Cashew Coconut Vegan Yoghurt

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My secret to tangy slaw, moist muffins and perfect breakfast parfaits – yoghurt! Unfortunately, finding dairy free yoghurt in South Africa has been virtually impossible. My solution was to purchase a yoghurt maker and start experimenting with plant based yoghurts. The result –  a thick and creamy yoghurt that is  free of additives and preservatives.

I cannot take credit for the magic of turning a creamy base of cashew nuts and coconut milk into a fully cultured yoghurt. The real magicians are the bacteria from probiotic powder. Both probiotic powders and capsules work well, but the key is to find them in the refrigerated section of your pharmacy or health food store. Using refrigerated probiotics ensure that the bacteria is alive and well. The most difficult part of making this yoghurt is literally the waiting in between each step.

Here I have paired the yoghurt with crunchy granola and fresh berries in a breakfast parfait. The yoghurt has a slight cashew and coconut taste with a delicious tang and can be used in baked goods, tangy dressings and sauces, frozen desserts or enjoyed plain.

Yoghurt base
Makes ±1,2L yoghurt

300g cashew nuts, pre-soaked for 8 hours
600ml coconut milk/cream (add more if you prefer a thinner consistency)
juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1 Tbsp agave nectar (optional or add more if you prefer a sweeter yoghurt)
1 tsp probiotic powder

Drain and rinse the cashew nuts. Add the nuts, coconut milk, lemon juice, vanilla extract and agave nectar to a blender. A high speed blender achieves an especially smooth result. Blend until a smooth cream forms.

Add the probiotic powder and blend until combined.

Place the mixture in a yoghurt maker to cook for a minimum of 10 hours. Vegan yoghurt takes much longer to achieve a tangy flavour. You will have to experiment to find the correct flavour for your palate.

If you do not have a yoghurt maker you could try placing the mixture in a warm area that is free of dust and not in direct sunlight (but I have never tested this method myself).

Refrigerate your yoghurt for at least 8 hours before eating. The yoghurt will last up to seven days in the refrigerator.

To serve
Serves 2

200ml yoghurt
80g granola
1 cup berries

Layer your yoghurt and granola in glasses. Top with berries and enjoy.

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