Lighten Up Your Favorite Summer Side Salads With Just One Ingredient

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The July 4th holiday is generally the first time I dive into traditional summer-side dish-mode with potato salad, chicken salad, and macaroni salad. We usually get the grill dusted off around that time (there's the feeling that summer weather doesn't officially start until after the 4th in Seattle), and what goes better with good barbecued chicken than creamy potato salad? I've been doctoring ours up lately with an ingredient that's still creamy and yet much lower in fat. Can you guess what it is? 

The "secret" ingredient is yogurt! While certainly not revolutionary (there have been a number of salad recipes relying on yogurt), it's nice for a few reasons. First, it obviously has less fat than mayonnaise. While I don't tend to generally obsess over fat grams, I'd much rather have an ice cream cone on a hot summer day than a decadent potato salad. Second and most noteworthy, I think, is that yogurt lends a certain tanginess to side dishes and salads that mayonnaise simply cannot match. Add it to macaroni salad for a creaminess with an extra zip or to tuna salad for an extra hit of flavor. 

While there are many ways to "lighten up" recipes, I love yogurt because it's never a compromise on flavor — and for dishes that come about but once a year in our house, that's important. 

Do you use yogurt in summer salads or side dishes? 

Try One of These Recipes:

(Images: Life as a Strawberry)