Raw, Vegan Vanilla Coconut Yogurt (Made with Young Coconut Meat)

by Gena on September 18, 2013

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The last time I made coconut yogurt, I fermented it with probiotic powder. The process was easy enough, but it involved leaving the yogurt underneath my radiator for at least 24 hours, then skimming off the “skin” that formed on top.  Hardly a savory procedure! Today, I’m sharing a shortcut version of coconut yogurt. It’s not fermented, so it isn’t bursting with all of those friendly bugs we love , but it’s quick, easy, and incredibly delicious. If you can get past the part where you have to hack open young Thai coconuts, you’ll be delighted at what results. I promise.

Thai coconuts are one of my favorite ingredients, but I don’t use them very often because I kind of dread opening them. Each time I purchase one, however, I realize that the process wasn’t nearly so difficult as I imagined it to be. I have ironically written a whole tutorial on how to easily get these delicious little drupes open, so perhaps I should take my own instruction more often. For details on how to open a young Thai coconut, then scoop out the flesh for yogurt (or pudding, or smoothies, or sauces), check out this post.

And once you do that, it’s time to get moving with this incredible recipe. It’s highly reminiscent of the creamy, thick consistency of Greek yogurt, and it involves only a few ingredients. So, so good.

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Raw, Vegan Vanilla Coconut Yogurt (Made with Young Coconut Meat)


  • Flesh of 2 young Thai coconuts (about 2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup almond milk or coconut water
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup, coconut nectar, or agave (or to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. Place all ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor and blend till totally smooth and creamy (2-3 minutes in a blender; the food processor may take a little longer). Enjoy with fresh berries or fruit of choice.
  2. Makes 2 servings.

The yogurt will be wonderful with berries or fruit:

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…or you can dress it up with some of your favorite granola (or raw-nola)! It would be great with some of this raw-nola (my go-to recipe). I served it this week with a new favorite raw-nola recipe, which is infused, appropriately, with coconut. And that will be coming to you soon :-)

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Young Thai coconuts can be purchased at health food stores and Whole Foods. The best place to shop for them, though, is your local Asian grocery. They will be much, much less expensive, and they’re often sold by the case. The flesh of the coconut can be either thin or thick, and a slightly purple hue is fine. They’re a wonderful source of healthy fat, and they can be used in so many different ways.

Before I go, a big thank you for all of the thoughtful comments and insights shared in Monday’s post. I am so grateful. I also wanted to mention that the issues we were discussing are given an individual voice–and a very articulate, thoughtful voice, at that–in Laura C’s Green Recovery story. This is a great one to revisit or discover, if you are so inclined.

And speaking of Green Recovery, the door is always open for submissions. If you are a little nervous about sharing your story, there are lots of ways that we can work together to make it more comfortable for you. I can give you a pseudonym, keep your name anonymous, or just list your first name. Photos are certainly not mandatory. And if your recovery is still ongoing, you can submit a “recovery-in-progress” story, too, detailing the steps you are taking toward a recovered place. Of course, this isn’t something you should ever rush: these narratives should emerge when the time is right, and only then.

Till tomorrow, friends!


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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Molly September 18, 2013 at 11:39 am

This looks amazing, Gena! I’ve been seriously remiss in trying new recipes lately, and now that I have access to a Vitamix, I have no excuse!

Also, submitting a Green Recovery post is such a dream of mine. I hope to one day feel that I’ve made enough progress to share.


McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN | Nutrition Stripped September 18, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Gena, I’m swooning over this yogurt right now. Young coconut meat has the best texture when it’s blended like this, and with your recipe additions- amazing!


Nabeela September 18, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Coming from a lemon-juice enthusiast, it’s good to know that since this is technically a rawgurt recipe, I can maybe add a little more, accidentally of course ;)


Moi Contre La Vie September 18, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Making this tonight – Maybe I’ll have dessert for Dinner! <3


Suzanne @ hello, veggy! September 18, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Yogurt is the one non-vegan food I can honestly say I miss (and crave)! This sounds like a good substitute :)


jodye @ whole pure recipes September 18, 2013 at 5:16 pm

I never actually had the desire to eat yogurt until after I went vegan. Which is quite strange, though I think it was around the time that greek yogurt became the craze that my cravings struck. This coconut yogurt looks just amazing! I love the texture of young coconut meat, and this sounds like pure vanilla bliss.


David @ Pranin September 18, 2013 at 6:15 pm

Considering how rich coconuts are in protein, how well they boost your immune system and destroy parasites, I’m always a little shocked at the fact that they are not more of a staple in the vegan diet.


Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy September 18, 2013 at 7:16 pm

this looks marvelous. and so fresh!


Adam September 18, 2013 at 9:11 pm

You can get packaged young coconut meat from http://www.exoticsuperfoods.com/collections/all I think they sell the product in various stores throughout NYC but you can also order from the website if you don’t wanna hack coconuts


Emma (This Kind Choice) September 18, 2013 at 11:38 pm

If there’e one non-vegan food I sometimes miss, it’s yoghurt. I’ve been meaning to try a coconut yoghurt so this recipe looks great! Are all coconuts that come with that large, beige outer young thai coconuts? Because I don’t think they are called Young Thai Coconuts here in New Zealand, but I have seen those pointy beige ones being called drinking coconuts. Thanks!


Dina September 19, 2013 at 3:53 am

Been looking for something new and different because i’m bored with some of my current dishes. I think i’ve found a winner here. Thanks.


Janae @ Bring-Joy September 19, 2013 at 8:54 am

Gena, I absolutely love your approach to raw foods. It’s refreshing.

I really appreciated your Monday post (though I did not comment). I’m going to share on my {MM} post next week.

I too, have been scared away from Thai coconuts because it’s such a pain in the tush to open. Thanks for the tutorial–I’m going to give it try & we’ll see if I can hack it, literally.



T.V. September 20, 2013 at 7:33 am

Uhhmmm… it looks delicious and I am sure it taste amazing too. However, in light of your previous post regarding ED, I would like to point something out. Raw desserts rely heavily on coconut, which happens to be one of the few vegetable fats aiding the production of bad cholesterol in the blood. Now, I am taking my science from the “agreed” version, not from the handful of studies showing the contrary (perhaps done on the population native to the tropics which is likely to have developed tolerance mechanisms…). High cholesterol is not an eating disorder at all, but it is usually the outcome of bad alimentary habits (of which ED is the last stage). I think the entire raw food movement should have a hard look at the unhealthy effects promoting high consumption of coconut will lead to.


Ali September 21, 2013 at 9:18 am

Yum! We are in Thailand right now, so we are all about the coconuts! Marcus starts his day with one every day. This recipe looks awesome. It bet it would be awesome with some of your beet granola too! It would be all pink.

ANd for all those who are thinking of posting your Green Recovery, this is really such an amazing place to do it. This community is so supportive. I received nothing but love when I shared my story, and you never know who will resonate and benefit from your journey! <3


kimmythevegan September 21, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Oooh I love this short cut idea! I have been wanting to make my own yogurt for quite some time… but kind of dreaded the whole process. At some point, I will have to try and make some by fermenting it, but in the meantime, this will work nicely =)


Gena September 22, 2013 at 8:37 pm

Let me know how it goes, Kimmy!


Heather J September 21, 2013 at 10:21 pm

This yogurt looked good that I bought a young coconut and followed your tutorial… Which didn’t work at all. I thought the top would pop off like a jack-o-lantern. The coconut meat was way deeper. I ended up chipping my new (and expensive) Japanese knife in the process. So I won’t be doing that again.

Good news is that I got almost 2 cups of coconut water and 1 cup of meat. Hope it’s tasty…


Heather J September 21, 2013 at 10:22 pm

*SO good, I mean


Gena September 22, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Oh, Heather, I am so sorry that you had that experience!!! I’ve had success with a heavy duty knife, but I may change this to specify cleavers only.


Heather J September 23, 2013 at 9:07 am

I used a nakiri (http://www.fine-tools.com/a312721.jpg) so I thought it would do the trick. Luckily, the knife store is able to repair my blade :)


Gena September 26, 2013 at 6:34 am

Oh, I’m glad. So sorry, again, that this happened!


Heather J September 26, 2013 at 9:16 am

It’s ok! I certainly don’t mean to place blame on you for my knife issue! I checked out a few online tutorials and they were similiar to yours. They made it look much easier to open the top than it really was (for me, anyway).

joy October 3, 2013 at 9:48 am

Can this be made ahead, say night before and still be good? Thanks!


Lydia December 28, 2013 at 12:27 pm

I always make this yogurt the night before and then enjoy it for breakfast because I don’t have a lot of time in the morning and I think it tastes better chilled :)


CATHERINE October 5, 2013 at 5:03 am

HI Gena, yogourt is my number one craving, and coconut my second so I tried to get some fermentation out of the Young coconut flesh. I simply add about half a cup of rejuvelac to the coco mixture and I let it sit in a warm area for about 5 hours. I like the result! Rejuvelac is supposed to be a good probiotic source, and it’s quite easy to make. I like to use it in smoothies or raw soup or dressing, wherever I want a slightly acidic taste. Have you ever tried it?


Maria November 17, 2013 at 3:26 am

Hi, thank you for such a great recipe! Before I thought that we can make yogurt only with adding probiotics and storing it for a while, but your version is much quicker, and I just like it better!))) I have a question about the coconuts – do you know how long you can store them in a fridge? The ones from the Wholefoods that are already opened do not last long, but what about the ones from the Asain stores? Just wondering if I can buy many of them and store them for a while… Thanks!!


Gena November 18, 2013 at 7:24 am

I’d say at least a week is fine, Maria. I’ve gotten away with two, but don’t want to promise that that’ll work!


Aida December 28, 2013 at 5:11 am

WoW I love this ! It’s a pleasure to read your blog :)


Ilona January 12, 2014 at 5:51 am

WOW, best yoghurt ever! Thanks!


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