From Greek To Grass-Fed, Yogurt Tasting And Recipes With Kathy Gunst

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There are a multitude of varieties of yogurt available in stores: Greek, grass-fed and European style are just a few of the terms that you might see on labels. But what do they mean?

Resident chef Kathy Gunst takes Here & Now's Robin Young through a sampling of yogurt types. She also shares a salad and a coconut cake that showcase yogurt's savory and sweet sides.

7 Yogurts Tasted, And Kathy's Recommendations

When shopping for yogurt, avoid yogurts with tapioca, starch, additives, added sugar, guar gum, pectin or stabilizers.

Note: There is an asterisk (*) next to Kathy's recommended yogurts.

There are a multitude of varieties of yogurt available in stores: Greek, grass-fed and European style are just a few of the terms that you might see on labels. (Kathy Gunst for Here & Now)
There are a multitude of varieties of yogurt available in stores: Greek, grass-fed and European style are just a few of the terms that you might see on labels. (Kathy Gunst for Here & Now)
  • Dannon Low-Fat Plain Natural Yogurt: Low-fat yogurt is made from low-fat milk and is not as rich and creamy as whole-fat yogurt.
  • Straus Family Creamery Organic Greek Yogurt*: Greek yogurt doesn’t mean it's from Greece. It refers to yogurt in which the liquid whey has been strained out, producing a thicker, creamier, higher protein yogurt. I got hooked on Straus Greek Yogurt on the West Coast (unfortunately not available on the East Coast). Straus is a family owned organic dairy based in the gorgeous Tomales Bay area of Northern California. This whole-milk Greek yogurt tastes almost like sour cream — so rich and satisfying and delicious. Other good brands: Cabot Creamery Greek Yogurt, Fage (Fa-yeh) 0 percent Greek strained yogurt, Chobani Greek Yogurt, Siggi's, Noosa, Wallaby Organic.
  • Organic Valley Grassmilk Yogurt*: Organic Valley is a farmer-owned cooperative that has been producing organic milk from small dairies across the U.S. for 30 years. They are the first national brand to produce 100 percent grass-fed yogurt. This is a relatively new U.S. label descriptor: It refers to yogurt made from milk of cows that have been grazing on grass all year, with no grain, corn or soy as part of their diet — good for the cows, and good for us. It's a nutrient-dense yogurt which is richer and has more omega-3s. Another recommended brand: Stonyfield Grass-Fed Organic Plain.
  • Maple Hill Creamery Grass Fed with Cream On Top*: This is yogurt with a layer of cream on top from whole milk.
  • Saint Benoît Organic Plain French-Style or European-Style Yogurt*: This yogurt comes in a little glass jar, so cute and creamy. Also recommended: Straus European-Style Yogurt, which is smoother and creamier than regular yogurt, but not as thick as Greek. Very rich.
  • Yoplait Raspberry Yogurt with Add-Ins: Fruit, cookies, candy are all add-ins. This very popular supermarket favorite has sugar, raspberries, corn starch, gelatin, pectin and colorings, as well as live yogurt cultures.
  • Organic Valley Grassmilk Yogurt with Strawberries*: They also have a blueberry variety, which is quite good.


Fattoush Tower With Yogurt Sauce

Fattoush is a Middle Eastern salad made with cucumbers, tomatoes, greens, herbs and, in this case, feta cheese and toasted pita bread. I decided rather than crumble the toasted pita into small pieces and toss it with the salad as it's traditionally served, I would toast the pita and layer the salad between it.

A thick yogurt dressing is poured on top. You can make the pita toasts and prepare the salad, but don’t assemble it all — or pour on the dressing — until just before serving. Serves 4.

Kathy's fattoush tower with yogurt sauce. (Kathy Gunst for Here & Now)
Kathy's fattoush tower with yogurt sauce. (Kathy Gunst for Here & Now)

Pita Toast Ingredients

  • 2 pieces pita bread, cut in half widthwise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons za'atar

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups peeled cucumber, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quarters if they are large
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups watercress, stems removed, or baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, cut into small cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Yogurt Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup whole yogurt or Greek-style yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch za'atar (optional)


  1. Make the pita toasts: Preheat the broiler. Place the pita on a cookie sheet and brush with the olive oil on the inside and sprinkle with the za'atar. Place under the broiler for about 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown, toasted but not burnt. Remove and let cool. The pita toasts will keep for 24 hours in a tightly sealed container.
  2. Make the salad: In a large bowl, mix the cucumber, tomatoes, parsley, mint, watercress, feta, salt and pepper. Gently toss. Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 hours.
  3. Make the yogurt dressing: In a bowl or a jar mix the yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, za'atar, salt and pepper. Stir well. Cover and refrigerate for several days.
  4. To assemble: Place a toasted pita on a large plate or serving plate. Add 1/4 of the salad and spoon 1 tablespoon of dressing on top. Place another pita on top and gently push down. Add another quarter of the salad and drizzle with another tablespoon of the dressing. Add another piece of pita on top and gently press down; add another quarter of the salad with 1 tablespoon dressing. Place the last piece of pita on top and very gently push down. Spoon the remaining salad on top and sprinkle with the remaining dressing or serve it on the side. When you cut into the salad with a fork and knife, the pita will fall apart into small pieces.

Yogurt-Lemon-Coconut Cake

This is not an overly sweet cake, making it ideal for serving with tea or coffee. You can serve it with dollops of Greek yogurt and thinly sliced strawberries or seasonal berries.

The cake will keep tightly covered for 2 to 3 days. Serves 6 to 8.


  • Vegetable oil or olive oil and flour for coating the pan
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (depending on how lemony you want the cake to be)
  • 1 cup whole milk yogurt or Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cups toasted coconut*
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

*Use unsweetened coconut flakes or grated coconut. Toast on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for about 6 minutes, or until it turns golden brown. Be careful not to let it burn.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a loaf pan (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 inches) with the vegetable oil. Very lightly dust with flour and shake the pan so that there are no clumps of flour.
  3. In a large bowl whisk the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the sugar, lemon zest and mix well. Make a well in the center and add the yogurt, vegetable oil, eggs, half the toasted coconut and the vanilla. Whisk, making sure everything is well incorporated.
  4. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and place on the middle shelf. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove and sprinkle the remaining coconut on top, pressing it into the cake very gently. Bake another 5 to 10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove from the pan. Let cool before serving.

This article was originally published on May 31, 2017.

This segment aired on May 31, 2017.

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Kathy Gunst Resident Chef, Here & Now
Kathy Gunst is a James Beard Award-winning journalist and the author of 15 cookbooks.



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