil”.  Now I’m definitely not opposed to mayo, but I don’t use it regularly either…and the yogurt sauce sounded interesting.  Kind of like Labneh, something else I tried in NYC and wanted to make at home. 

Pesto Yogurt Sauce 2

So I bought a 16oz container of Fage 0% and strained it overnight in a sieve lined with paper towel.  Then the following morning I divided my “yogurt cheese” into 2 portions.  To one half I added 3 tablespoons of pesto (homemade*…from my freezer).  The other half got a little EVOO and za’atar (to be used as a dip for carrots this week). 

Pesto Yogurt Sauce 3

I used the pesto yogurt sauce to recreate the sandwich I got BOTH times from City Sandwich, the Altan.  Tomato, fresh mozzarella, lettuce, and pesto-yogurt sauce on crusty French bread.  I think mine was just as good as theirs!

Pesto Yogurt Sauce 6

Pesto Yogurt Sauce
created by me

8 oz Greek Yogurt (I used 0% Fage)
2-4 tablespoons pesto*

Line a course mesh sieve (or a colander) with paper towel (or a coffee filter or layers of cheesecloth) and set over a bowl.  Add the yogurt, cover (just fold the paper towel over the top), and let drain overnight** in the refrigerator. 

Transfer thickened yogurt to a covered container and stir in the pesto (I used about 3-4 tablespoons).  Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 

Per serving – 1 tablespoon (made with 3 tbsp pesto) – 35 calories, 1.4 g carbohydrates, 2 g fat (0.4 g saturated), 2.5 g protein

* I have yet to find a store bought pesto that I like (there might be one…but I gave up trying/throwing away ones that I didn’t like).  So now I make my own each year, and freeze it into little disks using a mini muffin tin (which once frozen I transfer to and store in a zip-top bag).  If you are buying from the store read the ingredient list and stick to the brands that use REAL pesto ingredients (basil, pine nuts, olive oil, Parmesan).

** Don’t over strain your yogurt or it will get too hard and not spread as easily.

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