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Vegan Saffron and Caradamon Yogurt (probiotic free)

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Vegan-Saffron-and-Cardamon-Yogurt2 I made this recipe for my mom who spent three weeks with us over the Christmas holiday and I must say that it wasn’t long enough!  She is one of my largest supporters, right up there with Bob so I just love making raw foods for her whenever she visits.

I have made many different raw yogurts but I am always experimenting and finding different ways of making them.  I have the Greek Nogurt which is cashew based and uses probiotics to ferment.  For those who have nut allergies to cashews, I made a Young Thai Coconut Yogurt that also uses probiotics.  Both of those recipes require 1-2 days to culture, but, this recipe can be made on the spot (well after soaking the cashews for 2 hours) and enjoyed right away.

So for those who are in a hurry or for those who can’t find probiotics, you can always make this recipe. Today, I get to shine the spotlight on a special guest that I haven’t had on my “show” before.  Saffron.  (holds up the applause sign)  I hope to keep you in awe as I share a few things that I have learned about saffron that kept me in awe.

Saffron is the most expensive spice by weight.  Saffron threads are the stigmas of a small purple crocus – each flower produces only three threads, which must be picked and sorted by hand.  Oh, sign me up for that job, please. lol  They are then dried to give us the spice and coloring agent that we call saffron. It takes over 75,000 flowers to produce a pound of saffron!!!  I feel for the person who had to figure that out. :)  Fortunately, very few threads are all that is needed for most recipes. A gram contains enough threads for a dozen or more uses.  So be sure to store it in a closed container and keep in a cool dark place away from the light since light rays oxidize the pigments in saffron and changes its flavor.

Due to the handsome price it demands, there are many  fake products being dyed to imitate saffron, so buyer beware.  To determine whether or not what you have bought is fake…  immerse a bit of the product in warm water.  If the liquid colors immediately, then the saffron is fake.  Authentic saffron must soak in either warm water for at least 10 to 15 minutes before its deep red-gold color and the saffron aroma begins to develop.

Despite its cost, many herbalists and natural health enthusiasts consider saffron’s health benefits to be worth their weight in gold.  It is known to be used in treatment of asthma, menstrual discomfort, depression, atherosclerosis, whooping cough, and many other problems.  Some studies have also indicated that saffron may also have anti-cancer properties as well.  I dunno, (scratches head) I am still in shock that they painstakingly pluck 3 strands of this from one flower at a time…  but it is good to know that these fragile tiny strands can be a great aid to our health.  Flavor wise, saffron has a characteristic pungent bitter-honey taste with pleasant aroma.

The psyllium husk gel adds a wonderful creaminess to this yogurt.  You can make it without but I recommend its use.  The lemon juice is what gives the yogurt the “tang”.  This is usually achieved by using probiotics and allowing it to ferment for 24-48 hours.  I do prefer the fermented yogurt in the long run due to its higher nutritional value, but if you want a short-order of yogurt, this is a nice easy way to prepare it.  Keep in mind that the longer this yogurt is  stored in the fridge, the more tart it will become due to the lemon juice.

Vegan-Saffron-and-Cardamon-Yogurt3

Ingredients:  yields 2 1/4 cups

“Yogurt”:

  • Large pinch saffron soaked in 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp psyllium husks powder soaked in 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked 2+ hours
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey or raw coconut nectar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamon

Topping:

  • Raw honey
  • Raisins
  • Pistachios

Preparation:

  1. After soaking the cashews, be sure to drain, rinse and discard the water.
  2. In a small bowl combine the saffron and 1/4 cup of water and set aside to soak while you work on the rest of the recipe.
  3. Combine the psyllium powder and water in a small bowl, stir and set it aside while you put the rest of the ingredients together.  It will thicken during this time.   If you have psyllium husks (not powder), be sure to grind them down to a powder before adding to the water.  You can do this in a spice or coffee grinder.
  4. In a high-powered blender combine the cashews, 1/4 cup water, lemon juice, raw honey, vanilla, dates and cardamon.  Blend until creamy smooth.  Test the batter by rubbing a dab of it between your fingers.  If you feel any grit, keep blending.  We are looking for a smooth texture.
  5. Now add in the thickened psyllium gel and blend until well mixed in.
  6. Pour the yogurt into a mixing bowl.  Strain the saffron strands from the water and add just the strands to the yogurt.  Stir them in.   Discard the soak water or add it to the yogurt if you desire a thinner consistency.  Keep in mind that the yogurt will firm up a bit once chilled.
  7. You can enjoy your yogurt right away of place in a fridge for several hours to thoroughly chill and set up.  Once ready to serve, pour into a single serving dish and top with drizzled honey, a sprinkle of raisins and a tablespoon or two of shelled pistachios.
  8. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days, however, because it contains lemon juice, the longer it is stored, the more tart it will become.

saffron   Vegan-Saffron-and-Cardamon-Yogurt!   Vegan-Saffron-and-Cardamon-Yogurt22   Vegan-Saffron-and-Cardamon-Yogurt34   Vegan-Saffron-and-Cardamon-Yogurt24   Vegan-Saffron-and-Cardamon-Yogurt36   Vegan-Saffron-and-Cardamon-Yogurt38   Vegan-Saffron-and-Cardamon-Yogurt37

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15 thoughts on “Vegan Saffron and Caradamon Yogurt (probiotic free)

  1. cheryl diane says:

    Amie Sue,
    This looks like a wonderful recipe! Thank you and I will make this week. Just to clairify cashews are a fruit and not a nut. Also cashews are best soaked for 24 hours and the water discarded and cashews rinsed again. Cashews have a toxin resin similar to poison ivy. When visiting Brazil the local people informed me of this and when I researched the idea it was so true! Cashews can cause inflammation if not soaked for the full 24 hours and rinsed. Best, Cheryl

  2. kelly says:

    This looks so so beautiful. Im excited to make it today! I have made a few raw yogurts but they are always very tart or have to be fermented or you need probity caps! this looks so creamy, delicate and simple. Thank you!

    • amie-sue says:

      Your welcome Kelly… it did turn out so silky smooth and full of flavor. I hope that you enjoy and keep me posted if you try it. Blessings, amie sue

  3. Idapie says:

    Awesome, so so awesome!

  4. Sallie says:

    I have also heard this about the cashews and looked into it again and this is the link I came up with…http://www.wisegeek.org/are-raw-cashews-really-poisonous.htm

    Regarding the soaking time..this is what I found which was news to me..;-)… http://www.healingnaturallybybee.com/recipes/recipe270.php

    I love finding out new little tid bits like this..:-)

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Sallie, (also addressing Cheryl again too :)

      According to the site that you provided… it’s not the cashew nut that we all know and eat, that contains the toxin Urushiol which is similar to poison ivy. This Urushiol is present on the leaves of the cashew tree and in the raw cashew shell. The writer also states, “This is why we don’t eat strictly raw cashews. Even the “unroasted’ varieties are steamed to release urushiol from the nut and make it safe to eat. Certainly, those raw cashews sold as raw have been processed to remove urushiol, so there is no danger in consuming them.”

      This site reads ” site reads, “There is a toxic resin inside the shell layer. If the shell is not opened properly, the resin will get on the cashew nut, making it inedible. Most companies steam the shell open at a high temperature, thus cooking the cashew nut inside. A certain nut producer in Indonesia uses a special technique with specially-designed tools (without using any heat at all) to open the shell cleanly every time without ever exposing the cashew nut to the resin. The raw cashews are much sweeter, tastier, and nutritious than their cooked counterparts.”

      Cashews themselves are a nut (also referred to as the “seed of the cashew apple”.) Cashew trees produce both a fruit (“apple”) and a nut/seed. After the cashew flower blooms, a nut forms. The apple later swells between the nut shell and the stem. It takes two months for the cashew apple to ripen. When harvested, the apple can only keep for twenty-four hours before it begins to ferment. Although the fruit can be used for making many typical fruit products (jellies, jams, juice, wine and liquor), the apple is often discarded, in pursuit of the nut.

      The Raw Food World State that they are selling a completely raw cashew. There are other companies out there too that indicate that they are selling truly raw cashews.

      If this a deep conviction for anyone who wants to eat 100% raw and/or the best quality possible, research will need to be done on individual cashew manufactures to really find out how they process the cashews.

      I am familiar with the drying process of cashews / nuts but I don’t use the oven. I only use a dehydrator. The cashew is the one nut that I rarely even dehydrate because I use them for sauces, creams, frostings, “cheesecakes”, etc that just require the soaking process. And I do that to soften them for blending purposes and also to help reduce the phytic acid.

      Just like every other food out there, we need to practice eating foods in moderation… keep a variety of fresh, whole foods in our diet to aim for optimal health. And that path is going to be different for each person.

      Anyway. thank you for all the questions and comments… it leads to more and more research which is how we learn. :) Have a blessed and happy day! amie sue

      • cheryl diane says:

        The cashews I order are completely raw and are not steam processed. The fruit that is steamed is cooked and is much harder to digest. It is possible to order these cashews from California companies that only sell the fruit raw that have never been touched with steam. Once they are steamed they are cooked and most of the nutritional value is gone. Soaking the fruit for 24 hours does not give a bitter response when using a truly raw product. The whitest and sweetest cashews are hand harvested in villages in Brazil and Indonesia. They are not mechanically harvested and taste completely different than what is sold in Health Food Stores. If you are interested in a distributor please contact me directly by email. cheryl@cdheal.net

  5. Sallie says:

    Oh by the way, I would definitely dry the nuts (or seeds) in a dehydrator if you have one….just sayin’…

  6. Michelle says:

    Made last night, so delicious and creamy! Woohoo! you’ve done it again. Never disappointed in your recipes. You are a genius.

    I have a question for you Amie-sue, many recipes call for cashews; cheesecakes, yogurts, mayo….have you ever found a replacement for cashews? My husband has to limit his consumption of cashews and I was wondering if you ever used anything else that gives you that creamy texture.

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Michelle,

      Oh I am so happy that you tried the recipe. :) I know… cashews are the go to for those creamy textures for sure. To be honest, I don’t really find any other nut to create the smooth creaminess that the cashew does, but that doesn’t mean that other nuts can’t be used. Textures and slight taste variances might or most likely will happen, but that doesn’t mean its a bad thing. :) Macadamia nuts and almonds are the next nuts in line that are more on the neutral side of flavor. Thought you really have to be careful with macadamia nuts because of their high fat content. I find that I can’t process them like I do cashews because to much of the oils will release. A person can even use Young Thai coconut meat in place of cashews, of course it will always depend on the recipe. If you ever have a recipe and need help with a substitute, let me know and I will do my best to help. Have a blessed day, amie sue

  7. phyllis says:

    Hi! Your food photographs are truly awesome. I have a few questions: Do the cookies ever get crispy after a session in the dehydrator, or will they always be chewy and moist?
    Second, cashew and almond butters are REALLY EXPENSIVE where I live (nuts aren’t cheap either). Is there some substitute?
    Third – psyllium seeds – am not crazy about using them because I get enough fiber in my diet. How do I/can I substitute chia or flax seeds, and if so, use the same amount, and add or create a jell? (And if you do create a jell does one always add the seeds to the product?

    All that said I once had to invent “yogurt” for an autistic boy, and used a cold tapioca flour pudding (granted, it was not raw) with lemon juice. He loved it.
    Many thanks!
    Phyllis

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Phyllis,

      Let me see if I can answer your questions…

      Q ~ Do the cookies ever get crispy after a session in the dehydrator, or will they always be chewy and moist?
      A ~ It depends on the recipe. I have made some that get nice and firm but I would say the majority are chewy.

      Q ~ Second, cashew and almond butters are REALLY EXPENSIVE where I live (nuts aren’t cheap either). Is there some substitute?
      A ~ Depends again on the recipe. Each ingredient used in raw recipes usually play a vital role if not in flavor, in texture. In this recipe you
      could use young thai coconut meat. I have a recipe on the site here for yogurt made from the coconut meat.

      Q ~ Third – psyllium seeds – am not crazy about using them because I get enough fiber in my diet. How do I/can I substitute chia or flax seeds, and if
      so, use the same amount, and add or create a jell? (And if you do create a jell does one always add the seeds to the product?

      A ~ To replace the psyllium in this recipe I would maybe grind the chia seeds ( I think flax would be to strong in taste) and add 2-3 tsp of ground
      chia to the water… following the recipe as though you were using the psyllium.

      Have a great day! amie sue

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