This strawberry panna cotta recipe with yogurt is a healthier alternative to the famous Italian classic dessert!
The vanilla bean extract gives it its characteristic aroma which pairs perfectly with the simple strawberry sauce.
If someone told me to imagine a light, no-bake dessert for the hot summer days, fresh strawberries and yogurt would certainly come to mind. This delicate dessert has both of these ingredients, plus a light creamy texture which is the result of the minimum amount of gelatin.
Gelatin is required in order for the cream to thicken and to be able to stand gloriously on its own while still remaining creamy and velvety, almost fragile, with a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
If you're searching for another yogurt dessert without gelatin, then you'll love this easy recipe for yogurt parfaits with honey and fruits.
Make this panna cotta dessert during strawberry season using fresh strawberries, and the other time of the year using frozen fruit or store-bought strawberry puree.
For the panna cotta mixture you'll need the following simple ingredients:
- Greek yogurt (preferably room temperature)
- Heavy cream (35% fat)
- Powdered gelatin + a bit of whole milk
- Vanilla extract or vanilla pod
For the strawberry sauce you'll need:
- Fresh strawberries (or frozen)
The creaminess of the Greek yogurt, the aroma of the vanilla, the flowery taste of the honey and the freshness of the strawberries build a refreshing dessert, lower in fat than the traditional version like this vanilla panna cotta from An Italian in my Kitchen.
However I don't like to compare the two desserts, because the traditional recipe is made with heavy cream, which means that it is a different dessert.
For very special occasions the traditional panna cotta will always be more favorable. But for everyday occasions and for all the times I want to indulge myself without the guilt, this yogurt panna cotta with the strawberry sauce is perfect.
Step 1: Sprinkle gelatin over the cold milk (or water) and let it bloom. With this procedure gelatin dissolves easier when it is added to the cream.
Step 2: In a small saucepan, heat the cream with the sugar, until the sugar is melted, and then add the gelatin. Stir until the gelatin is melted.
Step 3: Mix the Greek yogurt with the honey and the vanilla, and then add the cream. Stir well and divide the cream mixture into molds. Optionally, you can pass the cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, in order to catch any lumps.
Step 4: Add the fruit and the sugar to a saucepan and heat until is starts to bubble. In the meantime mix the cornstarch with the cold water. Cook the fruit until it looks jammy and if you want it thicker, start adding the cornstarch mixture until it reaches the desired consistency.
Tip: if you want to preserve all the fresh strawberry flavor, cook the strawberries in a wide pan because you want their excess water to evaporate quickly without cooking them for too long.
The most common variation is to use another fruit for the sauce. This sauce can be made with fresh berries like blueberries, raspberries, cherries, or a mix. Mango is also a nice option.
Another thing you can do is to flavor the panna cotta differently. Add orange, lemon or lime zest to the cream when you heat it in the pot. Alternatively add a stick of cinnamon, or a couple tablespoons of coffee beans (before adding the cream to the yogurt, pass it through a sieve to catch the beans).
In this coffee panna cotta recipe from Pretty Simple Sweet, brewed coffee is added for stronger flavor.
A third variation is to use milk instead of cream. This will make the panna cotta even lighter, but I personally prefer the taste with the cream.
Why use Greek yogurt for this recipe
Greek yogurt is thicker than your regular yogurt something that will help the panna cotta become more creamy.
This panna cotta is the perfect make-ahead dessert because it can be stored in the fridge for 3 - 4 days.
Before storing it rap the molds with plastic wrap, and unmold the dessert just before serving.
Does Greek yogurt have gelatin?
No, plain Greek yogurt doesn't have gelatin. It is thicker than regular yogurt because it is strained and has less moisture. This also means that it is richer in protein.
Can you put gelatin in yogurt? Every panna cotta needs some gelatin to set (though I've read some older recipes that set with the addition of egg whites).
The best way to incorporate the gelatin into the yogurt is to mix it with a liquid (like milk or water), warm it for the gelatin to dissolve and then mix it with the yogurt.
This strawberry panna cotta recipe has less fat, less calories and more protein than your traditional recipe because a large amount of cream is replaced by Greek yogurt.
Also, because of the yogurt, each serving will give you about 12 grams of protein! You can even eat this after gym!!!
Because yogurt tastes a bit tart, some sugar and honey is used to balance it out. If you’re extra careful about your calorie intake, you can substitute sugar with your favorite sweetener with minor changes in flavor.
Real yogurt has live culture with living bacteria called probiotics. These probiotics help us maintain healthy levels of good bacteria in our intestines, support our immune system, and they're also very useful for anyone suffering from bloating, gas or flatulence problems.
Probiotics also help to restore the good bacteria population in our guts after a course of antibiotics. Since they can be killed in high temperatures, we must be extra careful and not overheat them when we use yogurt in our cooking. This recipe is ideal for this, because only the cream is gently heated and then added to the yogurt.
- Make sure you choose a real Greek, live yogurt! Real yogurt has no sugar, no added flavors and no gelatin!
- For easier serving, serve this panna cotta inside dessert cups or serving glasses without unmolding it!
- This is the perfect dessert after a meal like this healthier baked chicken and rice.
- If you're feeling bold, add a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar to the strawberry sauce, because balsamic vinegar and strawberries is a classic combination.
Strawberry panna cotta recipe with Greek yogurt
For the yogurt panna cotta
- 2 tablespoons cold milk (or cold water)
- 2 teaspoons (10 grams) unflavored gelatin in granules
- 1 cup (250 grams) milk cream
- ½ cup (100 grams) sugar
- 3 tablespoons (65 grams) honey
- 2 cups (500 grams) unflavored Greek yogurt
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the strawberry sauce
- 1 cup strawberries, chopped
- ⅓ cup (66 grams) sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- Lightly oil 5 molds/ramekins 6oz (180ml) capacity or 7 molds/ramekins 5oz (150ml) capacity (you can also serve the panna cotta in glasses - no need to oil them in this case)
- Bloom the gelatin: In a small bowl pour 2 tablespoons of the cold milk, add the gelatin, stir it to combine and let it bloom.
- Make the Panna Cotta: Transfer the milk cream and the sugar to a small pot and heat over medium heat until the mixture is steamy and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat, add the bloomed gelatin and stir until dissolved.Transfer the yogurt, the honey and the vanilla to a bowl and mix well. Gradually add the milk mixture while mixing with a whisk or a spatula.
- Fill the molds: When everything is combined, divide the mixture into the ramekins and refrigerate for 4-6 hours or until firm to the touch.
- Make the sauce: Transfer the strawberries and the sugar to a saucepan and heat until the sugar is melted and the strawberries release their juices.Transfer the cornstarch and the cold water to a small bowl and mix well. When the berries start to boil, add 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch mixture and stir until the sauce is glossy.If you want the sauce thicker add the rest of the corn flour and stir again for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the sauce cool.
- Serve: If you choose to unmold the panna cotta, run a knife through the edge of the molds and heat them for a couple of seconds by dipping them half-way for 10 seconds into hot water. Invert onto plates and help them unmold with the knife.Top with the strawberry sauce and serve.
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