This post originally appeared in the August 10, 2020 edition of The Move, a place for Eater’s editors to reveal their recommendations and pro dining tips — sometimes thoughtful, sometimes weird, but always someone’s go-to move. Subscribe now.
According to my grandmother, the planets have it in for my gut. The star chart she had printed upon my birth said I’d be doomed to digestion issues, and her advice has always been that I should eat more yogurt. Which has revealed a second problem: I don’t like most yogurt available at the grocery store. It’s not a matter of French versus Greek versus Icelandic versus Gogurt, but that all of these yogurts are made sweet, whether by fruit on the bottom, honey poured in from a side pouch, or flavorings mixed all the way through. This had me, for a time, convinced that I hated all yogurt.
But what I really hated was the assumption that yogurt couldn’t be savory. Instead, what I wanted for breakfast was essentially dip.
There are plenty of savory yogurts already prevalent in my diet, whether raita or tzatziki. Or, let’s be real, French onion dip with Greek yogurt subbed in for sour cream. We’ve all made a quick dip for a party consisting of yogurt and whatever spices and seasonings we had on hand. When I stopped to think about it, I felt cheated that these were not presented as breakfast options along with mixed berry and peach varieties. Why no Greek yogurt with pesto on the bottom? Why not chopped cucumbers and tomatoes instead of Key lime crumble in the Chobani Flip?
So I started making my own, swirling a tub of plain yogurt with things like coriander chutney, ajvar, or whatever raw vegetables I had plus salt and pepper. These creations all make perfectly suitable alternatives to a breakfast of yogurt and berries. What’s stopping us may be American society’s tendency to associate sweets — sugary cereal, waffles, Pop Tarts — with breakfast. But even then, we also have eggs and bacon! Savory is an all-the-time flavor. These tubs of dip-fast also double as actual dip, sauce, or salad dressing. They’re more versatile than a cup of strawberry Yoplait, which you absolutely should not pour over leaves of romaine.
There is, of course, sweetness to dairy, or aspects of it that sweetness emphasizes. A good Brie with jam, or blue cheese drizzled with honey, at once draws out and mellows its funkiness. I understand why yogurt options hedge sweet. But I have always been a savory snack girl; I’ll take a bag of Smartfood over a pint of ice cream any day. And to me, the savory accompaniments highlight yogurt’s very dairy-ness, how it is closer to cheese than cream, the fermentation and sour that makes it yogurt. I choose to believe preferring savory yogurt is proof that, rather than someone who doesn’t like yogurt, I am someone who actually likes yogurt so much I don’t want to hide its complexities behind sugar.
So far it doesn’t seem like the yogurt companies have my back in terms of making single-serve yogurts topped with roasted peppers, so I’ll forge ahead on my own. But for now, make dip for breakfast. It’s not like you’re making it for house parties.
P.S. Here’s how the supermarket yogurt aisle got so bloated to begin with.