package free: coconut yogurt

Coconut yogurt

Coconut yogurt was something that took me FOREVER to master.  I was using Minimalist Baker’s recipe to start out with (which is JUST coconut milk and probiotics), but I could never get it right.  It would always end up too thin, and the flavor of the canned coconut milk tasted kind of “tinny” to me (I tried over 10 times and even the exact milk and probiotic she used).  Then one of you lovely readers told me about Miyoko’s recipe for vegan soy yogurt- she blends with cashews for thickness, creaminess and depth of flavor.  I did that with my coconut milk and OMG!  100% success and perfection.  My favorite 2 brands of canned coco milk: Field Day and 365 organic (the Whole Foods generic store brand).   Check out my instagram for a whole story highlights reel showing the variety!  One of you lovely readers told me you subbed pumpkin seeds for the cashews and it turned out great, too.  Another person said they used fresh young coconut meat and macadamias and that worked well too!

I use this coconut yogurt mainly for burcha breakfasts, kids snacks (with a little spoon of jam), and easy crema/sour cream.  Simply whisk some yogurt with a little lime zest, salt, and optional garlic with enough water to thin to your desired consistency.  Add a little cucumber, garlic and dill for a great tzatziki.  This makes the perfect dollop for curries, mujaradda, grain bowls, pureed soups, enchiladas, beans, tacos, you name it.  The kids enjoy a scoop with homemade chia jam and fresh fruit + sprouted crunchy buckwheat.

vegan bowl breakfast coconut yogurt

the yogurt with fruit and crunchy seeds

The most important thing about this recipe is using the highest quality probiotics you can afford.  If you already have store bought live culture yogurt in your fridge, you can also use a few tablespoons of that to start it instead of probiotics.  What I’ve been doing to prolong my probiotics is saving a few tablespoons of my last batch to culture my new batch.  I used this 90 billion count probiotic from a friend who kindly shared a few capsules from her bottle for me to try.  I’ve made about 5 subsequent batches now from the resulting original yogurt, which is about as many as you can get from it before you need to start with a new batch adding fresh probiotics.  I’ll probably buy a different one next, but stick within the 90 billion + count.  Healthforce has a good looking one in glass with a metal cap.

probiotic

The first time I tried with a lower count probiotic from my store and it did not work, but I tried again with extra capsules and it was good, but not as good as the 90 billion count.  Sometimes stores also sell non dairy yogurt starters, and you can use that, too.  If, for some reason, yours doesn’t set up properly and is thin, don’t toss- save to add to smoothies, freeze in ice cubes to use later, or drink it!

UPDATED to note:  I have gotten so many mixed reviews for this.  Some of you with beautiful results and some of you that it didn’t work for.  Make sure you use the cashews, make sure that it’s blended SUPER smooth, make sure your probiotics are active, and keep experimenting with it.  Fermentation is more of an art than a science and so many factors affect it- temperature, humidity, probiotic to name a few.

simple coconut yogurt (yields about 2 cups) 

ingredients:

1 can of full fat coconut milk OR 1.75 cups fresh homemade thick coconut milk

1/4 cup cashew pieces, soaked in hot water for a few hours- if you have a vita mix you can just soak about 15 minutes (update: I skip the soaking now)

2 high quality probiotic capsules

method:

Blend the coconut milk and the drained, soaked cashews in a blender until totally smooth.  The milk should get a little warm from this process.  Make sure it is not too hot or it will kill the probiotics.  Empty the probiotic capsules into the blender (just the powder inside) and blend for a second or two just to combine.

Pour into a clean jar, making sure to leave at least 2 inches of space in case of expansion.  Cover with a clean cloth napkin or kitchen towel and secure with a rubber band.

yogurt zero waste coconut

plain on the left and turmeric chili on the right

Leave out on the counter, away from direct light, in a preferably warmer place in the house- this will help it culture best.  After 24 hours, check the taste and texture.  My husband and kids prefers it at this stage, its mild and lightly tangy, like a regular store yogurt.  If you like how it tastes now, simply put a lid on it and refrigerate!  It will thicken more as it cools.  I like it with a little more tang, so I let mine culture another few hours, which results in a sour, slightly funky taste which I really like!

This will keep in the fridge about 2 weeks.

Et voila, homemade creamy coconut milk yogurt.  I haven’t tried with almond milk or soy milk, but let me know if you do!  I think it should still work but may not be as thick.

coconut yogurt thick easy vegan

 

 

simple coconut or sesame sautéed lacinato kale

Vegan sesame kale

I’ve been loving this super simple way to prepare kale that makes it really tasty.  I love kale all the ways- in slaw, salad, steamed, wilted into soup, pesto, smoothies- but lately I’ve really been enjoying the extra pop of flavor in this method.  We grow lacinato (also called tuscan, or dino) kale in our garden.  It’s a low maintenance and prolific green to grow, so we have an abundance of it always and it’s nice to mix up the ways we prepare it.

garden kale California

Also, I’ve found my kids really love the umami of the aminos and the texture of the coconut flakes or sesame seeds in it.  If you’re not a coconut or sesame fan, just leave them out or try subbing with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or almonds.  Sometimes I add in a handful of other veg that need to be used, like broccoli or carrots.  When I wash the veggies I save the water to water plants outside or in.

kale

I leave the stems in the kale, because they are delicious and add nutrition + a nice crunchy texture, plus no waste- they’re similar to broccoli stems.  Feel free to remove if thats your thing.

vegan coconut kale

coconut or sesame sautéed lacinato kale (serves 4 sides or 2 if you’re a kale hog like me)

2 bunches lacinato kale, chopped into 1/2 inch or so pieces

1 tablespoon coconut, sesame or olive oil (or sub water if you’re oil free)- all give different flavor profiles so mix it up and experiment with what’s your favorite

1 large clove garlic, minced/pressed/crushed

2 teaspoons liquid aminos or 1 tablespoon tamari

1/4 cup of large flake unsweetened dried coconut OR 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

optional: toppings like green onions or cilantro

method

  1. heat a heavy skillet on high for a minute or two until its nice and hot (no oil yet).
  2. add in the kale and let it cook without stirring (and without oil) for a minute or two until the edges start to get a little toasty.
  3. NOW add in the oil (or equivalent amount of water) and the coconut and stir fry it around the pan, tossing and mixing until the kale is nice and soft (about 3 minutes for our liking- feel free to go longer if you like it softer or less if you want it more raw)
  4. remove from heat and immediately stir in the raw garlic and the aminos or tamari, quickly stirring it so that all the garlic gets incorporated and in contact with the hot pan- you want it tamed but not burnt.
  5. plate and enjoy!  We love this as a side, in buddha bowls, on top of a blended soup like this carrot one or butternut, or sometimes I add in chickpeas or tofu, too, for a really fast lunch.

 

vegan sesame kale