Eating a vegan diet is a choice that often reflects mindfulness about life and the planet that is commendable. According to research at the University of Oxford, following a vegan diet could be the best way to have the greatest single impact on reducing your carbon footprint. Not only does removing the animal and dairy products from your diet help the environment, but it’s also an excellent way to be kind to your own body. Vegan diets have been linked to health benefits, including improved heart health and lower risks of Type 2 diabetes.
Vegan yogurt is a viable and nutritious (not to mention delicious) alternative to dairy yogurt. The answer to, “Is Greek yogurt vegan?” is typically no, but you can learn to make a vegan Greek that is as thick as the original milk-based version.
Vegan yogurts can be made from a variety of plant milk, including soy, coconut, almond, flax, and cashew milk. They are typically very healthy, as most contain probiotic bacteria, and many like soy yogurt and almond milk yogurt contain substantial amounts of protein. Quite a few commercially available vegan yogurts, like the So Delicious brand of coconut milk yogurt, have significant bone-building calcium and Vitamin D, along with B12.
If you are making your own vegan yogurt, make sure to find out the amount of essential calcium and other factors in the plant-milk it’s based on, and supplement your diet with any nutrients you may be lacking.
This article will give you some general tips on getting the best results for vegan yogurt and share how to make coconut yogurt. Most vegan yogurt recipes are quick to make and just take planning in a window of time where you leave it to do its thing (ferment), leaving you free for the rest of the day. We’ve even included a quick peach yogurt recipe that’s ready in under two hours.
Some Tips on How to Make Vegan Yogurt
Not all vegan yogurt recipes involve culturing your yogurt, but for any that do, follow these steps to ensure successful setting and safety:
- Your yogurt will be more tart if you use the longer range of the fermenting time.
- Just like traditional milk-based yogurt, you need to have all your equipment well sterilized with boiling water before starting.
- Keep your yogurt in the right temperature range to ensure that the live culture is not killed by overheating but also is warm enough to allow the culture to reproduce. Use a kitchen thermometer to be sure.
Vegan Yogurt Recipes
Quick & Easy Peach Vegan Yogurt Recipe
- 2 cups frozen or canned peaches in juice
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 12 ounces tofu
- 1/4 cup liquid sweetener (you can use honey, agave, or maple syrup)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 probiotic capsule (optional)
All the ingredients together in a blender and blend on a high-speed setting until completely smooth. Store in the refrigerator in a glass jar or jars for up to five days.
Vegan Coconut Milk Yogurt Recipe
- 2 cans full-fat coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon agar flakes (or you can use 1 teaspoon agar powder)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon probiotic powder (look for it in the refrigerated case at Whole Foods)
Sterilize all of your equipment with boiling water. Bring coconut milk to a rolling boil on top of the stove, and then dissolve the agar by stirring with a whisk. Pour your mixture into a sterile glass jar. Add the maple syrup, and allow it to cool to 110-115ºF. Stir in the probiotic powder. Seal the jar with a lid, and then wrap it in a towel to keep it insulated.
Store the jar in a warm place, such as in your oven with only the light on. You can also use a heating pad set to very low to keep your yogurt warm. Ensure the temperature doesn’t exceed 115ºF and allow it to ferment for 18-24 hours for a tart flavor. To give it a real homemade coconut yogurt flavor, top it off with lightly sweetened, toasted shredded coconut.
Vegan Almond Milk Yogurt
This almond milk yogurt recipe will teach you not only how to make almond yogurt but also almond milk for other purposes like on top of your breakfast cereal. If followed correctly, it is one of the best vegan yogurt recipes.
- 1 cup of raw almonds
- 3 cups of filtered water
- 1 teaspoon locust bean gum
- ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
- ⅛ teaspoon agar powder
- 1 packet yogurt starter (or 2 tablespoons non-dairy yogurt)
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)
Soak the almonds overnight. The next morning, drain them and add to a blender with filtered water. Blend on high until smooth (about a minute). Strain the milk with a thin, clean dishtowel until you retain 2½ cups of almond milk. Combine the almond milk, locust bean gum, xanthan gum, and agar in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until it reaches 185°F, whisking constantly. Remove from heat just before it boils.
Transfer to a large glass bowl and let it sit until the temperature drops to 110°F (about 20 minutes). Now you can stir in the yogurt starter. Whisk out any lumpiness, and pour into glass jars and cover with lids. Set the jars in a baking dish and fill with warm water until jars are half immersed.
Place the baking dish with the jars in a 105°F preheated oven for 6-10 hours. Transfer the yogurt to the fridge and let it cool for at least 8 hours. Will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
Additional Thoughts on Vegan Yogurts
As you get to be an accomplished vegan yogurt maker, you can play around with factors like your preferred thickener, an almond milk substitute, etc., but start with the parameters of a good recipe and follow it closely.
Once you find a recipe you like, you can try some additional ways to enjoy your vegan yogurt:
- Freeze it and blend into a smoothie for added protein.
- Create a healthy dessert by topping cold yogurt with fresh berries and granola, for an “ice cream-free” sundae.
- Use it as the base for salad dressings, slaw, and more.