As a vegan, there are several considerations to be made before you’re ready to incorporate that new snack into your dietary routine – are all the ingredients ethically sourced? Is the product dairy-free? And in most cases, is the product gluten-free as well?
These are answers that most vegans seek when they inadvertently turn to the product’s ingredient list before purchase. One such popular snack is Greek yogurt, which has been all the rage among those who value healthy diets.
But is Greek yogurt vegan – and if not, is there a way to substitute the dairy components in Greek yogurt with plant-based alternatives? Here, you’ll find a thorough rundown of the nutritional benefits of Greek yogurt – as well as a make your very own vegan Greek yogurt recipe at home.
What is Greek Yogurt?
If you’ve enjoyed this airy and lightweight substance as an accompaniment for your breakfast muesli or simply as an afternoon snack but don’t know the differences between regular yogurt and Greek yogurt, then don’t fret.
They resemble each other in terms of consistency, and yet the latter has a fundamental difference in the means of production. The Greek way of producing yogurt entailed straining the wheat apart in order to make the yogurt smoother – which is primarily why it’s called Greek yogurt.
Is Greek Yogurt Vegan?
Like most forms of yogurt, Greek yogurt is also sadly not vegan. A fundamental ingredient in the production of Greek yogurt is cow milk – which is a definite no-no for all vegans since you can never be too sure whether cow’s milk is ethically sourced or not. The production of Greek yogurt thus entails artificially inseminating and exploiting cows for their milk, which makes it a non-vegan food.
Is Greek Yogurt Dairy Free?
While it may not be vegan, is Greek yogurt dairy free? As mentioned before, Greek yogurt is definitely not dairy-free – since one of the prime ingredients it utilizes is cow milk. However, Greek yogurt does find itself substantially lower in terms of lactose than regular yogurt.
Since Greek yogurt is veritably strained and altered multiple times, only trace amounts of lactose remain – making it an excellent choice for those who are lactose-intolerant, but not so much for vegans.
Difference Between Regular Yogurt and Greek Yogurt
While regular yogurt and Greek yogurt may resemble each other in terms of over flavor composition, ingredients, and consistencies, the production method for both of them is widely different – resulting in an exponentially tangier taste for Greek yogurt as opposed to regular yogurt.
While both of them require whole milk as the prime ingredient, Greek yogurt utilizes more of it and is thus pricier than regular yogurt. Both of them are fermented with the help of bacteria being added to them to aid the fermentation process, but Greek yogurt takes it a step further by drawing out the straining process.
Greek yogurt gets rid of liquids completely by traditional methods or centrifuges, making it thicker and tangier than regular yogurt. Greek-style yogurt, on the other hand, requires further thickening in the form of thickening agents.
|Nutritional Components||Low Fat Greek Yogurt||Low Fat Regular Yogurt|
|Calcium||22% of RDA||34% of RDA|
|Fat||5 g||4 g|
|Sugar||9 g||17 g|
|Sodium||4% of RDA||7% of RDA|
|Protein||24 g||13 g|
|Carbs||10 g||17 g|
In terms of nutritional composition, Greek yogurt is definitely ahead of Regular yogurt because it is replete with important minerals and macronutrients. Protein content in Greek yogurt, for instance, is significantly higher than in regular yogurt – with the carbs and sugar content being almost negligible.
This makes Greek yogurt a great option for those who are pursuing lean diets and want to cut down on their sugar intake. On the other hand, regular yogurt provides a greater quantity of both calcium and sodium in a single serving, as opposed to Greek yogurt. However, they both remain rich in probiotics as well as Vitamin B12 – making them excellent alternatives to supplements for the latter.
Health Benefits of Greek Yogurt
In terms of providing energy, protein can be miraculous, especially if you’re someone who does not consume meat regularly. Greek yogurt is popular for having a high protein content but being low in carbohydrates – so if you’re looking for a lean source of protein, then Greek yogurt can be your go-to snack.
Yet another important mineral that is required by your body but one that it cannot produce – calcium. Greek yogurt is abundant in calcium – which can be beneficial to both children and adults in terms of maintaining proper bone density and reducing risks for bone-related issues such as osteoporosis.
Probiotics, or good bacteria, are extremely essential for both gut health and a functioning immune system. Probiotics can help combat bad and harmful bacteria present in your stomach while also positively affecting your mental well-being. Studies have shown that the consumption of probiotics can lessen stress considerably.
4. Vitamin B12
Another vital vitamin for vegetarians, B12 is present in animal-based products – however, you can also find an abundance of B12 in Greek yogurt. Vitamin B12 helps in the formation of red blood cells and your DNA, which is why the consumption of it through supplements is absolutely necessary – making Greek yogurt an easy way for you to get your B12 RDA in.
Best Vegan Greek Yogurt Brands
While the production of traditional Greek yogurt contains the inclusion of dairy in the form of cow milk, there are brands manufacturing Greek yogurt without the usage of dairy products – making them completely safe for vegans to consume.
Here are three of these vegan Greek yogurt brands that manufacture vegan Greek yogurt while not using any dairy products. These brands instead utilize gluten-free substitutes for cow milk and instead use plant-based milk for Greek yogurt production.
The Happy Baby Greek Yogurt is an amazing snack for little ones who have begun to crawl with their stomach touching the floor. Once they have reached this developmental milestone, it is paramount to introduce melts and foods of similar consistencies to them – with this Happy Baby Greek yogurt freeze-dried snack being one of them.
Revolutionizing healthy eating habits for babies, Happy Baby attempts to pair a delicious taste that your baby will enjoy along with health as well.
Being low in fat and rich in proteins, prepare to give your little one their early nutrition with this Greek yogurt.
Additionally, it serves as an excellent snack for adults who love freeze-dried Greek yogurt as well, making it a well-rounded Greek yogurt product.
This Unsweetened Almond Milk Greek Yogurt by Kite Hill promises a smooth texture for your dairy-free delicacy without compromising on the light and airy taste.
Using plant-based milk for production instead of dairy, this almond milk-based Greek yogurt can be paired with all of the regular accompaniments with Greek yogurt or can be enjoyed on its own as a light snack.
It is also gluten-free and does not contain soy, making this an excellent alternative for those prone to soy allergies.
All products from Kite Hill are cruelty-free, which is why this almond milk yogurt can be consumed guilt-free without worrying about non-ethical manufacturing processes. Additionally, this yogurt is keto-friendly and is thus a healthy option as well.
If you’re still unsure about the manufacturing processes of brands that offer plant-based alternatives for dairy in Greek yogurt, then you can make your own dairy-free Greek yogurt with the help of this Greek yogurt Kefir Starter.
One pack of this product yields three gallons of completely vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free Greek yogurt. With this product, you can also find recipes for your vegan Greek yogurt included, so you can add ingredients accordingly in the form of a natural flavoring, sweeteners, and more – however you may prefer your Greek yogurt to be.
Not only does this make it an extremely affordable option in terms of being a vegan substitute for Greek yogurt, but it also renders the production process completely safe and free of unknown additives!
Homemade Vegan Greek Yogurt Recipe
As delicious as traditionally produced Greek yogurt is, it is unfortunately not free of dairy. The traditional method for making Greek yogurt heavily relies on the inclusion of dairy products, and specifically cow milk.
However, there are alternatives that can be added to the production of Greek yogurt that can make the flavor and consistency as alike to traditionally produced dairy free greek yogurt as possible. You can replace cow milk with plant-based alternatives for milk ranging from almond milk to soy milk – but for the purposes of mirroring the consistency of cow milk as closely as possible, you can instead opt for coconut milk to make your Greek yogurt creamier than ever.
With this recipe, you can rest assured that the probiotic content is as rich as ever – since the added probiotics will be what transforms the base of the Greek yogurt into ready-to-eat vegan Greek yogurt recipe after it has set for enough time.
How To Make Dairy Free Greek Yogurt
- 1½ cup whole, raw cashews
- 3-4 capsules probiotic
- 2 cans coconut milk
- ¼ cup Tapioca starch
- The first step you’ll have to follow in order to make your very own homemade vegan Greek yogurt recipe is to soak your cashews in some water overnight, for a time period of at least eight hours.
- Once your cashews have been thoroughly soaked, stick them into the blender along with your coconut milk and tapioca starch to an extremely smooth consistency. Once this has been achieved, you can put this mixture away into a pot.
- You’ll then need to simmer this mixture thoroughly on low heat while constantly stirring to make sure it doesn’t stick to the base of your pot. This is where your vegan Greek yogurt will achieve its desired thickness, so you can let it cool once it has simmered.
- This is the step where the fermentation, with the help of the probiotic capsules, steps in. Depending on the brand, you’ll need to put in varying quantities of probiotic capsules to let the mixture ferment properly, stirring it with a non-metal spatula. It is best to let it ferment for around 12 to 36 hours, depending on how tangy you like your Greek yogurt.
- And there you have it - completely vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and delicious coconut milk Greek yogurt that you’ve made from scratch. Apart from the sense of accomplishment, you’re also rewarded with a healthy substitute for Greek yogurt that suits your tastebuds exactly since you can choose to ferment it for any length of time.
- You can opt to keep tasting your yogurt during the fermentation process to ensure that your yogurt is tangy in just the way you like it, and feel free to store it in your refrigerator for up to a couple of weeks!
- Below are the nutrition facts per serving (1/6th of the recipe size) of the dairy free greek yogurt
As a vegan, you don’t have to be missing out on this nutritious and healthy snack at all.
By making your very own batch of homemade vegan Greek yogurt or purchasing one of the dairy-free alternatives by choosing from the best vegan yogurt brands above that make use of plant-based sources of milk instead, you can incorporate Greek yogurt into your diet just as easily without missing out on any of the benefits.
Whether proteins, probiotics, or vitamin B-12 – Greek yogurt displays an abundance of all of these vital components of nutrition. So go ahead and add a spoonful of Greek yogurt to your morning fruit bowl or cereal!