Michelle Wu / Daily Nexus

Starting off a long day with a refreshing breakfast is necessary for me. Yogurt bowls have slowly become my go-to breakfast because of how easy they are to make in the morning. While delicious, yogurt bowls are a lactose-intolerant person’s nightmare. I wanted to transition my diet toward being dairy-free, but I didn’t want to give up my favorite breakfast due to my lactose intolerance. With so many dairy-free yogurts on the market, I went on the hunt for the best one. 

Dairy-free yogurts tend to have a coconut, cashew or almond base. I wanted to try multiple brands to find the dairy-free yogurt that was most reminiscent of my favorite variety: a thick and creamy Greek yogurt. My friend Cayla joined me on this dairy-free yogurt taste test and helped me rate all the yogurts based on the texture and taste. 

The first candidate was Kite Hill Greek Style Plant-Based Yogurt, which has 17 grams of protein per serving. This is a special high-protein yogurt, which is unique because most plant-based yogurts typically have around 3-8 grams of protein. I personally thought this yogurt was a 6/10 because of its grainy texture that was not as creamy and light as traditional Greek yogurt. The taste was not too powerful and the slight vanilla flavor was not too powerful and offered a different taste than plain Greek yogurt. Unless I really wanted a high-protein breakfast, I would pass on this option. 

Next, Cayla and I tried the Forager Project’s Organic Probiotic Cashewmilk Yogurt. I gravitated toward this yogurt due to its cashew base as I hadn’t tried many cashew-based products previously. I rated this yogurt an 8.5/10 while Cayla rated it a 7/10. Forager’s has a light and refreshing flavor while also having a thick consistency, reminiscent of the Greek yogurt I typically reach for, although it was not the thickest in this group. 

Open Nature’s Dairy-Free Coconut Yogurt Alternative was the third one we tried. I was initially skeptical of this option because of its coconut base and I am not the biggest fan of coconut. I gave this option a chance because I was hoping the plain variety meant it wouldn’t taste too strongly of coconut. I was wrong! After one bite, I instantly rated this yogurt a 3/10. 

Despite the packaging’s claim that the yogurt was creamy, the yogurt’s had a thin consistency and overwhelming coconutty flavor. I definitely do not think this yogurt was as creamy as it claims to be on the packaging. Cayla on the other hand rated it a 7/10: “I like it but I know I wouldn’t be able to eat this everyday.” Unless you’re a coconut fan, pass on this yogurt. 

The last plain yogurt was my favorite: Trader Joe’s Organic Creamy Cashew Cultured Yogurt Alternative. This has been my go-to yogurt because of its thick and creamy texture. Since I used to work at Trader Joe’s, this yogurt always made it on my weekly grocery list. Upon opening the container, you could see how the yogurt jiggles in the container from how thick it is. I rate this one a 9/10 because it reminds me the most of dairy yogurt. Cayla agrees that it was a 9/10 and says that she could not have guessed that it was plant-based. She says it’s equally as good as dairy yogurt! 

Switching to a dairy-free diet should not mean giving up eating your favorite foods. While some products are definitely hit-or-miss, there are so many exciting dairy-free alternatives to try. I couldn’t have known that coconut-based yogurts were not my favorite or learned that I prefer cashew-based yogurts unless I tried them. All in all, Cayla and I both love the Trader Joe’s yogurt and highly recommend everyone to give it a chance. 

So, after this journey of finding the best yogurt, here is the updated breakfast staple recipe. 

My go to yogurt bowl consists of: 

  1. Trader Joe’s Cashew Milk Yogurt 
  2. Cut up strawberries 
  3. 1 tbsp of chia seed (for fiber) 
  4. 1 heaping tbsp of peanut butter (I prefer unsalted creamy) 
  5. A small handful of Kind’s protein peanut butter granola 

With any type of breakfast, it can be customized to your liking. I also like to rotate the fruit I use in my yogurt bowls, whether that be bananas or dates. Feel free to try out my yogurt bowl and put your own spin on it! 

A version of this article appeared on p. 10 of the April 13, 2023 version of the Daily Nexus.