Homemade Fermented Raw Coconut Yogurt
February 27, 2010

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Hey everyone.

Thanks, first off, for your amaaazing response to my last post. I’m happy that so many of you were able to affirm your love of food. Thank you!!!

As you can imagine, I’m frequently asked if there are any non-vegan foods that I miss. For the most part, I’m hard pressed to think of responses. I’m too happy with what I eat now to think about the (significantly less health-promoting and awesome) things I used to eat, but don’t anymore. One notable exception? Greek yogurt. This was the last non-vegan food I stopped eating, and it’s pretty much the only one that I still fondly reminisce about. No matter how much I love the stuff, though, it does not love my IBS-prone little belly. And it certainly doesn’t love the animals who produce it.

My solution, thus far, has been…well, I haven’t had a solution. I’ve tried soy yogurt, but at this point in the game it’s a bit too processed for my liking. Coconut milk yogurt from So Delicious has a slightly prettier ingredient label, but it’s likewise not quite as homemade and wholesome as I like (though I do think it’s awesome for those of you who are transitioning into veganism). Some raw foodists like raw goat’s milk kefir or yogurt, but, that’s not a vegan-friendly option.

So I’d pretty much resigned myself to a yogurt-free existence. Until a few weeks ago, when I was perusing Lori and Michelle’s blog, and saw that the twins–little wizards of culinary creativity and energy that they are–had made coconut yogurt. And, with their typical flair for making the seemingly complex look easy and painless, they’d pulled it off with a simple and stress free recipe: blend coconut meat, water, and probiotic powder (which can be gotten simply by opening up your probiotic capsules at home!). Keep it covered in a warm space overnight, and voila–thick, creamy, tangy yogurt!

It seemed, I admit, too good to be true. But one of my goals this year is to get a little more ambitious and inventive with the kinds of raw foods I prepare (this is going to include making fermented foods and more dehydrator recipes, in addition to my usual easy-peasy stuff), and with such inspiring ladies as the twins to guide me, why wouldn’t I?

With that in mind, I made my first foray into raw yogurt-making last weekend. I began with the meat of six young coconuts, which was about four solid cups, and the water of one coconut. Following the twins’ instructions to the letter, I added one teaspoon probiotic powder (which I got from my normal MegaFoods supplement) and a packet of stevia (in lieu of the lucuma that Lori and Michelle used). I blended it all up in the Vita till supersmooth, like so:

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Poured it into a bowl:

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And then covered it in a paper towel and left it in front of my radiator for the night.

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Late the next morning, I uncovered it, to find a perfect bowl of thick, creamy, tangy-sweet yogurt. It’ll have a thin crust on top (crust! ew! gross word, sorry), which is perfectly fine to eat, very soft, and you can scrape off if you really want to:

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All I can say is WOW. Wow, people. This is shockingly authentic. Not drizzly and drippy the way vegan yogurts tend to be, but thick, rich, and a dead ringer for traditional Greek yogurt. I literally exclaimed “oh my God!” after I tried it. My only apology is that I had my first full serving at the office, snapped a photo there, and left my camera in my desk drawer over the weekend. So I don’t have a photogenic shot of the ‘gurt in a little bowl, but I’m sure you can use your imaginations.

The downside? Well, the recipe is expensive. Young coconuts don’t come cheap, friends, and you’ll need 4-7, depending on how ripe they are, to make this recipe (which serves four) happen. Opening the coconuts will also demand some arm muscle and work, so I’d say that this is a fairly labor intensive process.

On the other hand, my coconuts were $2.50 a pop, and I used six (a few were really young, and didn’t have a lot of flesh). This means that each serving of yogurt was worth about $3.75. Expensive? Yes. Infinitely more expensive than a $2.50 chobani or Fage in an NYC deli? Not really. Worth it, for dairy free, cruelty-free, 100% raw and totally incredible yogurt? I think so.

While I doubt I’ll be making a batch of the stuff every single weekend, I do think it’ll become a fairly regular “special occasion” recipe for me. And the cool thing is that the recipe leaves you with a nice big vat of coconut water, which ought to stay fresh for at least a few days.

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Yum!

Up next? Oatgurt!!

xo

Categories: Breakfast, Gluten Free, Raw

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    82 Comments
  1. Hi, do you happen to know what the shelf life of this is (after refrigerating)? I have been making it using coconut water kefir and it gets really yeasty smelling after a few days or more. I’m wondering if the balance of good bacteria and yeast starts to negatively change after a few days. I keep thinking I will freeze some of it into ice cubes right at the beginning so I don’t waste any, but I haven’t done that yet. (I mainly use it to add to smoothies, so I’m not eating a huge portion each day.)

  2. At incrediblesmoothies.com Tracy says for a recipe in one of her smoothies If you can’t find a young coconut, you can substitute 1/4 cup shredded coconut, 1/2 a banana and 8 ounces coconut water. That sounds reasonable if you’re making yogurt, too. I would probably just add 4 – 6 Tbs of unsweetened So Delicious as a mother and then I’m through with store bought yogurts and no need for starter or probiotics. Then I can use this as the mother for some Hemp yogurt.

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  6. Hey Gena have you ever tried using water kefir grains for yogurt,mine have been proliferating so fast, I have been using them in cashew yogurt, just soak cashews overnight blitz till creamy and smooth in blender, throw in a teaspoon or two of water kefi and by the next day you have tangy yogurt that tastes almost identical to dairy yogurt. ( except you can’t reuse the grains, cause you can’t use water kefir grains for milk kefir, they die out.) Pssst I have even completely stooped buying store yeast and use kefir grains exactly as i would normal yeast for homemade bread, kneadless to say, (oops pun unintended) bread is suuuper

  7. Thank you for a mouthwatering recipe! Awesome. I followed your instructions but ended up with no crust. I went ahead and refrigerated the yogurt. The taste is slightly tangy and slightly sweet. I am assuming it has fermented enough…?
    (even w. no crust?)
    🙂

    Thanks for your reply,

    Janis

  8. Hi Gena!
    I’m having the hardest time letting go of my Fage Greek yogurt. It’s the only thing my stomach likes as far as dairy and the probiotics do wonders for me. Same with kefir, but I’d really like to find a dairy-free option that isn’t loaded with sugar or additives like most non-dairy brands.
    Do you think I could make this from raw coconut butter? Hmmm:) Or, what about dried full fat unsweetened coconut and water? Let me know what you think! I’d love to try this but don’t have access to young coconuts around here:(

    Thanks!

    Heather

  9. I tried making coconut yogurt from from canned coconut milk and while it was very thin and totally lacked the amazing nutty flavor of the yogurt made from the tai coconut meat, it is great in smoothies….. Now I am wondering if it would be good to use as starter for my next batch with the coconut meat….

  10. I made yogurt from coconut meat / milk and probiotic capsules. I used the young tai coconuts from a local vegetable market (I live in Detroit, MI) which we got for @$1.35, which seems like a very good price. IT WAS AMAZING. I have since read some other blogs about using the probiotic capsules and have become concerned that there is not sufficient variety of bacteria to enable a healthy competition (maintaining healthy balance). Not being a scientist or nutritionist I am unable to form an opinion without further research, but the youtube video I used for instruction https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHdaQZZzesA is produced by one with some naturapathic education…

  11. hey gena-
    I suppose this is a dumb question from the girl who actually does live with coconut palms in her ‘hood, but do you think this would work with canned coconut milk? I would like to make this for a class and can’t be whacking open six coconuts in front of the students. and amazingly, coconut are kinda hard to come by on Oahu. thanks, andrea

  12. Have just found this site and it’s very nice and very inspiring.

    I’m a longtime vegan but not a raw foodist, I like a lot of my foods hot and some cooked. This past year I’ve been experimenting with non-soy yoghurts and finally came up with a coconut-rice one, using a tin of thick organic coconut cream and add organic rice milk to measure 1 litre in all. I heat it up and thicken with Tapioca Starch and some Agar. When cooled down somewhat I stir in some live soy yoghurt starter. It ferments for up to 36 hours in constant warmth (supplied by a small electrical yoghurt maker I’ve got. It tastes absolutely delicious and creamy and not too rich. Credit to Bryanna’s vegan site for guidance with this.

    Because of its high fat content, a lot of coconut- eating blocks up my digestive juices, is hard on my liver, and makes my tummy feel very unpleasant so I always have to minimise my use of coconut and coconut oil.

    The interesting thing is that this yoghurt starts out quite thick but gets thinner the longer I have it in cold storage in my fridge. By the third day it’s pretty runny but still tastes fantastic.

    Gena’s yoghurt is impressive but I’ve never seen a ‘young’ coconut in my corner of the world, only hairy old chaps that take great strength to crack open.

    I’m going to try the probiotic powder idea for the starter when I make my next lot as I prefer to avoid soy as much as I can. Thanks Gena.

    Am now looking forward to exploring more raw vegan foods, but I’m yet to discover how the raw food diet supplies adequate bio-available iron (especially important for women) and protein (considering that vegans need 0.9g protein per Kilogram of body weight, each day – for longterm health)

    • Your coconut-rice milk yogurt sounds like a winner! How much tapioca starch did you use? Perhaps you need to add a bit more and cook/stir longer before letting it cool.

      I was thinking of using unsweetened SO delicious coconut milk, tapioca starch and soy yogurt starter (what is a good plain brand?).

      Oh, and as far as the yogurt developing a crust, that can easily be avoided by letting it sit overnight in stainless steel thermos with tight lid. I heat up the thermos first with scorching hot water while my yogurt mixture is cooling down to the 120 degrees (when you can add the starter…any hotter and it will be killed off). Then right before pouring in the yogurt, pour out all the hot water and voila! you have created the perfect fermentation environment. I let mine sit on the counter overnight. Then in the morning pour into bowl and flavor/sweeten it up to your liking and then (and the is the hardest part!) WAIT while it chills for 4-6 hours before serving.

      Thanks for this site and for all the helpful information!
      Mrs.Chiu

  13. Looks Y-U-M-M-Y! I have tried and tried to make a non-dairy “gurt” for so long but it always turns out runny…so this coco-gurt is one I am going to try. 🙂

    I agree with Heather McD…. the best and cheapest to buy young coconuts is at a local Asian Market- a whopping 1.50 per coconut!

    And I have discovered (well it was my hubby’s idea) how to easily open young coconuts!!! Can’t beleive I waited so long to do it! check it out… http://kellyparr.org/2010/01/13/body-soul-cleanse-day-6-armpits-stinkin/

  14. hey Gena,
    I know you eat cooked foods sometimes, I was just wondering if you ever eat oatmeal and other cooked grains?

    • Hey Tori,

      I sure do! I like either regular rolled oats, or, whenever I have time, scotch cut oats. I also love quinoa and millet in the morning, as well as Bob’s Mighty Tasty GF cereal.

      Gena

  15. That looks really delicious! I can’t even find young coconuts here in Canada (or at least, not in my city), but I’ve seen them on your blog and over at The Fitnessista’s.

    This is too expensive for me, but I’m sure it’s wonderful!

    K

  16. yum! i paid 2.75 for fage just this morning, so no it’s not so bad by insane anywhere but nyc standards 😉

    I think I will try to do this at some point, I do often feel bad that I can’t locate a greek yogurt company that I know truly treats their animals well.

    concert tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!! ps just made your mix

  17. yum! i paid 2.75 for fage just this morning, so no it’s not so bad by insane anywhere but nyc standards 😉

    I think I will try to do this at some point, I do often feel bad that I can’t locate a greek yogurt company that I know truly treats their animals well.

    concert tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!! ps just made you mix

  18. Amazing recipe and I wanna try that. I’m just glad that the price of coconut here in our place is cheap so I can make as many Coco-gurt to serve to my friends and relatives.

  19. I really need to try this! I can’t buy coconut yogurt in Canada so I defiantly need to try this out. I love greek yogurt, but I have to be careful not to eat it every day or it starts to hurt my stomach, so this will be a great alternative!

  20. What a great idea! Thanks for posting about Coco-gurt. I will definitely be giving this a try. And thank you for your honesty about price and quality! Thank you to the twins too!

  21. Sounds and looks pretty darn good. I too worry about how processed soy yogurts are, and this is a great alternative. I’ve never worked with whole coconuts before but I’m up for the challenge!

  22. Oh yeah you did! This is intense, dude, but I can’t say I’m not tempted to try. The So Delicious coco-gurt def. leaves something to be desired (such as an unsweetened variety, hello!). Perhaps a half-batch is in order. 2 coconuts seems quite doable. 🙂 Snaps to Gena!

  23. This sounds perrrrfect!!! T loves Greek Yogurt too, I am going to have to make him this! 🙂

    I have the same bottle of coconut water in my fridge right now, just used 2 for “ice cream” last night and I was going to take the same exact pic!! 🙂 Great minds..

  24. Oh how I love Raw coconut yogurt. I’m going to order some organic young Thai coconuts soon and can’t wait to whip up a batch. I have to say though… I don’t seem to recall a crusty top to it when I make it. Wonder what the difference is.

    Love you
    XOXO,
    Kristen

  25. I’ve been meaning to try oatgurt forever.. always looks delicious on Shelby’s blog! Now I’ll have to try both! I’m also thinking that cocogurt might make a delicious froyo!! Question- I’m without a radiator here in socal- should I just let it sit at room temp, or should I find some other way to warm it?

  26. The yogurt looks great! I know calories are somewhat “taboo” on the blog, but do you have any idea if they’re comparable to the stats of traditional greek yogurt? I’d imagine it having a hefty amount of fat (albeit, healthy fat, but still fat nonetheless) which, in turn, would increase the calorie count. I have to watch out for my fat intake because of my acid reflux. Thanks Gena!

    • Hey Jenny,

      Ha! Few things are taboo on this blog, but calories come close 🙂

      Coconuts are quite rich in fat and calories. I’ve heard 270 cal quoted for an entire young coconut — I’ve really no idea if this is accurate, but it computes to me. I’d put fat at 10-18 grams per coconut — again, a wild guess. I’ve tried to get more accurate stats — if any readers have ’em, shout out!

      So you can do the division for this recipe. Note that 270 would be the cals for a ripe young coconut. Mine varied in ripeness, so I’d put the average count at 4 coconuts total.

      Gena

      • Thanks for your help Gena! I’m still on the lookout for a lower fat, raw vegan alternative for my much missed greek yogurt. Maybe it’s just too good to be true!

  27. The yogurt looks fab! I would llooove some of that right now!

    Thanks for the blog comment – would totally love to hang with you in the city girl!

  28. Vegan, yes, but it is so freakin’ hard to find a “local” source of good organic young coconuts. If you have one in NYC, spill please! The only ones I know of are from Hawaii, which isn’t exactly local for me.

    I just can’t bring myself to use the traditional young Thai coconuts sold in stores — picked 6-8 weeks ago, dipped in fungicide (to eliminate mold) and then shipped great distance. So many of them are rotten too (that lovely purple-colored meat/water you encounter). It’s just waaaaaaay too scary for me, which is why I only buy and use ZICO pure coconut water now. No pesticides or fungicides. Harvested and packaged in a sustainable manner. So, that takes care of my need/desire for coconut water, but still, I miss having the meat to use in recipes like soups and puddings…and yogurt.

  29. I have made the ‘oat-gurt’ with success, it was more like a sour oat cream though.

    Soak steel cut oatmeal (regular oatmeal is steam while pressed).
    Drain and save oat water (oat milk.. nutritious).
    Process until smooth, add more water if needed.
    You can get better fermentation if you use a starter (spoonful of active vegan yogurt)
    Let set up over night (or longer) in a warm environment.
    Enjoy.

  30. That looks soooo yummy!!! I used to LOVE yogurt, but like you, I can’t get into the vegan knockoffs, even the coconut milk brand I find way too artificial tasting. I live by Chicago’s Chinatown so I wonder if I can find some decently-priced young coconuts….

  31. Greek yogurt is one of the few animal products I still miss sometimes, too! This looks (and sounds) so fantastic! I haven’t been able to find young coconuts near me, so I’ll continue to be on the lookout for them. I soooo want to try this recipe!

    • Do you have a Kroger or King Sooper near you? I’ve been getting them at my Colorado King Sooper for $1.79…

  32. So glad to see you made this! Love the Pure Girls and love their ideas. I make countertop kefir w/ either kefir starter or probiotic powder and I know in Ani’s books she has talked about this too. Anyway, love the you found a Greek yog alternative. You’re right, not cheap and not as “easy” as cracking the sale on a Chob container of yogurt but you’re right, infinitely better on every single level! Great work, Gena and thanks Lori & Michelle for inspiring us!

  33. Gena so happy to hear that our coconut yogurt worked out for you 🙂 Makes us so happy inside!!! yes hate that coconuts have to be such work to open and not easily available for everyone. Wish we could all grow our own coconut trees 😉 That would be nice! HAHA. We are going to have to try Heather’s oatgurt! Sounds amazing and something up our alley 😉

  34. I used to eat this all the time, although it is expensive. The other reason I haven’t made it in a while is because it is difficult to find time to crack open coconuts with a baby around. I guess I’ll just have to make it work somehow. That yogurt would be yummy in one of my jars.

  35. That’s so cool! It looks really soft and yummy!

    I personally like soy yogurt, so I don’t have trouble missing any old yogurts (never tried Greek yogurt, but a lot of people say they’re good!)

    I really like all the recipes you make! I wish coconut meat/coconuts are more affordable and less painful!

  36. Wow this seems really good Gena, I miss Greek yogurt too, but it doesn’t agree with my stomach either.
    -How can you tell if a coconut is really young? Are they bigger if they’re younger? Because when I bought one I got the biggest one thinking it would have the most mean but it only gave me about a half a cup of meat.

    Thanks a bunch!
    ~Julia

  37. This looks awesome 😀 I’ve been trying to make my own yogurts at home (I’ve done coconut, hemp, and almond) but they always turn out runny. Would a probiotic capsule be equivalent to a yogurt starter?? I refuse to give up! lol

  38. Thank you so much for this post. I’ve been complaining for the past week about missing greek yogurt and I think I found my solution 😮
    (I probably won’t have time/ energy to make it here at school but when I get back to the Philippines this will be perfection)

  39. Looks yummy to me! I cant wait to see you make oatgurt. I tried once and it just turned out yucky I think I did it wrong!

  40. So funny, as soon as I began to read this post I thought “Oatgurt!” That stuff is like heaven, I’ll have to try it out with coconuts.

  41. Coconuts really intimidate me– I was reading all about them in the Raw Foods Detox Diet book, and she uses them in a lot of recipes…but I’m scared of them!

    This, however, might just be enough to convince me to conquer my fear. It looks awesome!

    Plus, I imagine it’s really fun to say “cocogurt” 🙂

  42. I love coconut! Does it have an intense coconut taste and aroma, or does it come across as quite plain?

    Also, would you be willing to post a photo or make a video of your fridge? That photograph really made me curious!

    Thanks Gena, keep up the good work. =] I’m a big fan.

  43. Wooooowww….I can’t believe it. You sound so impressed with this recipe I’m going to have to try it. Some tasty vegan yogurt would be a great addition to my kitchen, thanks Gena!

  44. AH THANK YOU FOR THIS!
    i have been looking for a raw yogurt, do you put anything in it or just eat it as is because i don’t to miscombine it.

  45. i just made something like this when i saw it mentioned on mimi kirk’s facebook page. i cut the recipe down because i didn’t have as many coconuts. it was a fun new breakfast and really easy to do.

    just to gloat a bit, we have a place to buy coconuts for about $1.50 around here. international district!

  46. And think of the amazing workout you got cracking all those coconuts open! I have enough trouble with one. I’ve got to get to work training the little hands around here to use machetes. Perhaps on vacation!

  47. Omg! This is fabulous! Aren’t those twins the greatest? They have really inspired me to start fermenting stuff. (Ha. That sounds weird.)

    Coconuts really intimidate me, though. Something about that formidable shell and having to scrap them and drain them…I wouldn’t know where to begin!

    • http://www.living-foods.com/articles/youngcoconuts.html

      This is a site that will help with tackling the coconut. After my fist scary attempt with the young coconut – thought that outer white stringy stuff was the meat – I was so thankful to find this! I’ve been using a butcher knife and a hammer but am thinking about getting a machete (sorry about spelling) since I’m using them more and more. Enjoy! I’ve been making banana pudding with my coconut! Coconut meat, banana, some coco water, vanilla, agave (would normally use raw honey but have an infant who eats with me) and voila!

  48. mmm…crusties….hahahahaha! I said that word just to gross you out. 🙂 Awesome coco-gurt. Bet it tastes awesome, esp with coconut!

  49. Agreed on the fascinating and pricey, but hey the twins inspired me to make some sauerkraut which turned out AWESOME and I’ll be posting about it, haha! It seems they have what it takes to make people try new things. Nice to hear you’re being adventurous too!

  50. I will definitely try this one, thanks for posting!

    Also, on a completely unrelated note, I would love to see inside your fridge! (is that too personal a request?). As someone who’s slowly making the transition into raw food I don’t think my fridge is as organized as it should be. Is organization important for a raw foodist? And if so, what’s the system that works the best for you?

  51. Oh my gosh, the probiotic powder. Michelle and Lori…love those girls! This makes me want to drive to my local Asian market right now and buy some coconuts (cheapest place I can find them). I must make this AND oatgurt. Haven’t had it in so long. I think I OD’d on it this summer after having it almost everyday for a month, but I’ve been thinking about making some lately. Love that stuff!

  52. This is so fascinating! It’s a bit pricey for me, but it does make me want to go out and buy a whole coconut. All the coconut parts I’ve had individually. I could not imagine how much fun the whole thing must be to work with