How A Southern Cook Learned to Live Without Mayo

Southern Cook

Souther Cook Learns to Cook More Healthy without Giving Up Taste

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.


About the Author

Steven Matthews grew up in a Southern family, food was always a source of comfort and love for him. As a result, much of Steven's family has suffered from weight related health issues. He lost his father due to complications with hypertension. He was only 48. Soon after, Matthew's mother had her right foot amputated due to diabetes. Since then, Steven has worked to create awareness in others on how to avoid these tragic diseases. He still loves good food, and spends a lot of time creating new recipes to continue the tradition of showing love through family meals... without the negative health effects. Steven resides in Buckhead, Georgia, located just outside of Atlanta with his wife and two daughters.