Healthy holiday party dips from The Yogurt Bible

yogurt party dips

I love yogurt! Greek, plain, non-fat - it’s all good to me in everything from breakfast dishes to healthy party dips. Besides the taste, I love it because there are only two Weight Watchers POINTS in one cup of plain, non-fat yogurt. Plus, it’s full of protein, too!

When I have the time, I like to make my own in an electric yogurt maker. When I’m busy, I just buy a big container from the store, and drain it to make my own Greek yogurt. I also like cooking with it, whether that’s substituting Greek yogurt for sour cream in a topping or using it in baking.

The Yogurt Bible

Pat Crocker’s The Yogurt Bible as a must have healthy cookbook. It has 35 stand-alone yogurt recipes, including how to make yogurt from condensed milk and coconut milk. (Can’t wait to try those methods!)

The Yogurt BibleThen there are over 140 recipes that feature it as a main ingredient or topping such as Shrimp Creole, Seared Scallops in Mushroom Yogurt Sauce, and Fettuccine with Crab and Shrimp Sauce. There are even frozen yogurt recipes! While not all of Pat’s recipes are low fat or super healthy, you can “health them up” by using non-fat yogurt and cutting back on things like olive oil or using sugar substitutes like stevia, if possible.

I wish the cookbook featured more pictures, though the ones like above by photographer Colin Erricson, assistant photographer Matt Johannsson, and food stylist Kathryn Robertson are gorgeous. The Yogurt Bible also features a large chapter on eating and healthy body systems. (While full of wonderful information, it seems a bit out of place in the middle of the book. Maybe the index section would have made more sense.)

Unfortunately, there is no nutritional information in the book, so I recommending plugging the recipe into CalorieCount or a Weight Watchers online recipe analyzer.

If you know someone who wants to eat more healthfully, make their own yogurt or would like to use more yogurt in their cooking, The Yogurt Bible would make a wonderful holiday gift.

How to make yogurt cheese (Greek yogurt)

Yogurt cheese is just plain yogurt that’s been drained for eight hours, and is pretty much the same thing as Greek yogurt. Sure, it’s easier to buy Greek yogurt and save yourself the bother. But with a large container going for $8 to $9, maybe it’s easier to buy a $3 container of plain yogurt and strain it.

  1. You can use a Cuisipro Donvier Yogurt Cheese Maker, which has the advantage of being washable and reusable. Plus it comes with a lid. Or you can use a strainer or colander that will fit inside a large bowl.
  2. Line the strainer with a double layer of clean cheese cloth and place it in the bowl. (If you’re in a pinch, try a layer or two of coffee filters or one layer of a clean, white muslin tea cloth.)
  3. Pour two cups of plain, non-fat yogurt into the lined strainer and cover the strainer with plastic wrap. (Or you can fold up the edges of the cheesecloth to enclose the yogurt.)
  4. Set the bowl in the refrigerator and let the whey drain from the yogurt solids. Use the liquid whey in smoothies or soups.

Healthy party dips

Making healthy holiday party fare that is also delicious is a challenge, but Pat’s recipe for healthy dips should make the overindulgence a little less harmful. Use non-fat yogurts whenever you can. If you’re trying to cut back on your sodium intake, add more herbs and lower the amount of salt.

These dips can be make several days in advance of your Christmas or New Year’s party making planning so much easier.


Use this delicious spread as an all-purpose substitute for commercial mayonnaise, as a dip or spread for sandwiches, or to accompany raw or lightly steamed vegetables, grilled fish or poultry. If you omit the garlic, the taste is refreshing and lends itself to fruit salads and dessert topping. You can add a spoonful of liquid honey to the non‑garlic version.

Makes 1 1/2 cups (12 servings)

1 serving = 2 tablespoons


  • 1 English cucumber
  • 1 1/3 cups Yogurt Cheese or Greek yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Shred cucumber (peel first, if not organic) into a colander. Let stand in the sink or over a bowl for 30 minutes. Press or squeeze lightly to expel excess liquid.
  2. In a bowl, combine cucumber, yogurt cheese, garlic, mint and lemon juice. Stir to mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Use immediately or store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Nutritional information per serving:

  • Calories 22
  • Calories from Fat 4
  • Total Fat 0.5g
  • Cholesterol 2mg
  • Sodium 32mg
  • Total Carbohydrates 3.1g
  • Sugars 2.4g
  • Protein 1.6g

Nutrition Grade A from CalorieCount 

Weight Watchers POINTS = O (several servings will add up to a POINT or two so be careful!)

Avocado Aïoli

With its taste of the Mediterranean, this spread adds flavor to an impromptu sauce for steamed vegetables, as a substitute for mayonnaise, as a dip for raw vegetables, or as a spread for crackers and breads. It is easy to make, and may be made up to three  days in advance.

Creamy and just as tasty as the traditional egg-and-oil Mediterranean sauce called “aïoli,” this spread is great on steamed vegetables — especially asparagus and artichokes.

Makes 2 1⁄2 cups (20 servings)

1 serving = 2 tablespoons


  • 2 ripe avocadoes, seeded and peeled
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups Drained Yogurt (yogurt that has been drained for 10 minutes using the method above)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt


  1. In a bowl, using a fork, mash avocadoes with lemon juice.
  2. Whisk in drained yogurt, garlic and sea salt. Use immediately or store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Nutritional information per serving:

  • Calories 44
  • Calories from Fat 29
  • Total Fat 3.2g
  • Saturated Fat 0.6g
  • Cholesterol 1mg
  • Sodium 45mg
  • Total Carbohydrates 3.2g
  • Dietary Fiber 1.4g
  • Sugars 1.4g
  • Protein 1.4g

Nutrition Grade A- from CalorieCount 

Weight Watchers POINTS = 1

Creamy Spinach Dip

Using yogurt in dips cuts the fat and yet keeps the texture and flavor of full-fat mayonnaise or sour cream.

Makes 2 cups (16 servings)

1 serving = 2 tablespoons


  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 cups packed spinach leaves or 1 package (10 oz) frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons snipped fresh dill leaves
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/3 cups Yogurt Cheese or Greek yogurt


  1. In a food processor or blender, combine garlic and parsley and process until finely chopped.
  2. Add spinach, dill and lemon juice and process until chopped.
  3. Add yogurt cheese and process until mixed into the greens. Use immediately or store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Nutritional information per serving:

  • Calories 16
  • Calories from Fat 3
  • Total Fat 0.4g
  • Cholesterol 1mg
  • Sodium 19mg
  • Total Carbohydrates 2.2g
  • Sugars 1.5g
  • Protein 1.4g

Nutrition Grade A- from CalorieCount 

Weight Watchers POINTS = O (several servings will add up to a POINT or two so be careful!)

Excerpted from The Yogurt Bible by Pat Crocker © 2010 Robert Rose Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.


Disclosure: I received a copy of The Yogurt Bible to facilitate this review.

9 thoughts on “Healthy holiday party dips from The Yogurt Bible

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  2. cathy

    Awesome! I just had a spectacular failure making a yogurt dip using a powdered organic ranch dip from the grocery store. So, so bad. These look delicious and healthy!

    And I LOVE your idea of using coconut milk in your yogurt machine! Definitely something I will be trying too!

    1. annemarie Post author

      I’m going to start making coconut yogurt with my yogurt machine since I just found out that I have an allergic type reaction to casein in milk.

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  4. Sara

    This definitely looks like something I need. So many of the dips I make can get really high in calories fast. Yogurt will help solve that problem…and I like the way it tastes, too.

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