Growing up Middle Eastern was...different.
I went to a small private school where my sister and I were the only Iranian kids, and the bullying over all things—from race to my frizzy-haired, bushy-browed appearance—was a daily struggle. But no matter what, I always felt this sense of pride in being Persian; I loved my culture and the deep roots of my heritage.
Since my parents are immigrants, I spent a great deal of my childhood speaking Farsi, listening to Persian music and eating traditional Middle Eastern food—on the floor.
One thing you could always be sure to have at family meals was plain yogurt, or mahst, as it's called in Farsi. I loved plain yogurt. In fact, it wasn't until I was in the Air Force that I actually had fruit-flavored yogurt in the chow hall for the very first time!
Interestingly, I find that most Americans have very little use for plain yogurt. Now that Greek yogurt has (thankfully) gained popularity and is easy to find in major food stores, you can purchase just about any flavor, from pomegranate to lemon and more. Still, I find myself gravitating towards the plain variety. I see it as a blank canvas for my culinary creativity. I'll often mix it with spices to use as dip for raw veggies, or blend with chicken and sweet peppers for an easy chicken salad.
With plain Greek yogurt you get tons of protein, very little sugar and an opportunity to add fresh fruit, more protein, healthy fats—or really whatever you have on hand in the kitchen.
I love having a bowl of yogurt, as opposed to a shake, as an evening or post-workout snack when I am craving something sweet. These are a few of my favorite sweet recipes for plain Greek yogurt, most of which are excellent for a treat or a post-workout snack.
All of these yogurt variations use a seven-ounce container of 0% or 2% plain Greek yogurt, but if you are dairy-free, you can sub coconut milk or almond milk Greek yogurt such as this one. Also, all of the recipes can be mixed and frozen for about 20 minutes if you prefer a cold treat.
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