It's that season friends! We are well underway with holiday parties and gatherings with friends and family. And here at TGBK we know what all of these events will have in common, plenty of food! Now of course, not all of this food will align with the way you may try to eat throughout the rest of the year and that's okay. But we're here to remind you that treats and festive foods can still fit your whole foods based and nutrient packed lifestyle. With the right recipes, you can be the one impressing your friends and family with healthy foods that are still delicious and craving worthy! We think that this recipe fits the bill; festive, delicious and still on the lighter side compared to what else you mind find at holiday gatherings.
This recipe features skyr which is an Icelandic cultured dairy product (basically a type of yogurt). Even though this term may be new to you, skyr has been around more than 1,100 years! Skyr is traditionally made with raw milk, however, brands found in grocery stores are made with pasteurized milk. Similar to Greek yogurt, skyr is strained which condenses the nutritional value and means more protein in the final product. Skyr has a mild, tangy taste and a thick, creamy texture. Being a fermented food, skyr of course provides a generous serving of those wonderful probiotics that we just can't get enough of. Skyr is nutritionally similar to Greek yogurt but superior to regular yogurt because of the high protein content and large amount of probiotics contained in many brands. Siggis is a brand we absolutely love and can be found readily at many grocery stores. For this recipe, we used strained, fat-free skyr in lieu of cheese for this marinated spread. This substitution maximizes protein and probiotic content while decreasing fat content, which can be a welcomed change at many holiday buffets!
Salt Brined Icelandic Yogurt Balls
PREP TIME: 5 mins (additional 24 hrs to strain yogurt)
TOTAL TIME: 10 mins (additional 24 hrs to strain yogurt + 2 hrs to marinate prior to serving)
12 oz fat free, plain Icelandic yogurt or Greek yogurt
~1/2 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt
1 tsp rainbow peppercorns (whole)
2, 2" organic lemon rinds
~1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Thin, crispy cracker of your choice* (we like Raincoast Crisps brand sold at Whole Foods)
Garnish with green herb of your choice (we chose rosemary)
Additional items needed
10"x10" cheese cloth
Large jar at least 10" tall
Mix 1/4 tsp ground sea salt into yogurt. Place cheese cloth over the opening of a large jar allowing the cloth to sag a little into the jar. Place rubber band around the top of the jar to tightly hold cloth in place (pictured above). Add salted yogurt to the cloth and allow mixture to strain for ~24 hrs in the fridge. Within a few hours you will notice a cloudy liquid at the bottom of the jar, this is the whey straining off. You want as much liquid to strain off as possible, making a very thick spreadable "cheese like" texture. After 24 hours the yogurt should be ready to shape into balls. Using the palm of your hand, carefully form the strained yogurt into small balls. The less you handle the yogurt balls the better, avoid rolling between your palms. Instead, form into shape with fingertips. If yogurt is very difficult to work with, try placing in the freezer for five minutes .Place formed balls into a serving jar/bowl. Repeat until all the yogurt has been used. Add lemon rind, peppercorns, 1/4 tsp whole sea salt and herb of choice to the jar. Pour enough olive oil over the top until the yogurt balls are fully submerged. Allow yogurt balls to marinate in olive oil mixture for a few hours in the refrigerator. Serve with a thin and crispy cracker.
*Look for a cracker made with whole wheat flour and sunflower or olive oil
So who's impressed? This spread is so rich, so creamy, and so packed with flavor, that you won't even miss those extra fat calories you left behind with this amazing substitute! Whip this up for any holiday gathering this year and you're sure to be the talk of the party. Just remember to strain your yogurt (skyr) 1-2 days ahead and you'll be ready to shine!
Stay festive (and lite!),
Jess and Cecelia
Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.