Tastes great, Less Dairy
February 10, 2020 9:12 AM   Subscribe

For health reasons I need to eat more like a vegan. I am not prepared to go full vegan, but want to limit/eliminate dairy and eggs. I’ve got coffee covered with oat milk. I love Greek Yogurt.

I love it for its high protein/low sugar characteristics. I need a substitute and it could be eating a completely different thing than what I currently use it for. Or it could be a milk-alternative based yogurt but it’s got to have that high protein/low sugar thing and so far, nothing on my grocery shelves matches Chobani.

I use yogurt in:
- fruit based smoothies
- as a base for a choc milkshake sweetened with banana
- to eat with fruit and nuts
- occasionally plain but very rarely.

I don’t like flavored yogurt other than vanilla and use vanilla sparingly.

So what would you eat instead? Both smoothie and milkshake are for an evening sweet tooth. Other uses are a midday snack.
posted by CMcG to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
smoothie base substitutions:
soft silken tofu (the unrefrigerated kind)
soaked oats
soaked chia seeds

For a standalone snack with fruit, try chia pudding
posted by veery at 9:26 AM on February 10 [3 favorites]

After years as a vegan very invested in getting enough protein, I can confirm to you that you are not going to find a vegan yogurt that is as high protein as greek yogurt.

Your best option in terms of nutrition is to sub silken tofu. It has about as much protein as greek yogurt and is also not very strongly flavored. It should be great in smoothies. Personally, I do not notice the tofu-ish flavor when it's mixed with lots of fruits, etc. Since tofu isn't tangy-flavored like plain yogurt, you might want to add a squeeze of lemon juice.

For eating with fruit and nuts or plain, you might find it acceptable to flavor silken tofu with a little vanilla, although I don't know how that would go if you didn't add some sugar too (depends on your taste buds). Personally, I used to mix some protein powder in with coconut-based yogurt (or whatever vegan yogurt-like thing you find tastiest. People's mileage on flavor super varies).
posted by branca at 9:28 AM on February 10 [2 favorites]

OMG, chia pudding! I can't believe I didn't think of that. Yes, veery has it as far as a snack with fruits or nuts - chia pudding is great.
posted by branca at 9:29 AM on February 10 [2 favorites]

Some Whole Foods stores carry a Kite Hill almond milk greek yougurt. 11g protein, 2g sugar per cup. It's not as good as dairy yogurt, but it's the best non-dairy yogurt substitute we've been able to find.
posted by GuyZero at 9:45 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]

This inveterate dairy eater actually prefers silken tofu for the uses you list, except plain. I'm plain full fat Fage or nothing when it comes to Greek yogurt though and don't care for Chobani so ymmv.
posted by phunniemee at 9:59 AM on February 10

Definitely try chia pudding made with the alt milk of your choice. You can also add some rolled or even instant oats for more thickening, or go full-on Overnight Oats, blended or left chunky. This way you can sweeten it yourself with the real or fake sweetener of choice (I use monkfruit) and flavorings as you like.

I think the only thing that wouldn't work super great for would be cooked dishes that use yogurt as a base or marinade. For that you could use plain soy, coconut, or almond yogurt, and strain it overnight in advance if it's not thick enough. Or I just use coconut cream instead, mostly.

You can buy powdered citric acid or dehydrated lemon juice for tanginess, if that's a strong feature for you, without thinning it.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:09 AM on February 10

I have never tried a vegan yogurt that tasted any good. You can also add peas to your smoothies for protein.
posted by aniola at 10:23 AM on February 10

I'm guessing you're not in the UK, because we have Alpro yoghurt, which comes (amongst other flavours) in plain, plain unsweetened (which is a good substitute for heavy cream) and Greek-style, which I find indistinguishable from the Fage dairy yoghurt.
posted by essexjan at 11:13 AM on February 10

I think I'd go with tahini. It's delicious, and rich in protein and works well in both sweet and savory combinations. I am not a vegan, so I just have kefir in my smoothies etc. But I always have a large jar of tahini on the counter. BTW, this isn't really about dairy products, but I always add a bit of kosher salt to my sweet smoothies. It is worth trying.
posted by mumimor at 11:41 AM on February 10

This vegan occasionally makes smoothies with canned white beans. With plant-milk, frozen berries, or whatever friends you put in smoothies, the beans vanish to serve as a thick creaminess with a solid nutritional punch.
posted by missmary6 at 12:33 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]

I just tried Culina coconut-based dairy free yogurt and it hits all the flavor and texture notes of regular Greek yogurt.
posted by annathea at 1:15 PM on February 10

I agree, coconut yoghurt is a good substitute for Greek. Plus it’s delicious and it’s easy to make yourself too, if you’re that way inclined.
posted by Jubey at 4:58 PM on February 10

My dairy-allergic housemate eats So Delicious coconut yogurt pretty regularly and also uses it in smoothies.
posted by joannemerriam at 9:59 AM on February 11

Forager makes the best plain (unsweetened) dairy-free yogurt - made with cashews. Kite Hill is pretty good as well, but not quite the same level of 'plain' flavor as Forager.
posted by homesickness at 11:31 AM on February 11

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