Being a child of the 90’s, I grew up knowing yogurt only as syrupy-pink and sickly-sweet, poured out of a plastic Yoplait cup, or worse – squeezed out of a packet (remember “GoGurt”?) I was never a fan of the stuff, preferring a bowl of crunchy kix soaked in milk for breakfast or a stack of crumbly oreos for a snack.
And then, somewhere around my freshman year in college, Chobani greek yogurt was introduced to the American market. Creamy, tangy, and satisfying, this was a distant cousin to the snack I had known as a kid. All of a sudden, yogurt became my perfect food. It’s high in protein, versatile, and pairs with all my favorite foods: jam, granola, nuts, nut butter. Heck, I think it works with chocolate.
But yogurt has a different, more savory application as well.
In many cuisines, yogurt is used a savory condiment to pair with spicy food, meats, and stews. As soon as I caught onto this, I started dolloping plain yogurt onto bowls of soup, stirring it into chopped beets and cucumbers, and mixing it up with mustard and apple cider vinegar for salad dressing. And here, in this savory bowl with sweet potatoes, pan-fried chicken, toasted walnuts, and toasted garlic, I’ve thrown it into a salad. Yogurt knows no bounds.
I love the combo of savory and just a little bit of sweet in this salad. Make sure to grab a little bit of everything with each bite to get the right effect: you’re going to especially want to pair the creamy tang of yogurt with the garlic + walnut combo, trust me.
This bowl requires a number of steps, but if you double or triple the recipe, you’ll make enough food for several quick, satisfying lunches.
- 1 boneless, skinless chicken thigh
- 1 sweet potato
- 1 large handful of spinach
- 1 dollop (1/2 cup) of plain greek yogurt
- 3-4 cloves of garlic
- small handful of chopped walnuts
- 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoons of balsamic
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Scrub clean your sweet potato, dry, prick with a fork and lay on a sheet lined with foil. When oven is preheated, bake sweet potato for 45 minutes-1 hour, depending on how large the potato is (I always cook a few sweet potatoes at a time- they keep well in the fridge).
- When the sweet potato is halfway done, peel garlic cloves, lay on a tiny piece of foil, and drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil. Wrap up this little packet and put into oven along with sweet potato. Garlic cloves should cook for 20 minutes at the most. At the very end, turn down oven heat to 350 F and throw in walnuts onto sheet. Bake just until they smell toasty, 5-7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare your chicken. Heat up 3 tablespoons olive oil over high heat until hot but not smoking. Season chicken thigh heavily with salt and pepper. Fry each side in olive oil over high heat for 2 minutes, until browned. Cover pan, turn heat to medium-low and cook for additional 8-10 minutes, or until cooked through. Should have a golden-brown crust, and be irresistibly crispy. Remove from heat.
- Remove sweet potato from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Now, assemble everything. Fill a bowl with fresh spinach. Scoop out the flesh of the sweet potato and chop up the chicken. Throw it into the bowl, dollop the yogurt on, and top with garlic and walnuts. Finally, drizzle on a bit of olive oil + balsamic and season with salt and pepper.