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Is Greek Yogurt Dairy Free?

Jason Hughes
Published by Jason Hughes
Fact checked by Markus Oliver, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: May 2, 2022

Greek yogurt is a particularly liked product amongst fans of healthy and tasty eating. Many, for good reasons, choose Greek yogurt over other types, adding it to meals and snacks.

Eating yogurts can be beneficial for us. Yogurts are a good source of live probiotics that are responsible for our gut’s health. They also mix great with other foods, like oat flakes, vegetables or fruit, which makes them the perfect companion for many meals.

Although Greek yogurt is one of the most popular dairy products, there is still a lot you might not know about it. For example, is Greek yogurt dairy free? This is something worth finding out if you want to include yogurt in your diet.

What Is Greek Yogurt?

First thing first, it might be helpful to explain the difference between Greek yogurt and a regular one. There are some significant differences in the way both of these products are made, even if, at first glance, there is not a lot that distinguishes one from the other.

The details are hidden in the production. To make Greek yogurt, the wheat has to be strained apart in order to achieve that smooth, thicker consistency that is so characteristic for this product.

As you may know from experience, Greek yogurt has a sour taste, which makes it a perfect match with many different ingredients. Its universality makes it one of the most useful products to have in the fridge. But can everyone enjoy this treat?

Is Greek Yogurt Dairy Free?

The answer is pretty straightforward. Greek yogurt is not dairy free, and it’s also not vegan. The main ingredient of Greek yogurt is cow milk. This might not be shocking news to anyone, but it doesn't have to be the reason to give up on all Greek yogurt treats too.

Greek yogurt can be consumed by those with lactose intolerance. How’s that possible? Thanks to its production process, during which the yogurt is strained multiple times to remove its whey, this yogurt has only traces of lactose left, so it’s probably one of the few dairy products that are suitable for people with lactose intolerance.

How Is Greek Yogurt Made?

All of the benefits and characteristics of Greek yogurt come from the way it is produced. There are many similarities between Greek yogurt and regular yogurts, but significant differences can be found in their productions.

As with many dairy products, the ingredient that we start with is whole milk. In the case of making Greek yogurt, more milk is used compared to the production of regular yogurt, which is reflected in the price of this product. This milk goes through the fermentation process, in which the bacteria are added to the milk to aid with the fermentation.

As we mentioned before, the significant step is the extended straining process. Afterwards, Greek yogurt goes through the process of separation of liquid from the yogurt with the help of centrifuges or different traditional methods. The end result is a thick yogurt that tastes delicious.

Nutritious Value

If you are the one who holds a lot of importance to the nutritious side of what you eat, you’ll be happy to read that Greek yogurt is very much a healthy option in the world of yogurts. It is full of essential minerals and macronutrients, with high protein levels and low content of carbs and sugar.

For people with a low protein intake, including Greek yogurt in their diet can make a big difference. It’s especially important for those who are on a plant-based diet and look for different ways to consume higher values of protein. Greek yogurt is the answer for people interested in a rich source of protein and a low amount of carbohydrates.

Greek yogurt is even called a superfood because it has twice the amount of protein and half the amount of carbs compared to regular yogurt.

And like we mentioned at the beginning, most yogurts, including Greek yogurt, have probiotics in them. Probiotics are good bacteria responsible for a healthy balance in our digestive system. They also influence the way our immune system works.

Recent studies have shown that there is a strong connection between gut health and mental health. More probiotics in your diet can help you decrease stress and have a stronger immune system.

Greek yogurt is also rich in calcium - an incredibly important mineral for several processes that take place in our bodies. Calcium is mainly known as a mineral responsible for healthy bones, but that’s not all it can do. It influences nerve functions, blood clotting, helps muscles contract, and more.

Vitamin B12 can usually be found in animal-based products, but there is no shortage of it in Greek yogurt. It’s good information for all vegetarians because vitamin B12 also has a vital role to play in the proper functioning of an organism. It helps with the building of red blood cells, as well as DNA. The supplementation of B12 is important, and Greek yogurt is an easy way to do so.

Vegan Greek Yogurt

Although Greek yogurt is, by all means, a dairy product, there are some interesting options for vegans too. In vegan Greek yogurt, we will not find any cow milk. Instead, producers reach for plant-based milk.

You can find some store vegan Greek yogurt, but if you’re adventurous enough, you can make it by yourself too. Below you will find a recipe for dairy free Greek yogurt perfect for vegans.

Homemade Vegan Greek Yogurt Recipe

Vegans can and should enjoy eating everything they have the desire to consume. We can see that through the years, there has been a shift in how we perceive plant-based diets and what options are available for people who are on them.

Nowadays, it’s fairly easy to find plant-based milk in the store, alongside many dairy free products that end up in the shopping baskets of not only vegans. Making vegan Greek yogurt by yourself is something anyone can do!

Here’s our recipe for one portion of the best dairy free Greek yogurt!

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cup whole raw cashews
  • 2 cans of coconut milk
  • ¼ cup Tapioca starch
  • 4 capsules probiotic

As you can see, you don’t need much to make delicious yogurt at home. Follow these steps and enjoy the process.

  1. The first thing you should do is soak the cashews overnight in water. They should be in the water for at least 8 hours.
  2. The next step is very satisfying (but you will need a blender). You should blend the cashews with coconut milk and Tapioca starch. You should end up with a very smooth consistency mixture.
  3. Put your blended cashews with milk into the pot and simmer the mixture on low heat. You should stir it constantly to avoid burning. When your yogurt has simmered, you can put it away to let it cool down.
  4. The next step is crucial for the whole process. It’s time to add probiotics and start the fermentation. You should add your probiotics to the mixture and stir with a non-metal spatula. The amount of probiotics you’ll need depends on the brand. Follow instructions from the producer.
  5. The mixture should ferment for 12 to 36 hours, depending on how sour you like your Greek yogurt. You can taste it during the fermentation process to check the taste and decide when it’s time to enjoy your own yogurt.

This recipe is easy. Anyone with a bit of time and effort can follow their inspiration and enjoy the taste of homemade, vegan Greek yogurt. Even better news - this yogurt is healthy, thanks to the probiotics that are inside it. This is one of the best ways to take care of your body and well-being while also experiencing true pleasure and satisfaction from eating something delicious, homemade, and entirely dairy free.

The Bottom Line

There is not a good reason, maybe except for personal preferences, to exclude Greek yogurt from your diet. Anyone can enjoy this fantastic treat. Greek yogurt has a lot of nutritious value. It’s rich in calcium, vitamin B12, and protein while also being low on carbs, so it’s the perfect combination for those who want to control their carbs intake.

Apart from that, it has probiotics that are responsible for a healthy gut and a stronger immune system. Including Greek yogurt in your diet can be very beneficial for your health, making it a perfect snack!

Last, but not least, Greek yogurt can be enjoyed by vegans and lactose intolerant or lactose sensitive people. Traditional Greek yogurt has only traces of lactose, but it is made from cow milk. Vegans have the option of buying or making Greek yogurt with plant-based milk and nuts.

It’s easy to say that Greek yogurt is an excellent choice for your everyday snacks or meals. Perfect taste, consistency, and health benefits are trapped in this inconspicuous mixture that is enjoyed by so many. If you haven’t tried Greek yogurt yet, now is the time to change that!


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