I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something seriously sexy about pomegranate. It might be the ruby hue of the skin, or the fact that the seeds look like precious scarlet jewels. It could also be the way the seeds burst in my mouth, sending sweet and slightly sour drops of juice dancing on my tongue. Whatever it is, pomegranate is by far the most sensual fruit and, in my opinion, the sexiest of all edible flora. If asparagus is supposed to be the sexiest vegetable, I can’t imagine it being a tough battle between the two.
This morning, I was staring at this glorious piece of fruit and wondering what I could do with it. I couldn’t be bothered with anything fancy – I needed to whip up something quick and easy that didn’t require any lengthy preparation or actual cooking. So, I grabbed some yoghurt out of the fridge, a random bunch of condiments from the pantry and a strainer. For something that was supposed to be a run-of-the-mill breakkie, the flavour combination and textures made it sensational. To me, this is an example of simplicity at its best – less is always more, and food is no exception. The sweetness and subdued acidity of the pomegranate juice cuts through the tart clouds of natural yoghurt and the crunch of roasted sunflower seeds, buckinis, and the occasional burst of a pomegranate seed is perfection. All tied together by comforting notes of pure maple and tiny pillows of puffed quinoa, this super quick breakkie really packs a punch, not only in terms of flavour and texture, but also nutritional value!
This nutrient-rich, antioxidant-dense fruit has been revered as a symbol of health, fertility and eternal life. It is one of the most powerful antioxidants of all fruits and and boasts potent anti-cancer and immune supporting effects. Pomegranate inhibits abnormal platelet aggregation that could cause heart attacks, strokes and embolic disease. It has also been shown to lower bloody pressure, promote reversal of atherosclerotic plaque in human studies and may have benefits to relieve or protect against depression and osteoporosis!
Unless you’re lactose intolerant or following a vegan lifestyle, natural yoghurt is a fabulous food to make a staple in your diet. Low-fat natural yoghurt is very low in calories relative to its weight, but fills you up and keeps you feeling satisfied for hours due to its high protein content. Depending on the product, Greek yoghurt can contain up to twice as much protein as natural yoghurt! The difference between regular natural and Greek yoghurt is that while natural yoghurt is strained twice, Greek yoghurt is strained three times which extracts more water, leading to an even thicker and creamier consistency. Experts believe that the probiotics in natural and greek yoghurts help with digestive wellbeing and strengthen the immune system. Unlike processed yoghurts (hello, Yoplait, Ski and Gippsland Dairy!), natural yoghurt does not contain cane sugar, fructose (from fruit juice concentrates and honey), other processed sweeteners, colours, gelatine, preservatives or chemicals. And don’t even get me started on the chemical shit-storms that ‘diet’ yoghurts are.
The ability of natural and Greek yoghurts to be incorporated into a myriad of sweet and savoury meals and snacks makes yoghurt an everyday staple in my diet. Both natural and Greek yoghurt is great at breakfast with muesli and in smoothies, and it can replace the oil and eggs in some baked goods. Due to its luxuriously thick and creamy consistency, Greek yoghurt can be used in place of less healthy components of savoury recipes to reduce fat while boosting protein and nutrients. It can be used to make creamy dips, makes a perfect sour cream replacement, is great in recipes that require mayo and complements fiery curries perfectly. Also, snacking on natural yoghurt throughout the day as opposed to simple carbs such as candy, crackers and other protein-less fare provides a lasting energy boost without the sugar crash (and unnecessary calories).
My Favourite Yoghurt Brands & Their Nutritional Values
– Bear in mind that the ‘sugar’ in natural & natural Greek yoghurt is predominantly lactose, not cane sugar!
– Whether it’s part of a meal (such as with muesli and fruit for breakfast) or a snack (I’ll often stir cinnamon and fresh passionfruit pulp through Greek yoghurt for my afternoon snack), I always aim for a serving size of around 200g. Thus, the nutritional values I have provided below are per 200g serving.
- Jalna Fat-Free Natural – 0g fat, 10.6g protein, 14.8g carbs (11g sugar), 340mg calcium and 104 calories.
- Jalna Low-Fat (2%) Natural with A2 Protein – 4g fat, 10.2g protein, 13.8g carbs (11.2g sugar), 260mg calcium and 154 calories.
- Jalna Greek Low Fat (3%) Natural – 6g fat, 11.4g protein, 16.6g carbs (13.4g sugar), 360mg calcium and 200 calories.
- Chobani Low-Fat (2%) Greek – 4g fat, 19.6g protein, 8.2g carbs (7.6g sugar), 224mg calcium and 150 calories.
- Chobani Fat-Free Greek – 0g fat, 20.4g protein, 8.4g carbs (7.6g sugar), 228g calcium and just 124 calories!
Don’t Lose Your Whey!
See what I did there? 😉
Are you guilty of pouring that watery stuff on top of yoghurt down the sink? SHAME ON YOU! That icky liquid is known as whey (yes, as in Little Miss Muffet’s Curds and Whey), and it’s a nutrient-rich complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids! It’s also packed with calcium, potassium and vitamin B2. So from now on, instead of it being your morning “ew” factor, stir that wonderful liquid back into the yoghurt. It will also give a really creamy consistency. Little Miss Muffet didn’t eat her curds without her whey, and neither should you! Pomegranate Yoghurt Bowl
Seeds of 1/2 pomegranate (I’m sure there’s a very elegant way to remove the seeds, but I just hack at them with a spoon)
200g natural yoghurt (I used Jalna Low Fat Natural A2 here)
1tsp pure organic maple syrup
roasted sunflower kernels
plain activated buckinis (I use Loving Earth)
- To make the pomegranate juice, take a few tbs of seeds and mash them with a fork through a strainer – be careful, they squirt! Again, I’m sure there’s a more conventional method of juicing pomegranate, but I was still half asleep at this point.
- Place dollops of yoghurt into a bowl and stir the pomegranate juice through, only slightly.
- Top with the puffed quinoa, sunflower seeds, buckinis and leftover pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with maple syrup and enjoy with a fruity floral tea like T2’s ‘Red Fancy Fruit’. Perfection.