Growing up in the great southern state of Georgia, I’ve been surrounded by plenty of amazing cooks all my life. They taught me to sauté and season my pecans before putting them in the chicken salad and to never, ever use fat-free mayonnaise in a recipe. And as most Southerns know, the best recipes call for mayonnaise.
After both of my parents died at fairly young ages due to unhealthy eating I wanted to change up how I cooked but I didn’t want to give up my traditional Southern recipes. I knew that one of the biggest issues I would face was going to be learning to live without mayo.
I started experimenting, starting with a mayo substitute in the many recipes I had. I tried several different things from hummus to mustard, but none worked right. I figured the mayonnaise was one of the worst offenders. Then, I read an article that discussed using plain low-fat yogurt as a substitute for mayo. I thought it was a great idea, especially if the recipe didn’t depend on mayonnaise for the taste of the dish, but as a creaming agent, instead. However, the taste just wasn’t there. It was too runny for my dishes.
But, I was not deterred, oh no. I kept searching and finally lucked out when I tried non-fat Greek yogurt in my almost-famous broccoli and chicken casserole. NO ONE had any idea that I had made it better for us! Finally, I had the thick creaminess I needed and extra protein, too. I’ve tried it out in several recipes now, from the aforementioned casserole to tartar sauce on the now, baked salmon (instead of fried catfish, yes, other changes had to occur, too.)
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You can use Greek yogurt as a substitute for sour cream, too, but I don’t feel the need. In my expert taste bud’s opinion, low fat or even no-fat sour cream is not nearly as offensive as low-fat and no-fat mayonnaise and it’s less expensive than the Greek yogurt. So, some form of sour cream remains.
A word to the wise. If your recipe calls for sour cream and mayonnaise, keep the sour cream at a low fat level and go with the Greek yogurt as a substitute for the mayonnaise in equal quantities. You’ll never tell the difference.