People who say that there is no good way to make yogurt without using milk must have never tried vegan yogurt. This yogurt can be just as creamy, thick and delicious as the dairy variety. Plus, since it is slowly becoming more popular, it is often available at commercial grocery stores so people don't even have to drive out of the way to get it.
Types of Vegan Yogurt Available
The first type of vegan yogurt people are likely to come across is soy yogurt by brands such as Silk and WholeSoy & Co. This yogurt uses cultured soy milk instead of cow's milk as its main ingredient. Other types of non-dairy yogurt that are available include:
- Coconut milk yogurt
- Arrowroot yogurt
- Nut milk yogurt
While coconut milk yogurt is readily available commercially under the brand name So Delicious and Nogurt arrowroot yogurt can be found at many natural food stores, vegans who would like to try nut milk yogurt may have to make it themselves or order it off the menu at a vegan restaurant. Rice milk aficionados should be warned that this beverage does not make a very thick yogurt due to its makeup and consistency, so it is best to go with one of the other bases if possible.
Making Dairy Free Yogurt
Since yogurt is not just thick milk but contains active cultures, the first step to making dairy free yogurt out of something like nuts is purchasing a vegan yogurt starter. A popular one is ProGurt, which is available at natural foods stores and on the Web.
To make a cashew milk vegan yogurt, in addition to the starter you will need a half cup of cashews without any salt or other seasoning on them, two cups of water and a bottle of agave nectar. You will also need a sieve, a cooking pot, a heat proof spoon and a yogurt maker.
- Put the cashews and water in the food processor on high until the nuts are sufficiently liquefied.
- Pour the mixture through the sieve into the cooking pot to strain out any nut pieces.
- Place the pot on the stove on high and boil it for five minutes, stirring continuously.
- Turn off the heat and continue to stir as the mixture cools.
- Add in two teaspoons of agave nectar once it reaches about 70 degrees. Stir.
- Put in an eighth of a teaspoon of starter for each quart of liquid. Stir.
- Pour the liquid into the yogurt maker and cook for nine hours.
If the yogurt comes out too thin, add cornstarch by the half teaspoon as needed. Cover the yogurt and refrigerate it when it's done.
Most any other nut can be substituted for the cashews in this recipe, although the amounts of each ingredient may have to be adjusted for taste. Making nut yogurt is a fairly involved task that can take the upwards of an afternoon.
Those who want to start with some easier recipes that don't require a yogurt maker or starter, and take a lot less time, can check out the soy yogurt recipes on VegWeb. Some only take about 15 minutes from start to finish.
Vegan Frozen Yogurt
Yes, vegans can have frozen yogurt too, although buying it is a whole lot easier than making it, especially for those who don't own an ice cream maker. A couple companies that sell vegan frozen yogurt are Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt and Wheeler's. Wheeler's brand is local to the Boston area. Tutti Frutti has stores located throughout the country, so check their online store locator to see if there's one near you.