While there are a plethora of almond-based products on the market (butters, ice creams, milks, whipped creams, etc), almond yogurt has yet to make it onto supermarket shelves in most places. Until you see it in a store near you, here is how you can make your own almond yogurt at home!
The recipe below is for an almond-pecan yogurt. It is actually very easy to prepare, but requires time and patience for two important processes — the soaking of the nuts and the fermenting of the yogurt. Although the “bad news” is that you can’t enjoy your yogurt right away, the “good news” is that the hands-on time you need to devote to this recipe is fifteen minutes, tops.
By the way, you can make this with any nut or seed; I personally like the almond and pecan combination as both naturally contribute a mild flavor (as opposed to, say, walnuts or sesame seeds, which can be quite bitter in this format). Feel free to use just one nut, too.
I do not add probiotics, since I take them daily as a supplement. If you want to add probiotic culture to yours, you certainly can. Probiotics aside, the fermentation process (and soaking of the nuts) makes some of the minerals in the finished product more bioavailable.
There are several ways of achieving the final product, depending on the equipment you have and your specific dietary needs. I list all alternatives below.
1/2 cup raw pecans (preferably pre-soaked)
1/2 cup raw almonds (preferably pre-soaked)
1 1/2 cups water
1. Soak the almonds and pecans overnight in the refrigerator in a container with enough water to cover them.
2. Once ready to make the yogurt, drain the soaking water, and rinse the almonds and pecans.
NOTE: This step is not necessary, but it does aid in the bioavailability of nutrients and produces a creamier end-product.
3. Place the almonds, pecans, and water (along with sweeteners and/or flavor enhancers, if using) in a high-speed blender. Blend until you have a uniform mixture.
4. Pour the blended mixture through a nut-milk bag and into a bowl, squeezing as much of the liquid as possible.
5. Here is where different options come in.
The first is the simplest: Pour the liquid about halfway up into a sterilized, clean glass jar. Do not seal. Cover with a cheesecloth and let sit at room temperature (ideally in warmest part of your kitchen) for 5 to 8 hours, depending on temperature (the warmer the temperature, the fewer hours it needs).
One alternative: add a yogurt starter or a powdered probiotic blend to the liquid, whisk it for about a minute, then pour the liquid into a sterilized, clean glass jar, and cover with a cheesecloth. As with the first option, let the jar sit at room temperature for 5 to 8 hours. Note, though, that not all yogurt starters are vegan. If you are looking to make a full vegan product, I recommend looking online for such starters.
Another option: add a yogurt starter to the mixture, whisk it for about a minute, then pour the liquid into a sterilized, clean glass jar, and cover with a cheesecloth. Place the jar in a dehydrator (set at approximately 105 degrees for 6 hours) or a yogurt maker, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
6. Once the time has elapsed and you have a yogurt-like consistency, store glass jar in refrigerator (with cap fitted on loosely).
You will end up with a yogurt-like consistency, which can be consumed in many different ways. It goes well as a dairy yogurt stand-in (i.e: topped with fresh fruit and granola) as well as a base for savory “yogurt” dips. This yogurt lasts up to three days in the refrigerator; keep in mind that with each passing day, its taste becomes more sour. Enjoy!