Vegan yogurt is delicious, healthy, and easy to make, and you can even use it as a substitute in your baked goods and most other recipes that call for regular (dairy) yogurt.
Moooove along, cow’s milk!
Cow’s milk and its yogurt often contain antibiotics and growth hormone residues called rBST which you certainly do not want in your body. This is one of the main reasons why people have given up cow’s milk and are turning to non-dairy alternatives.
When veganism first came on the scene, people had a hard time finding non-dairy milk replacements. That is not the case anymore. Today, given the wide range of plant-based milk options, there’s no need for cow, goat, sheep, or even buffalo milk. The most popular non-dairy milk substitutes are rice, soy, almond, cashew, grain milk, and yes, even oat milk.
Vegan or non-dairy milk is readily available everywhere these days. It even comes in delicious flavors like strawberry, vanilla, chocolate, etc. You can also find skimmed or fat-free versions of vegan milk. There are fortified or vitamin-rich vegan milk available too.
In many countries, vegan milk is attractively priced, aesthetically packed in aseptic containers, and even comes in individual, quart, half-gallon, or gallon-sized packs.
But why buy when you can make your own? Vegan milk is easy to make at home and all it takes is a bit of soaking and blending nuts or grains. I will be discussing non-dairy milk later in the recipe.
Vegan buttermilk and yogurt – delicious, versatile and healthy!
You can use vegan yogurt and buttermilk in many recipes including bread puddings, pies, smoothies, shakes, cookies, cakes, cupcakes, and even for frosting.
Just remember that the consistency of vegan yogurt is different than dairy yogurt and that can impact your final recipe. For example, if you use soy yogurt, then remember that it is quite thick, while coconut yogurt is slightly thinner. So soy yogurt may be a better substitute for dairy yogurt that is made using whole milk.
Vegan yogurt adds moisture to baking recipes and gives a great texture to your cakes or baked treats.
Making homemade vegan yogurt is very easy too. Some recipes need a yogurt maker though, especially if you live in a cold climate. Plain soy milk works best for making yogurt for vegans.
You can also use flavored soy milk and this yogurt can be easily used in fruit-based vegan recipes like strawberry muffins and smoothies. Have you tried vegan buttermilk? Let me tell you it is delicious! You can make it using two easily available ingredients: lemon juice and vinegar, which you add to soy milk.
Vegan Greek-style yogurt
If you can make vegan yogurt, then you can certainly make Greek-style vegan yogurt. Many oat milk yogurts yield tart, thick and tasty yogurt recipes. Many brands of commercial vegan Greek yogurts are also available readily in the market.
Does dairy-free vegan yogurt contain live bacteria?
In my research, I have found that many dairy-free yogurt varieties contain a greater diversity of probiotic strains than dairy yogurt. Naturally, this, in no way means that vegan yogurt is better than cow’s milk yogurt but if you are vegan for health or eco-friendly reasons, you can at least still reap some of the health benefits.
Let’s discuss some tips to ensure that you only buy healthy vegan yogurt:
Tips for buying Vegan yogurt
The yogurt should state that it has ‘live’ cultures
You need to buy non-dairy yogurt for the culture to make your first batch which you can reuse for subsequent batches. No matter which variety of yogurt you buy, the brand must have the words ‘live’ and ‘active’ on it. This way, you know for sure that the yogurt will benefit your gut microflora.
It should not have any hidden sugar content
Some vegan yogurts, especially the fruit-flavored ones, contain a whopping amount of sugar. Unless you plan to eat the yogurt as a treat, it is best to avoid brands containing more than 15g of sugar per serving.
It should not be heat-treated
If the yogurt is heat-treated, then it is likely to lose the beneficial probiotic bacteria in it. Heat- treated yogurt, vegan or otherwise, will not give you the health benefits you may be looking for.
It should not contain fillers
Any yogurt with colors, flavors, dyes, preservatives, or ingredients like xanthan gum is best avoided, in my opinion.Print
Did you know that you can make delicious milk from oats? Oat milk is thick, creamy, and has a natural nutty and sweet flavor that is great in coffee. It is also rich in protein content. One cup of oats produces very thick, almost pudding-like yogurt. If you prefer it thin, just halve the quantity of oats.
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup rolled or steel-cut oats
- 3 tbsp or 45 grams non-dairy yogurt like coconut yogurt
- Mesh strainer
- Soak oats in water for about 15 minutes.
- Blend on high until the mixture is nice and creamy.
- Use cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer and strain the mixture.
- You may have to strain the mixture twice.
- Transfer the oats milk to a saucepan and gently heat it to 180 F. It is important that you not boil the milk.
- You also need to whisk often during the heating process. This is because oat milk tends to gel at the bottom of the pan.
- Cool the milk down to 115 F. You do not want anything hotter than this temperature as heat kills the cultures.
- Now add the non-dairy yogurt to the milk. Whisk well.
- If you have a yogurt maker, follow the instructions for that. If you do not have a yogurt maker, simply place the inoculated milk in an insulated pot or glass jar and cover the pot/jar with thick towels to maintain the heat. You may even place the pot or jar in an oven that has been preheated to about 110 F. Switch the oven off but leave its light on. A microwave oven also works well; simply place the pot inside the microwave and do not turn it on. It is only for insulation.
- Let the oat yogurt sit for at least 8 hours. The longer it sits, the tangier its taste.
Vegan yogurt is healthy, delicious, and versatile. Try the above recipe and once done, enjoy it as is, or add fruits, flavors, essences, herbs, or sweeteners to enhance its taste. You can even use it as a substitute in place of regular yogurt. Store the yogurt in the refrigerator and make sure to save some for the next batch.