The Best Vegan Plant-Based Curd Alternatives To Keep Your Gut Smiling
Curd is a common ingredient used across dishes in many regional cuisines across India—eaten with parathas, in a bowl mixed with sugar, chaas or lassi, as curd rice or as an ingredient in making biryanis, curries and avial. Finding a suitable dairy-free, plant-based curd alternative becomes one of the challenges to those transitioning to a vegan plant-based lifestyle and also for those who wish to reduce dairy for health or those who are lactose intolerant.
There are multiple options you can try and The Earthen One is here to help with that transition. And a big transition it is, as all curd is an acquired taste, including dairy curd. You need not like a plant-based curd substitute on the first try. You might need a few trials to get your palate used to the new taste or might need to try a few alternatives and find what suits you and your family.
Pro-tip: Use spices, pickles to mask the taste at the start.
As with all vegan plant-based substitutes, you can choose to make it at home, or purchase it—there are many brands today offering vegan dairy alternatives that make the transition easier. Let’s dive into this list and help you find your favourite plant-based, dairy-free, lactose-free, curd alternative which is good for you, good for animals and good for the planet!
This versatile legume from the pea and lentils family lends itself to an easy vegan casein-free curd. Pro Tip: While making the groundnut milk at home, if you strain out the fibre before you heat it, then you get a less beany-tasting curd. This is a versatile curd. It works in curd rice, avial, chaas and for long marinations. Easy to make at home and affordable.
This soy-free curd apart from the good gut bacteria has high proteins, heart-healthy unsaturated fats and zero cholesterol. It is a good source of vitamin E, B6 and magnesium.
Big cities across India (At online retailers like Big Basket & brand website): One Good
Mumbai: Health and Mo, Sharan, Pristine
Delhi & Gurgaon: White Cub
Bengaluru: Health on Plants
Chennai & Coimbatore: Mupaal
The most affordable dairy alternative soy curd is prepared from soy milk. It is versatile and a great alternative to dairy curd.
Soy curd is a great source of proteins—which is a complete protein containing all essential amino acids. 100g of soy curd contains 7.2-10g protein, the same as 1.5 eggs but with zero cholesterol. It is low in fat and a good source of calcium, magnesium, Vitamin C and iron. And we can’t forget the famous soy isoflavones which have antioxidant properties.
Big cities across India: Chetran’s
Mumbai: Health and Mo, Soyfit
Bengaluru: Health on Plants, UltX Soy Curd by Vegan Dukan
Thick creamy and luscious, Cashew curd is the creamiest of vegan curds. It works very well for chaat and tandoori dishes where you want a thick cream base to cut through the other flavours.
Cashew curd is loaded with good unsaturated fatty acids that boost heart health. It is high in iron and magnesium which are vital for nerve function, heart health and blood pressure regulation. While it has good fats, one cannot escape the fact that cashew is high in calories.
Mumbai: Vegurt by 1ness, Pristine, Yoogutty
Hyderabad: Plantarium Café
Almond curd or yoghurt is a great way to include nutritionally dense almonds in your diet. Almond curd is made with soaked almonds so the nutrients are better absorbed by the body compared to eating raw nuts.
Almond curd is a good source of fibre, Vitamin E, healthy fats and protein. And if homemade, then thick almond milk can be used to make the curd nutritionally rich. Though not a good source of calcium unless fortified.
Big cities across India: Epigamia (Almond)
Mumbai: Pristine, Break of Dawn (Flavoured)
This is a thick and creamy curd which has zero cholesterol and is low in sodium. Coconut curd goes well with dishes that already have coconut like avial and also in overnight breakfast bowls. It is also a creamy curd to use for marination.
Coconut curd is high in fats and low in proteins. Coconut naturally contains Vitamin A which is essential for eye health. The high-fat content of coconut makes it easier for the body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin A.
Hyderabad: Plantarium Café
Combination curds are a great way to get the nutritional benefits of two or more ingredients while the mouth feels and taste of one ingredient mask the challenging taste of the other.
Rice and Groundnut Curd
In this curd, the rice masks the taste of the groundnut making it easier to palate and even more versatile. This curd is not offered by any brand yet. The rice also makes for a thicker and creamier groundnut curd.
Soy and Coconut:
This is a powerful combination of soy with coconut giving you a high protein, high calcium curd with the rich creaminess of coconut. This is currently available with White Cub in the Delhi and Gurgaon regions.
Melon Seeds and Rice:
The above list covers soy, groundnuts and nut curds and if those do not suit you or your family then this combination might be perfect. This is a soy-free, nut-free, peanut-free delicious vegan curd that can b easily made at home with melon seeds and rice.
Here are some recipes:
For more Curd recipes download the free ebook by Jain Vegan Initiative: