Greek yogurt is one of my favorite convenience foods, and judging by grocery store space in the yogurt aisle, it’s a favorite for many people. I remember when just a few years ago it was difficult to find Greek yogurt in our local grocery stores, but now the yogurt aisle is full of it in many different varieties and brands. I always have a container or two of plain Greek yogurt in our refrigerator and enjoy it for breakfast with a little drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of slivered almonds, in smoothies, desserts, or cooked dishes.
Low-fat or fat-free Greek yogurt is a good choice for those with lactose intolerance because it contains a small amount of lactose, only 4 grams of lactose per 6-ounce serving. Try small amounts, maybe a spoonful here and there to see how it works for you. I find that I tolerate it much better than other types of yogurt. And remember, different people can handle different amounts of lactose.
The idea of rice pilaf with yogurt may sound exotic, but it’s very common in the Mediterranean and Middle East. Rice pilaf dishes can have any number of meat, vegetable, spice, herb, or fruit combinations, and it is often served with yogurt on the side. Yogurts with more liquid work fine with pilaf, but I like the texture and tang of the Greek yogurt, especially with vegetable pilafs. In this dish, the eggplant adds substance and the tomatoes and herbs lend wonderful flavor. Just add a dollop of Greek yogurt to each serving and stir it in.
Use the common large Italian eggplant you typically find in the markets or grocery stores, though other types will work, too. Make sure the eggplant is bright and shiny with no blemishes. Save the drained tomato juice for pasta or pizza sauce. The paper towel technique for steaming rice is common in the Middle East, and helps keep the rice fluffy versus soggy.
Eggplant and Tomato Pilaf with Greek Yogurt
- 4-quart heavy bottom pot with lid
- 1 pound eggplant (with skin, cut into bite-size chunks)
- 3 tablespoons salt
- olive oil
- 1 large onion (thinly sliced)
- 28 ounces canned whole tomatoes (drained and cut into bite-size chunks)
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
- 2 cups brown jasmine rice (rinsed well)
- 2½ cups water
- Low-fat or fat-free Greek yogurt (for serving)
- Put the eggplant chunks in a colander with a bowl beneath and sprinkle on the salt. Allow the eggplant to rest for about 30 minutes, then rinse well and pat dry.
- Heat ¼ cup of olive oil in the pot and fry the eggplant chunks until they turn light brown. Remove the eggplant and set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the pot, and sauté the onions until they turn soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes, kosher salt, pepper, parsley, mint, and eggplant. Stir and bring to a boil.
- Pour the rinsed rice over the eggplant mixture and add the water, making sure the rice is fully immersed. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook with the lid on for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the lid, and lay a paper towel across the pot, then put the lid back on. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- Turn out into a large serving bowl with the vegetables on top. Add a dollop of low-fat or fat-free Greek yogurt on top of each serving.
More Low-Lactose Recipes
[Disclosure: I am an ambassador for the National Dairy Council Beyond Lactose Intolerance awareness campaign.]