VEGAN; GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS!
Sometimes, I hesitate to write a post because I’m afraid I’m just sharing the obvious – and perhaps painfully obvious.
Because everyone knows how to make a fruit and yogurt parfait, right?
But then, every time I bring one of these babies to work, someone stops by my desk. “Ooooh, what’s THAT?”
And, on a daily basis, I usually see several women in the breakroom eating fruit and yogurt from those plastic containers. So, apparently not everyone has put two and two together.
PLUS … I’m sharing my dad’s secret ingredient … jam. Yes, jam. My dad Jimmy loved jam. (He also loved to jam to Creedence Clearwater Revival, but that’s another story.) Seriously, my dad discovered that, as long as fruit was involved, you could substitute jam for the traditional sweetener (sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, etc.) and the results would be ahh-mazing! He was famous for his oatmeal, and that’s because, in addition to stirring in fresh or dried fruit and nuts, he’d also stir in some fruit jam. Which would somehow elevate the whole thing from “breakfast” to “dessert.” Making a fresh fruit smoothie? Add a spoonful of fresh fruit preserves and somehow the smoothie tastes like a decadent milkshake. And adding a spoonful of jam to some fruit, yogurt, and granola somehow makes you feel you are eating pie instead of a healthy parfait!
This is more of a template than a recipe, since exact measurements and ingredients will depend on the size of your Mason jars, what ingredients you have on hand, and your mood. It’s wonderful to make ahead for a quick grab-and-go breakfast throughout the week.
Ingredients for Berry and Jam Fruit Parfaits:
Berries (Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries)
Jam or Preserves, in a flavor matching or compatible with the fruit
Granola, Nuts, or Grape Nuts
Directions for Berry and Jam Fruit Parfaits:
Take a Mason jar or other glass container (I use 1 pint Mason jars) and add a tablespoon of jam or preserves. If you’re using a larger jar, use enough to cover the bottom of the jar.
Next, you have a choice.
For a traditional “fruit on the bottom” experience, you can add about 1/4 – 1/3 cup berries, then fill the rest of the jar up with yogurt and top with granola or nuts. (Common sense: Slice strawberries and halve any really huge blackberries or raspberries.)
For a prettier presentation (one that will make your coworkers ask, “What ARE you eating?”) you will want to layer in about 1/4 cup of yogurt (or an inch or two) followed by the fruit, then another inch or so of yogurt, then the crunchy topping).
That’s how absurdly simple this is and you will not believe how absurdly delicious this is. (And how absurdly cheaper this is than buying tiny containers of fruit yogurt).
I usually make up a batch on Sunday nights and Wednesday nights. (I tend to err on the side of caution, and believe refrigerator shelf life is about 3-4 days.)
Berries: Some berries, especially strawberries, are notorious for pesticides, so do choose organic when possible. You’ll still be saving money by DIY instead of buying prepackaged fruit yogurts.
Jam: Choose organic jam or preserves – or at least “natural.” Many local Charlotte stores, such as Trader Joe’s and EarthFare, have their own brand of organic jams and preserves that are reasonably priced. Don’t worry if they are low sugar or no added sugar – they will still add a burst of sweetness and flavor! DO NOT, however, use jelly – the texture will be weird and will not blend well with the yogurt and fruit.
Yogurt: I 100% recommend So Delicious Yogurt for these parfaits (or any recipe dealing with fruit!) The faint coconut taste is amazing with fresh fruit! It comes in plain, vanilla, vanilla unsweetened, and plain unsweetened. Choosing Unsweetened will definitely save you some calories. All of the yogurts are fortified with Calcium, B12, Vitamin D, and Iron. (And are also certified gluten-free.) However, coconut yogurt does not have a lot of protein, so if that is a concern for you, you may want to consider making your own soy crockpot yogurt.
Granola Topping: If you’re using granola, and making up 3-4 days’ supply, I recommend STOPPING before adding the crunchy topping. The longer parfait jars sit in the refrigerator, the soggier granola is going to get. So, leave off the topping when batch making and add in the morning right before you scamper off to work! Exceptions … Nut and seed toppings, and that old stalwart, Grape Nuts. (Gluten Free people, use your best judgement here!)