The word yogurt is often synonymous with the epitome of health food. Yogurt has been consumed by humans for a long time and is estimated to have been made thousands of years ago. Yogurt has long enjoyed a reputation of being a staple health food that will leave your gut feeling great. The quality of yogurt that is touted as stomach friendly are the bacteria living in it, known as probiotics. Probiotics populating your digestive tract are absolutely essential for truly radiant health.
Gut and Microbiome Health
Gut health and microbiome health are currently trendy health topics and for good reason. While research is still being conducted, what has been shown is that we have microorganisms that cover and inhabit our body and work both symbiotically and as pathogens, contributing to health or disease. It’s been discovered that unbalanced microbiomes can contribute to a variety of ails such as asthma, obesity and even mood disorders, as it is estimated that up to 90 percent of our body’s serotonin is made in our gut. Particular types, or strains of probiotics have demonstrated remarkable benefits, and these are often what you see listed on your yogurt, such as B. bifidum, or L.acidophilus. When we consume this beneficial strains, they populate our gut and contribute to our overall health.
Traditional vs Vegan Yogurt
Traditional yogurt, made from dairy, has been shown to alter gut bacteria and most likely creates an inflammatory response (animal research has been done but not human yet). When you couple inflammation with the cruelty of the dairy industry, it’s easy to see why plant-based yogurt is a better choice.
If yogurt isn’t made from dairy, then what options are available? Plants, and a pretty varied selection of them. From coconut to almond, to hemp, to soy, to flax seed and even pea protein, vegan yogurt is relatively easy to make and is having a moment. All vegan yogurts have probiotics, and some even contain protein, fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. These plant-based yogurt alternatives vary in textures from rich and thick Greek-like yogurt to thin and sweetly flavored like more common store brands.
While being plant-based is far more ethical for the earth and animals, it does not always guarantee that it is a healthy food. While it appears most plant-based yogurts have lower sugar than their dairy counterparts, some do still carry a fair amount of sugar, as much as 17 grams per serving, making it something to be aware of for anyone who needs to watch their sugar. Aside from the sugar, some brands are more processed than others, so yes, they taste phenomenal and are certainly food, but shouldn’t be considered the optimal healthy food that many think they’re getting when they consume yogurt. Vegan yogurt is currently available at almost all major grocery stores.
Notable Vegan Yogurt Brands
This deliciously thick coconut based yogurt is taking the world by storm. Originally from Australia, this yogurt has recently arrived in the States and has gained quite a following. Coyo is minimally processed and made from simple ingredients, imbuing a delightfully tangy flavor with a truly rich texture.
GT’s is well known for its delicious kombucha, and their recent endeavor into coconut yogurt does not disappoint. This coconut yogurt comes in a variety of flavors and is perhaps the least processed yogurt currently on the market, consisting of just raw coconut water, raw coconut meat, cultures and flavoring ingredients such as turmeric or raspberries. This yogurt is super fizzy and tart while also being light and fluffy.
Created by two chefs and a medical institute investigator using traditional culturing methods, Kite Hill is a creamy almond based yogurt that mimics traditional store brand flavors and texture. Kids and adults will appreciate this yogurt for its sweet taste and smooth texture.
This cashew-based yogurt, also referred to as Cashewgurt, is so smooth and creamy that you may just want to eat it on its own. Cashewgurt comes in a variety of delicious flavors.
A fairly new to market product, Ripple uses pea protein as its base, making it a great nut and soy free option. This Greek-style yogurt boosts low sugar, high protein content and noteworthy amounts of both calcium and iron.
This hemp-based yogurt is a great source of all ten of the essential amino acids as well as omega fatty acids. Tempt yogurt is Greek style as well as low in sugar.
This newcomer calls itself a whole food plant-based yogurt and with ingredients like pili nuts, plantains, coconut and cassava, it’s no wonder why. These yogurts have a unique yet luscious texture and have absolutely zero added sugar, making it the perfect feel-good snack.
Vegan Yogurt Recipes
Vegan Tzatziki Dip
This vegan take on a classic is an amazing go-to sauce filled with vitamin c, and immune boosters and is easily customizable by adding in different herbs or spices.
- 1 cup unsweetened Greek-style yogurt
- 3 tbsp finely grated cucumber from a peeled cucumber
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
- 1 tbsp pressed raw garlic – optional
- Mix all ingredients together by hand in a bowl and enjoy with falafel or as a salad dressing.
Tropical Fruit and Yogurt Bowl
This delicious fruit bowl contains healthy fats, vitamin C, vitamin A and antioxidants to boot, making it a healthy way to start your day.
- 1/2 ripe papaya cut into cubes or two bananas cut up into small pieces
- 2 ripe mangoes, cut into pieces
- 3/4 cup coconut yogurt
- 2-3 tbsp raw cacao nibs
- drizzle of coconut sap syrup
Savory Vegan Toast
Avocado toast is all the rage and now it’s yogurt toasts turn, even if it doesn’t roll off the tongue quite the same. This toast has protein, antioxidants, immune boosting properties and is super flavorful making it the ideal anytime snack.
- 2 slices bread of choice (Deland millet special is an excellent gluten-free option)
- 1/4 cup plain unsweetened hemp yogurt
- 1 small tomato, cut into thin slices
- a few slices of sweet onion
- 2 tbsp raw hemp seeds
- 1 garlic clove, halved
- 1 fresh chive or a tbsp dried chives
Toast bread until golden. While still warm, rub each half of garlic on each piece of bread to impart flavor. Next, spread half of the yogurt on each slice of bread then sprinkle on chives. Lay down onion, then tomatoes. Top with one tbsp hemp seeds each slice.
Sweet Vegan Toast
This sweet toast tastes like dessert but the kind that has minerals, probiotics, fiber and antioxidants, so eat up!
- 2 slices bread of choice
- 3 tbsp cashew butter
- 1/4 forager vanilla cashew yogurt
- 1/4 cup slices strawberries or 1 peach cut into slices
Toast bread until golden brown. Once cool, spread cashew butter on each slice. Next, spread half the yogurt on each slice. Finally, top with fruit.
Probiotic Chocolate Milk
This creamy chocolate milk has a hint of tang that is irresistible and is perfect on its own or with a chocolate chip cookie or two.
- 16 ounces coconut water (Harmless Harvest tastes like freshly cracked coconuts)
- 16 ounces unsweetened almond milk (Malk is divine and minimally processed)
- 2 5.3 ounces Kite Hill Vanilla Yogurt
- 3 tbsp raw cacao powder
Throw all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Best if consumed immediately.
Links to Other Vegan Yogurt Recipes
From The Minimalist Baker comes the easiest DIY coconut yogurt. This simple yogurt is a delicious way to get those probiotics in at a fraction of the cost of premade brands.
Simple Vegan Blog has dreamed up an easy to make cashew yogurt that requires minimal effort for an out of this world creamy product.
The First Mess takes the magical combination of tahini, lemon, and garlic and combines it with fresh herbs and yogurt to make an amazing dip that may just need to be used daily.
This simple two ingredient recipe makes soy yogurt accessible and less processed and cheaper than what you might find at the grocery store…winning!
What happens when you combine cashews, vegan yogurt, coconut milk and spice? Pure Magic. Imagine all the ranch dip you ate as a kid, except now it actually is good for you and tastes way better.
Yogurt is one easy way to help contribute to our overall health and happiness daily. Whether you choose a smoothie bowl or a decadent dressing, yogurt can have a place at any meal if you desire to upgrade your health. As the famous Hippocrates quote goes, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”