Sunflower Seed Yoghurt/Kefir

A couple years ago, I started experimenting with how to make vegan yoghurt using coconut milk. It took me a few trials to get right (it kept coming out like kefir, more on the runny side than thick, creamy yoghurt), but I had a lot of fun in the process, and it was totally worth it for the delicious creamy yoghurt I (eventually) got in the end!

The coconut yoghurt I made was an actual probiotic one, making it just as nutritious as its’ dairy counterpart, and great for those of us (like me) who are dairy intolerant/vegan! Now, when I say “actual”, it’s because the yoghurts I share actually have beneficial AND active probiotic cultures in them, helping with the fermentation process, turning it from milk to delicious creamy yoghurt.

Before & after the sunflower seed yoghurt has fermented! It became a more “kefir-like” yoghurt, but once I mixed the rest of the ingredients in, and mixed the liquid (that had accumulated at the bottom of the jar) through the rest of the yoghurt, the consistency changed to one that resembled yoghurt!!

Most pre-made, supermarket yoghurts have additives like sugar, and the cultures used in them tend to deteriorate over time, meaning you often don’t receive the full benefits of the probiotics contained within these yoghurts due to processing and handling along the way. If you do opt for a pre-made yoghurt, look for one that only contains milk and probiotic cultures, nothing more, as this means it’s as natural as can be. Plus, you want to keep an eye out for the packaging labels that say “active” AND “live cultures”, not just “live” as this may mean they may not be able to provide all the benefits to your gut that healthy cultures can bring.

Now, I understand that for some, the coconutty taste is something they can’t get past (like my sister for instance, she can’t stand coconut yoghurt since bingeing on it years ago – in her words it “put her off it for life” – which is fair enough). So, I thought I’d share another plant-based yoghurt/kefir recipe that one can enjoy for a healthy dose of probiotic goodness and a little extra protein.

Once you’ve finished making the yoghurt, it’s important to cap it so it’s airtight, and store it in the fridge until ready to use as this ends the fermentation process, otherwise it would keep fermenting and become quite sour.

Before we get started in learning how to make this delicious, healthy kefir/yoghurt – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my email newsletter at the bottom of the page to keep up to date on the latest recipes, DIYs, gardening and health tips I share!!

So, let’s get started in making this rich, delicious dairy-free yoghurt drink! <3

Sunflower seed yoghurt recipe

Now, something to keep in mind, this is a three-stage process that requires 8 hours to soak the seeds before getting started, then an additional 12 hours to ferment before you can blend it into kefir. It’s totally worth it though!

The pre-soaking helps reduce levels of antinutrients, such as phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors, naturally found in these seeds that interfere with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

Before you get started in making the yoghurt, it’s important to soak the sunflower seeds for 8 hours beforehand, so they create a sunflower seed milk when blended (and it also helps reduce levels of antinutrients in the seeds! Win-win!).

This yoghurt/kefir drink can be used for drinking, making smoothies, incorporated into recipes, or culturing!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw, shelled, sunflower seeds that have been soaked for 8 hours in water, then drained
  • 2 cups filtered water (can use more if needed)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or raw honey
  • Optional: 1 ground vanilla bean
  • Optional: 1/2-1 tsp ground cardamom

To make:

  1. Place the soaked sunflower seeds into a blender and add just enough water to cover them. Blend until creamy. You can add more water if necessary to achieve desired consistency.
  2. Pour sunflower seed milk into a glass jar (for a thinner consistency, you can opt to strain it out using a nut milk bag) and cover with a clean towel or cheesecloth. Let sit in a warm (not hot) place and leave for 24 hours or until it becomes thick and bubbly. If you don’t have a warm place to keep it, wrap a towel around the container.
  3. It will ferment quicker if you live in a warmer climate. You can leave to ferment for longer than 24 hours if you desire a more tart-tasting yoghurt.
  4. Once finished fermenting, stir in the rest of the ingredients (if using), and enjoy! You can have it as a gut-loving drink, in a smoothie, incorporated into a creamy salad dressing, made into a little parfait topped with fruit, or frozen into popsicles for a refreshing summer treat!
  5. To store, keep in an airtight glass jar in the fridge.
Before & after; once the sunflower seed yoghurt finishes fermenting, it becomes a cottage cheese-like consistency, until you mix the liquid through the yoghurt (which turns the consistency back to one that resembles yoghurt).
  • Note: can use live kefir grains to add a hit of beneficial bacteria to the yoghurt, plus help it to thicken and become more like kefir (you can use coconut milk kefir as a starter for a dairy-free option). If using, add 1-2 tbsp and stir through after having added the sunflower liquid to the jar to ferment.
  • Another note: you can opt to use a probiotic capsule in this yoghurt, again, for an extra hit of different beneficial bacteria (can also help to thicken the yoghurt up more). If using, source a high quality probiotic with a minimum of 50 billion live cultures. Add 2 capsules of probiotic (50 billion live cultures) to the sunflower liquid in the jar and stir through to combine. Then leave to ferment.
Once you’ve mixed the liquid (that accumulates at the bottom during the fermentation process) through the cottage cheese-like kefir, it becomes yoghurt again!

Sunflower seed milk yoghurt recipe tutorial

Have you made vegan yoghurt before? How did it go?! Share your experience below! We’d love to hear!

Lots of love,

🖤 Vanessa

Sources:

Sunflower Seed Kefir. Cultured Food Life. Retrieved from https://www.culturedfoodlife.com/recipe/sunflower-seed-kefir/