Tips from a Chef

Light and fresh lunches: Greek-inspired dishes with healthy alternatives


Editor's note: Rebecca Meeker is the Chef de Cuisine of Congress, the only restaurant in Austin to receive five-stars from the Austin American Statesman. She has studied and worked in the finest establishments around the world and brings those experiences to her new column, "Light and fresh lunches," in which she instructs the every-man how to prepare tasty, balanced midday meals. 

Being a dairy lover, I was so excited to learn about Labne Kefir Yogurt Cheese, a thick, creamy yogurt cheese.

I love using yogurt cheese because it is a healthier alternative to regular sour cream and rich enough to be used as a substitute for cream cheese.

When cooking at home, I like to make tzatziki, a Greek cucumber yogurt dip. I put the tzatziki on top of eggs in the morning, on roasted sweet potatoes, or served as an accompaniment to grilled meats and pita bread.

Another yogurt cheese recipe I pair with grilled meats is Green Cardamom Yogurt Dip. If you’re looking for something new for vegetables, this dip is also a great accompaniment to crudités of cucumber, cauliflower, carrots, and tomatoes.

You can find Labne Kefir Yogurt Cheese at Phoenicia Bakery and Deli – a Middle Eastern deli with locations on Burnet Rd and South Lamar.

 

 

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Tzatziki

Serves 4

Tzatziki:
Labne Kefir Yogurt Cheese 2 cups
Cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced 1 ea
Garlic, smashed and chopped 1 clove
Fresh Dill, chopped 1/4 cup
Olive Oil 1 tb
Salt & Pepper

Roasted Sweet Potatoes:
Sweet Potato 2 ea
Olive Oil 1/4 cup
Orange, cut in half 1 ea
Salt & Pepper

 

 

Tzatziki: Mix the yogurt cheese, cucumber, garlic, dill and olive oil together. Season with salt and pepper.

Place in an airtight container and keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Sweet potato: Preheat your oven to 400 F. Put the sweet potato on a piece of foil. Drizzle the sweet potato with olive oil and salt and pepper. Wrap the foil around the sweet potato and place on a baking sheet.

Roast the sweet potatoes until they’re completely soft. This could anywhere between 1 to 2 hours, depending on the size of your sweet potato.

Let them cool until you can handle them. Cut in half and squeeze the orange juice over the sweet potatoes.

Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Place a dollop of Tzatziki on top of each sweet potato halves and serve.

 

 

Grilled Lamb with Cardamon Yogurt

Serves 4

Cardamon Yogurt:
Labne  Kefir Yogurt Cheese 2 cups
Green Cardamon, ground 10 pods
Lemon, just juice 1 ea
Salt & Pepper

Roasted Beets:
Baby Red Beets 4 ea
Olive Oil 2 tb
Salt & Pepper
Grilled Lamb:
Lamb Loin  12 oz
Olive Oil ¼ cup
Pomegranate Vinegar  ¼ cup
Mint, picked and rough chopped ½ cup

 

 


 

In the center of the plate, pour .5 oz of nice olive oil.

In the center of the olive oil, pour .5 oz of Texas pomegranate infused balsamic vinegar.

Using a fork, stir in a circular motion to mix the oil and vinegar. 

This will serve as the bed for your prepared food.

 

 

 

 

Tzatziki: Mix the yogurt cheese, cardamon and lemon juice together. Season with salt and pepper.

Place in an airtight container and keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Beets: Preheat your oven to 400 F. Put the beets on a piece of foil. Drizzle the beets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap the foil around the beets and place on a baking sheet.

Roast the beets until they’re completely soft. This should take 20 minutes.

Let them cool until you can handle them. Cut them in half.

Lamb: Cut the lamb loin into 2 inch cubes. Marinate the lamb in olive oil and pomegranate vinegar for 12 hours.

Season with salt and pepper and grill until medium rare or desired doneness.

This should take about 7-10 minutes. Garnish with mint.

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

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See Rebecca's previous recipes here.

 

 

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