This Greek dip has so much flavor, with a layer of smooth, savory hummus, a layer of cool, herby tzatziki, and toppings like feta cheese, chopped fresh cucumbers, sweet tomatoes, and briney capers and olives.
This post is sponsored by Stonyfield. All opinions are my own.
If you’ve had hummus—and I’m guessing you have—you know that it’s a chickpea purée with savory, slightly nutty flavor. Here I’ve paired it with Mediterranean staples like yogurt (tzatziki), feta, and fresh herbs to make one fragrant and flavorful Greek dip.
The rich hummus layer is balanced and brightened by the zippy yogurt tzatziki layer. If you’re not familiar with it, tzatziki is a mix of yogurt, grated cucumber, fresh mint, dill (optional), and garlic. It’s fragrant and refreshing and happens to be an excellent match for the toppings I use in this Greek dip: creamy crumbled feta cheese, chopped cucumber and sweet grape tomatoes for freshness, and briney capers and olives.
What Kind of Yogurt To Use for Tzatziki
Since the yogurt is the base of tzatziki, it matters which kind you use. You want a thick and creamy Greek yogurt with a smooth, mild tang. That signature tang is part of what makes Greek yogurt taste brighter and fresher than other kinds of yogurt (it’s also much thicker than traditional yogurt since it’s strained), and I really enjoy it, but sometimes nonfat Greek yogurt, specifically, is a little too tangy—so tangy that it flat-out overpowers other flavors and yogurt mix-ins. But not Stonyfield nonfat Greek yogurt. Stonyfield’s nonfat Greek yogurt is creamy and perfectly balanced, rich and refreshing without any sort of dominating tartness. When I first tried it, I went back to the fridge to check the container, thinking I had gotten whole milk yogurt by mistake—that’s how rich and creamy it is.
“Organic” Makes a Difference
Last month I took a three-day trip up to Vermont with Stonyfield—the brand whose yogurt I bought for the first time thirteen years ago, just after I had lost 135 pounds and started caring about what kinds of food I was putting into my body. And before I left for the trip, my best friend asked me if I was planning to tell the Stonyfield team that I was their number one consumer in 2006 and 2007 (and beyond, but we lived together in those years so she saw firsthand how obsessed I was with their yogurt). I laughed at the time she asked, but then yes of course I told them.
Truth is, there are three things I’ve always liked about Stonyfield’s yogurt: the taste, the simplicity of ingredients, and the fact that all of their yogurt is organic. Those first two are easy and understandable, but the third—the organic piece—is something that I didn’t know as much about as I thought I did, until I got the chance to explore the organic dairy farms that produce the milk Stonyfield uses to make their yogurts. Like a lot of us I’m sure, my concept of “organic” was more of a list of things that organic foods DON’T have.
NO toxic persistent pesticides
NO synthetic fertilizers
NO artificial growth hormones or antibiotics in the animals
NO artificial colors
NO artificial flavors
NO artificial preservatives
There’s a lot more to it. During my time in Vermont, I visited two dairy farms: Wonder Why Farm and Molly Brook Farm—both of which are certified organic. You might have heard by now that when it comes to food, the word “Natural” has no regulated definition. “Organic,” on the other hand, is defined and regulated by the USDA—and that certification means a lot. From the land on which an organic product is grown to the producers growing it, from the post-harvest facilities preparing the product to the processing and handling facilities transforming the product, each step must be certified to federal organic standards. Once an operation is certified, organic producers and handlers undergo annual reviews and inspections.
Organic Milk from Organic Cows
All certified organic dairy products come from cows that are pasture-raised. The organic milk in all of Stonyfield’s products comes from family farms with an average herd size of 75-90 cows.
The organic standard requires that all dairy cows get 30% of their Dry Matter Intake from pasture and actively graze at least 120 days a year. The farmers feed their livestock only organic feed, hay, or pasture and maintain conditions to accommodate the health and natural behavior of the animal. The animal welfare is the piece of the organic label that mattered most to me. I loved that visiting these farms allowed me to see these cows being treated well and hearing from the farmers that, as long as they come in to be milked regularly, the cows are free to pasture as much they like. (Bonus: when cows are actively grazing on pasture, their milk contains 62% higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than conventional milk.)
Organic Farming and the Environment
Organic agriculture is based on practices that not only protect environmental health, but also strive to improve it. Organic farmers enrich soil and control pests with crop rotation, cover crops, beneficial insects, and compost. By prohibiting the use of petroleum-based fertilizers and absorbing carbon dioxide from the air, organic agriculture helps to reduce our carbon footprint and combat climate change.
Stonyfield has integrity, a kind of integrity you hear about all the time from businesses and brands, but don’t often see put into practice. It’s clearer to me now than ever that they really do think about the impact of everything they do—from the care they provide to the farmer families and their cows to the ingredients in their yogurt, the packaging it’s in, and how it gets to our grocery stores. I can’t applaud that enough. They make me feel good about the products I’m choosing—especially the yogurt I’m giving to James (he’s a major fan of the YoBaby Veggie purple carrot flavor)—and I like knowing that when I buy their products, I’m in some incredibly small way supporting a greater wellness for all of us.