This super thick greek style cashew yogurt has just two ingredients, is raw vegan, gluten-free, nut-free*, high in protein and low in carbohydrates and low GI. It’s thick and creamy without being super full of fat, plus you can rest assured the fat you’re getting is really good for you.
I know there are concerns about cashew pickers in India being paid a fair wage and sensationalist articles that will have you feeling guilty no matter what you eat (avocados being the latest in the firing line). When I was 19 I went to Goa in India where cashew trees were imported by the Portuguese in the 1560’s. where a big portion of their income comes from growing cashews. What I loved was that the outside of the cashew, the fruit, is used to make all sorts of things even though it doesn’t taste that great on its own and it can burn the hands of the workers. So by buying fairtrade you’re making sure the people are paid a fair wage. The rain there is enough to grow these gorgeous fruits, but each one only produces one cashew which is why they’re a little more expensive than peanuts, for example. But for taste, versatility and texture they win out for me as the best dairy replacement.
If you can get fairtrade cashews for under £20/kg you’ve got a good deal, standard ones are about £12/kg.
For this recipe you’ll need a stick blender and jug or a bullet blender and some warm water. As for the magic ingredient, it’s all down to the probiotics. You can, if you prefer, use a tablespoon of any other live yogurt such as coconut yogurt or even dairy, as a starter. If you’re a new vegan and are still using up the last of your diary you don’t need to go out and buy plant-based yogurt. It’s really expensive and that’s why I make it!
The most economical way to start any yogurt though is with a probiotic capsule. Once you’ve made it once you can keep back a tablespoon each time for your next batch (I have a little jar in my fridge for it and hubby is very good at not feeding it to the kids. You can get these capsules in most chemists and health food shops but many of them come in gelatin capsules, made from animal products. So be careful to get vegan ones to make sure they’re cruelty-free.
I like the Veganicity ones that are reasonably priced and say they’re made up of “1.25 Billion Beneficial Bacteria Vegan Megadophilus, which naturally helps us digest our food, plays a vital role in our immune system and impacts on our general health. Beneficial bacteria not only help to digest food, but also have a role to play in immune system function and the production of B vitamins and fatty acids“.
You need to keep yogurt warm for it to work and you can buy special yogurt makers but a cool box or insulated food container will work perfectly too and use zero electricity! We’re going to be using this method to make fresh vegan yogurt in Tanzania because everyone uses these ingenious containers. It means you can cook an entire meal on one charcoal burner and keep each dish hot while you make the rest.
1. Soak the cashews overnight in cold water and they’ll more than double in size. Drain and just cover with hot but not boiling water. Blend really well until you have a fine consistency. No need to strain
2. Add the probiotic or yogurt starter while it’s still warm. You can put in a pinch of salt and a squeeze of agave syrup for flavour if you like, which helps the flavour taste more “yogurty”.
3.Put your mixture in a yogurt maker or in a container floating in warm water in the cool box. The water should be slightly warmer than body temperature. Leave it for 4-6 hours and if necessary change the water so it’s still warm. Body temperature is perfect. You’ll notice it’s bubbling already and slightly sour.
4. After at least 8 hours or overnight (I’ve forgotton them for days and they’re still good) you can refridgerate the cashew yogurt. I like to strain it gently in muslin to thicken it and amplify the flavour.
We love this cashew yogurt in pudding bowls,
*cashews really aren’t nuts, but if you have a severe allergy check the may-contains as some will be packaged with peanuts. Give them a good check after soaking too
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