I've been asked more than a few times if I could ever go vegan. Considering over half the meals I cook are vegan, it wouldn't be a huge stretch. But honestly, I just love cheese too much. Cashew cheese is pretty fantastic, but it doesn't hold a candle to a slice of creamy camembert or a chunk of aged parmesan.
The other thing that would be difficult for me is yogurt. I don't have the same deep love for yogurt as I do cheese, but you can't beat it's convenience. I always keep small mason jars of my DIY flavored yogurt on hand for a grab and go snack. It's a nice little balanced package of fat, protein and carbs, the perfect snack to hold you over till your next meal. You say they make almond and coconut milk yogurt? Clearly you haven't tasted it because if you had, you wouldn't be bringing it up as an option.
At this point, hopefully we've established that nuts win the MVP award in any vegan kitchen. Soaked and blended, they can make everything from flavored nut milk to cheese sauce to taco filling. So lets go ahead and add yogurt to that list.
This vegan "yogurt" is a blend of fruit and soaked macadamia nuts, which add a creamy, almost milky texture. I mean, macadamia nuts taste like butter, and butter is dairy, and so is yogurt, so it kind of makes sense, right?
Some people (sadly) avoid macadamia nuts because of their fat content. All nuts are rich sources of fats, but macadamia nuts have the highest fat content of all. That's okay though, because the vast majority, about 75%, is monounsaturated, the same time of fat in olive oil. In fact, one study found supplementing macadamia nuts and their oil was more effective at lowering cholesterol than the diet recommended by the American Heart Association.
I've made this recipe a few different times now with different blends of fruit and all have turned out wonderfully, but this version using only mangos was ultra-creamy. For convenience, I used defrosted frozen fruit. The only thing this version is missing are the beneficial probiotics found in yogurt and other cultured foods. Thinking creatively, you could use 1/3 cup of kombucha, a fermented probiotic tea, instead of orange juice. I haven't tried it, but I think it would taste pretty yummy, depending on what flavor you use. Let me know if you have any other suggestions!
Easy Homemade Vegan Yogurt
Feel free to make this with whatever fruits you have on hand. Berries, bananas and pineapple are all fantastic. For additional protein, use a little vegan protein powder. Inspired by Can Carmelo's Mangurt.
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 cups mango cubes
- 1/2 cup macadamia nuts, soaked in water at least 2 hours
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- Juice of 1 orange
- Juice of half a small lemon*
- 1 tablespoon maca powder (optional, but adds a nice malty flavor)
- Mix chia and water and let sit 10 minutes to gel. Once gel has formed, add chia mixture, mango, soaked and drained macadamia nuts, tumeric, orange juice, lemon juice and maca powder to a food processor. Blend 2-5 minutes, until thick and creamy. Serve garnished with shredded coconut, berries or nuts or store in individual portions in small mason jars.
*My husband was very anti-lemon in this recipe, but I felt it really brightens the flavor and adds a nice tart. If you're not sure, leave it out, taste it, and blend it in if you think it needs it.
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