As someone who can’t eat dairy without regretting it, anything in the dairy rip off category is going to spike my radar. Over the years I’ve dabbled in the good and the bad of them all. Dairy free milks that taste like creamy heaven through to versions that taste like lolly water. Dairy free cheeses that have been literally life changing through to ones that should be sold as plastic. Dairy free butters that until recently left me bitterly disappointed (I’ve discovered a vegan butter that has literally been life changing!). Then there is dairy free yogurt. Dairy free yogurt to be brutally honest has been a mind field of let downs for me.
Why? Well to be transparent I don’t really eat much coconut-based products either. I don’t do well with a lot of it so that sort of cuts out loading up my smoothies, pancakes and bircher’s with lashings of coconut yogurt. When it comes to dairy free yogurt coconut bases are where it tends to be at. It makes sense; the milk is super thick and creamy providing the base that a yogurt needs. It requires minimal thickeners to hold the texture as its naturally quite viscous.
Other dairy free yogurts though are more of a challenge. Especially on a large commercial level. Making a nut milk yogurt means you need to use a lot of nuts to give you that creamy texture that one is after when eating yogurt. And when it comes to nuts, that can get expensive. This means the majority of nut-based yogurts are a blend with coconut, or loaded with a long ingredient list of thickeners and stabilisers to ensure that the more watery blend (due to low nut use for commercial viability) still looks good in the tub.
So for me, and maybe for you this means I am always on the look out for a good nut milk based yogurt. I’m prepared to pay too, but I am yet to find it. And when I can’t find something I want I head to the kitchen and damn well just make it.
For this homemade yogurt I’ve not held back at all on the quantity of almonds. This makes it naturally very thick and creamy(#winning). I’ve then thinned it back out with the addition of fruits to sweeten the yogurt naturally. The hint of vanilla and lime gives the tang and creaminess we associate with yogurt. The added cultures are optional, as you will see in the method.
I choose these particular fruits for two reasons. One, they were in my fridge. Two, because they are fruits I often use in clinic medicinally to help boost the Akkermansia strain in our microbiota due to their high polyphenol content. Often in gut based testing we see this important bacterial strain way too low, so we are always using individualised diet and ‘food as medicine’ to feed up this strain.
Of course you can experiment with other fruits too. Any berries would work wonderfully well and I’d imagine passionfruit and mango would be divine. You just need to ensure its a similar quantity to the fruits used here.
Lastly, if you have a brand of dairy free yogurt you buy that isn’t coconut based I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below as I am always on the hunt. xx
raspberry & red grape almond yogurt
- makes 2 cups
- preparation time
- 15 minutes + overnight soaking
- cooking time
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
- 3/4 cup red globe grapes
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon lactobacillus based probiotic (optional)
If adding probiotics, the most commonly used strains are lactobacillus acidophilus, animalis and casei. If using the probiotic you can leave the yogurt out for no more than 5 – 6 hours in a warm area once it is all blended together. Personally if you are wanting to culture longer I’d be investing in a yogurt maker for controlling the temperature to ensure you are not growing adverse strains of bacteria or even yeast. Home fermentation is cool but you do need to be a little careful and use your common sense.
Place almonds in a bowl and cover with water. Leave to soak overnight.
The next day drain the almonds and rinse well. Place almonds in a high speed blender with all of the other ingredients and blend till lovely and smooth.
Pour the raspberry & red grape almond yogurt into glass jars and cover with a lids. Place the yogurt in the fridge. The yogurt will keep for 5 days.
- When buying dairy free yogurt ensure you get into the habit of checking the ingredients list and the nutritional panel. Many dairy free yogurts are loaded with sugar and thickening agents to ensure they have good shelf life and appear like normal yogurt. Thickeners such as xanthium gum, guar gum, potato starch and tapioca starch are fine but realistically its great to have a yogurt that doesnt rely on these to give you a good finished product. It nice to eat a yogurt thats made from the main ingredient base instead of just water thickened with thickening agents if you catch my drift. Realistically the need for all of these thickeners is to keep the viscosity there, as the amount of almonds or coconut or other alternative bases is kept low to keep the cost down. That is not the case in this homemade version. The high almond content mixed with the fruit provides just the right amount of liquid to nuts ratio giving the perfect finish without the need for added sugars or thickening agents.
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Jessica Cox is a qualified practicing Nutritionist with a Bachelor Health Science (Nutrition) and over 15 years of clinical experience. She is the founder and director JCN Clinic, published author and established recipe developer. Jessica is well respected within health and wellness space for her no fad approach and use of evidence-based nutrition.