A few weeks ago, Kristina of Stonyfield Farms asked me to review their new organic Greek Yogurt, Oikos. It’s hard to review a product I knew I would like without even trying it, so to give it a fair shake, I compared it with some other Greek yogurts on the market, in particular the much raved about Fage brand.
Greek yogurt is amazing. It’s as thick as sour cream and wonderfully creamy without weird additives like xantham gum and pectin that plague regular yogurt. Greek yogurt has all sorts of great things going for it. It’s high in protein, calcium, and has probiotic cultures that aid digestion. Even the nonfat yogurts are made with just dairy and cultures (make sure to check the ingredient list) unlike nonfat sour cream, which also has a bunch of added gunk.
Oikos isn’t carried by my local Safeway but I was able to find it at another local grocery store, QFC (for Seattleites, I'm sure PCC and Metropolitan Market also carries it). This stuff is seriously expensive! A 5.3 oz. container is around $2 and the 16 oz. container is $5 and I think that was the sale price (I can’t remember the regular price). Without the coupons I received to review the yogurt, I would never buy the 5.3 oz. because I’m a poor student. I might occasionally treat myself to a 16 oz. container because it’s a better deal but that seems very unlikely at $5 a tub.
Although I couldn’t find Oikos at Safeway, I did find another brand of Greek yogurt, Voskos. The consistency is the same as the other Greek yogurts I tried. However, it had a strange bitterness that I didn’t encounter with the other yogurts. It is slightly cheaper at $1.79 for an 8oz. container, but I disliked it the bitterness so much, I would not recommend it.
I went to Trader Joes and picked up a small container of Fage and the Trader Joes brand Greek yogurt. Fage was just as I expected, unsurprisingly delicious, creamy and very thick. Fage and Oikos taste very similar. They’re both expensive, with Oikos costing slightly more probably because it's organic. I got the regular Fage yogurt that has 5% milk fat and Oikos has no fat. I’m sure the Fage 0% is just as good. This is a rare instance where a nonfat version tastes just as good as as a full fat variety, without any added ingredients. That’s usually not the case.
Nutritional Information for an 8oz. serving
95mg sodium (4%)
9g total carbs (0g fiber, 9g sugars)
15mg (5%) cholesterol
90mg (4%) sodium
9g total carbs (0g fiber, 8g sugars)
0mg (0%) cholesterol
85mg (4%) sodium
9g total carbs (0g fiber, 9g sugars)
Nutritionally speaking, while all of them look pretty good, Oikos has the highest amount of calcium and the second highest amount of protein behind Voskos but has less calories than Voskos. Because Voskos has that weird bitterness, I would take it out of the running and say Oikos and Fage are equally good. Oikos has an edge because it is organic, but tastewise they’re comparable so choose whichever is suitable for your budget. If you have a Trader Joes closeby, I bet their Greek Yogurt is just as good and much cheaper. I didn’t get a chance to try the Trader Joes Greek yogurt or the local Greek Gods brand Greek yogurt because now I’m sick of yogurt. The TJs one is still sitting in my fridge.
Overall, Oikos has a lot of good things going for it: organic, delicious, and nutritious. The only con is its cost.
Greek yogurt is so thick and creamy that you won’t miss the fat. A nonfat Greek Yogurt would be the perfect substitute for sour cream in recipes. I used it instead of butter and cream for mashed potatoes for a nonfat recipe (might come in handy around the holidays) and it gave it a nice tang. I usually don’t do fat free recipes because I love me some butter and cream but this one turned out pretty well. Just make sure to cool the potatoes a bit before folding in the yogurt or it will curdle.
Fat-Free Mashed Potatoes
1.5 pounds Yukon Gold, peeled and chopped into 2 – 3 inch pieces
Water or chicken stock for boiling
5 oz or roughly 1/2 C of Greek yogurt
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp chopped chives (optional)
Scrub and peel the potatoes. Chop into same size 2 – 3 inch chunks. Add the potatoes to a saucepan and cover with water or chicken stock. Add a clove of garlic, a few sprigs of thyme or a sprig of rosemary if you want. Boil on medium high heat until the potatoes are tender and the pieces are easily pierced with a knife.
Drain the potatoes, reserving about 1 cup of the potato water in a bowl for later. Let the potatoes cool for 10 – 15 minutes. Fold in the yogurt and season with plenty of salt and pepper. If the potatoes are too thick and heavy, add some of the potato water to loosen the mix. Fold in the chives if using and serve warm.