With thanksgiving around the corner, I can’t help but think about all the extra calories I will be consuming, by the end of the day. Life is all about balance and we can all indulge a little bit here and there, but for some, it still brings on a bit of extra unnecessary anxiety. I like to take some extra time to research, how I can bring a healthier alternative on some of our favorite Thanksgiving dishes to the table. The trick is finding a healthier substitute that still brings the savory, flavorful, and mouthful feel to some of our favorite comfort meals. Because if it isn’t savory or thick or cozy then it isn’t comforting – just sayin’.
Buttermilk. Buttermilk has always been a scary one, as it brings an extra something to a dish that can be looked upon as irreplaceable. Well, through experimenting many different ways, I think I have found the perfect replacement – Greek yogurt.
I pick up the nonfat version of greek yogurt (or make your own homemade), as it cuts the calories but also leaves a bit of a thinner consistency, much like buttermilk. You will have to add a liquid to it, but adding little by little helps to guage where you need to be. I don’t have a set recommendation on how much liquid you need, but adding one tablespoon at a time you keep you from getting too runny. I personally choose a milk alternative for this but if you are comfortable with milk then any version will do, the less fat the thinner it will be, which is the goal in adding the milk to the yogurt.
If you need a cup of buttermilk, then grab a cup of nonfat greek yogurt – simple as that.
A recipe I tried this healthy trick to is the beloved southern treat, called Sweet Potato Spoon Bread. This Southern classic is a cross between corn bread and souffle and it is not to be missed! Packed with healthy vitamin-rich sweet potatoes and warm spices, my favorite during the fall, this unique side dish lets your craving for cornbread subside while still going back for seconds!
Recipe via: http://www.foodandwine.com
- 1 pound sweet potatoes
- 2 1/4 cups stone-ground yellow cornmeal, plus more for dusting
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar (healthier version – use baking stevia)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (my preference kerrygold or ghee)
- 3 cups boiling water
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (1 1/2 cups nonfat greek yogurt plus liquid)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons mild honey (raw local honey)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- Scant 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 375°. With a fork, pierce the sweet potatoes all over and set them directly on the oven rack. Bake the sweet potatoes for 1 hour, or until they are tender; let cool slightly. Slit the skins and scoop the potatoes into a large bowl. Mash until smooth. You should have 1 1/4 cups of mashed sweet potatoes. Increase the oven temperature to 425°.
- Meanwhile, lightly butter a shallow 2-quart glass or ceramic baking dish and dust it with cornmeal, tapping out any excess. In another large bowl, whisk the cornmeal with the sugar, salt and baking soda. Melt the butter in the boiling water, then stir the butter-and-water mixture into the dry ingredients. Let cool slightly.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the buttermilk, honey, cumin, white pepper, cloves and cayenne into the mashed sweet potatoes until combined. At medium speed, beat in the cornmeal mixture.
- In a clean stainless steel bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold the beaten egg whites into the sweet-potato mixture until no white streaks remain. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for about 40 minutes, or until golden and risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve the sweet potato spoon bread warm or at room temperature.
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