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Healthy Monday: Marinated Fresh Berries with Yogurt Cheese and Toasted Pecans

Upstate OutlookBy Bill Gokey

The berry harvest is prime time for enjoying this light dessert, which is simple to assemble.

With the right mesh strainer or cheese cloth, the yogurt cheese practically makes itself – perhaps while you‘re out picking fresh berries.


2 2/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt, or Chobani Greek yogurt

¼ cup toasted pecans or other nuts

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon honey

1 1/3 tablespoons sugar

¼ teaspoon fresh lemon peel, grated

Juice from ¼ lemon

Juice from ¼ lime

¼ cup water

1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 ounces fresh blueberries

4 ounces fresh strawberries

4 ounces fresh raspberries

¼ teaspoon fresh lime peel, grated

4 mint sprigs

  • Note: berries may be substituted for one another based on availability.


To make the yogurt cheese, strain yogurt in fine mesh strainer or wrapped in several layers of cheese cloth placed over a container to catch the liquid for 2 hours in the refrigerator. Then discard the liquid.

To toast pecans, preheat sauté pan over low heat. Add pecans and toast gently for 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in honey and toss to coat. Lay out on flat surface, sprinkle with salt, and reserve.

In a saucepan, combine the sugar, water, vanilla and zest from both lemon and lime. Simmer gently for 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and liquid looks syrupy. Place washed and cut fruit in large bowl. Pour warm syrup over fruit and gently toss. Marinate for 30 minutes in refrigerator.

To assemble, place ¼ cup of yogurt cheese (or plain Greek yogurt) in dish or wide glass. Top with ¼ cup marinated berries. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon toasted pecans, and garnish with mint sprig. Serves four.

Nutritional information, per serving:

215 calories; 8 grams fat, including 2 grams saturated fat; 10 grams protein; 10 milligrams cholesterol; 264 milligrams sodium; and 23 grams sugar

Upstate Outlook

Bill Gokey is executive sous chef for Morrison Healthcare, which provides food services for SUNY Upstate Medical University.