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Did you know that Greek yogurt is just strained regular yogurt? Save more than 55 percent per ounce when you buy the regular stuff, and spend literally seconds straining it yourself (I show you how below). In this Southern dessert, I use the strained low fat vanilla yogurt as a healthier (and easier!) pudding alternative. Salted almonds are a savory, crunchy addition, but of course, optional.
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Time: About 25 minutes active; 2 hours total
24 ounces low-fat vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (I used Earth Balance Whipped Spread)
1 cup sugar
2 vanilla beans, seeds scraped out
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon milk
3 medium bananas, sliced
1/4 cup salted almonds, chopped
1. Line a colander with double paper towel and set over a bowl. Spoon yogurt onto paper towel and let drain 90 minutes. In case you are wondering, the liquid in the bowl is whey.
2. Meanwhile, cream butter and sugar with a mixer set on medium high speed for 4 minutes. Add vanilla bean seeds, and mix one minute more. Add the egg, and do the same.
3. Turn the speed to low and add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well and then add milk.
4. Turn dough out into a shallow bowl or plastic container. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour.
5. When the hour is up, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
6. Remove half the dough, roll out to 1/4" thickness and cut into 12 rounds. Place cookies on a foil lined-cooking sprayed cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes until edges start to brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Use remaining half of dough for another use.
7. After 90 minutes, pick up yogurt in the paper towel and scrape off back into the yogurt container. The yogurt should mostly just roll off.
8. To assemble the puddings, layer banana slices, chopped almonds, cookie pieces and strained yogurt. Each serving should have about half a banana, a few teaspoons almonds, two cookies and 1/4 cup yogurt.
Writer Bio: Adrienne D. Capps loves food AND is a vegetarian! These things are not mutually exclusive in her world. She is passionate about eating, drinking, cooking, teaching, reading about food and growing food. Her goal with her food blog, Vegetarianized.com, is to open up the world of vegetarian cooking and eating to the veg-friendly and the veg-curious in an accessible way. She promises never to try to convert or make you feel guilty—just that eating less meat can be part of a healthy, fun and, above all, tasty lifestyle.