This coconut yogurt parfait is a refreshing layered treat with tropical flavors and many textures – creamy yogurt, juicy fruit, and crunchy granola. It’s light enough that you don’t feel weighed down and filling enough that you don’t need to snack right after. The recipe is vegan (dairy-free, egg-free), grain-free (gluten-free), soy-free, nut-free, and refined sugar-free.
What is Parfait
Parfait is really a general term used to describe many different types of layered foods served in a dish.
In France, where the dish originated, parfait is made by boiling cream, egg, sugar, and syrup to create a custard-like puree. Parfaits contain enough alcohol, fat, or sugar to be made without the frequent stirring required for ice cream.
The American parfait used to be very similar to a sundae. It contained layers of ice cream or cream, fruit, granola or nuts, syrups, and even whipped cream served in a clear tall glass. In recent years, as people have become more health-conscious, yogurt has replaced cream/ice cream as a healthier alternative.
Parfaits may be prepared as comfort or health food, depending on the ingredients used.
Tips for Making Coconut Yogurt Parfait
This coconut yogurt parfait recipe calls for only three basic ingredients:
- Coconut yogurt: any yogurt works for yogurt parfaits – almond yogurt, cashew yogurt, regular yogurt…there’s no wrong choice. Coconut yogurt happens to be my favorite. Ideally, the yogurt would be plain – unsweetened, unflavored. Also, make sure the yogurt is chilled. If the yogurt is at room temperature, it may easily bleed into the other layers, affecting the presentation. If you’d like to make the parfait special – like an alternative to the traditional ice cream sundae – use frozen yogurt and blend it in a food processor into a soft-serve consistency.
- Fresh fruit: I use any fruit that is in season. I prefer fresh fruit because it makes pretty parfaits. Frozen fruit, especially frozen berries, release extra liquid as they thaw, which doesn’t make the parfait layers look their best. However, the fruit syrup does add a natural sweetness and turns the plain yogurt into flavored yogurt. If you are serving the parfaits to company and pretty is important, go for fresh.
- Granola: no parfait is complete without granola. I love grain-free granola, but any granola will do for that satisfying crunch. Quality granola is expensive, which is why I make my own. Just plain oats or muesli won’t cut it, although roasted nuts might.
How to Make Coconut Parfait
Making yogurt parfait couldn’t be any easier:
- Prepare the individual elements. If you plan to use homemade coconut yogurt or homemade granola, you’ll need to prepare those first.
- Assemble the parfaits. What’s beautiful about parfaits is seeing the colorful layers alternate, so use clear glasses or mason jars to assemble the parfaits. Start by scooping half of the yogurt into the glass. Next, add half of the fruit and half of the granola. Follow with another layer of yogurt, fruit, and granola. Spread each layer all the way to the glass, so the layers are visible.
How to Store Yogurt Parfaits
- Refrigerating: assembled coconut yogurt parfaits keep well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. However, I prefer storing the various ingredients – yogurt, fruit, and granola – separately in airtight containers and assembling the parfaits right before serving so the granola doesn’t lose its crunchiness. Another option is to prepare the coconut yogurt parfaits without the granola and then sprinkle the granola over the top when serving.
Coconut Yogurt Parfait Variations
The best part about a coconut yogurt parfait is how easy it is to change it with whatever you have. Here are a few great choices to get you started:
- Sweeten it up: add a drizzle of maple syrup or caramel sauce if you’d like to turn the parfaits into little desserts.
- Use stewed fruit: stewed apples with cinnamon or stewed pears with ginger would pair really well with the yogurt and granola.
- Swap the toppings: besides granola, you can add chopped nuts, seeds, or even coconut flakes to introduce more texture. Another option is to add nut butter – peanut butter-banana parfait sounds amazing!
Coconut Yogurt Parfait
- 2 cups coconut yogurt
- 1 cup fresh fruit
- 1 cup granola
- Prepare the individual elements. If you plan to use homemade coconut yogurt or homemade granola, prepare those first.
- Assemble the parfaits. Scoop half of the yogurt into a clear glass. Next, add half of the fruit, and finally, half of the granola. Follow with another layer of yogurt, fruit, and granola. Spread each layer all the way to the glass so the layers are visible.
- Serve immediately.
- Store. Assembled coconut yogurt parfaits keep well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. However, I prefer storing the various ingredients - yogurt, fruit, and granola - separately in airtight containers and assembling the parfaits right before serving so the granola doesn't lose its crunchiness. Another option is to prepare the coconut yogurt parfaits without the granola and then sprinkle the granola over the top when serving.