Lemon cheesecake yogurt parfaits are creamy, tangy, little pots of bright lemon flavor with a crunchy, nutty, gluten free granola that is highly addictive. Healthy enough for breakfast but indulgent enough for dessert, these are the perfect spring treat.
Eddie and I have been married for about a year and half now. And although some would say we’re still squarely in newlywed territory (which is great BTW), we have known each other going on 17 years now. But even after all that time, we’re still growing, changing, and even learning new things about one another. For instance, the other day he was surprised to discover that I had a brief but very passionate love affair…with parfaits.
I was drawn to the concept of one, beautiful dessert being constructed out of two or more sweet treats. It seemed festive and decadent. Also I was borderline obsessed with creating picture perfect layers alternating between crushed up Oreos (what I still believe to be the quintessential parfait ingredient) and barely soft vanilla ice cream. My parents indulged my slightly hedonistic hobby by buying a few of those fluted dessert glasses – you know, the kind they have at old timey soda shoppes?
I would happily crush Oreos, scoop ice cream, layer m&m’s, and finish with mile high aerosol sprayfuls of whipped cream on many summer afternoons. And although sugar was not considered nearly so villainous as it is today, I’m pretty sure my parents were suffering courageously through this sickly sweet phase of my youth.
My love of parfaits was not a long term one though. I moved on, as we tend to. Mostly because as an adult, when I’ve revisited the idea of a parfait, it’s just too much. Too much candy, cookie, and ice cream to be realistic. So I had a choice, either put parfaits on the top shelf of my memory – high out of reach, only to be dusted off for particularly bubbly and festive sugar-coma inducing occasions, or make them something that I could enjoy on the regs, without the guilt. I think you can guess which idea won out.
Lemon Yogurt Cheesecake Parfaits
These lemon yogurt cheesecake parfaits are sweet, tangy, and just a little bit decadent. But most importantly they scratch that creative childhood itch without the horrible sugar crash. We’re using a honey-sweetened, lemon-laced yogurt in place of ice cream, and a sticky, crunchy, sweet, and gluten free granola to mimic a more traditional cheesecake crust. Berries stand in for cookies or candy, which makes these great as a light dessert or a sweet treat for breakfast.
How to make the perfect parfait
Normally I’d walk you through this recipe more or less step-by-step (cue swelling music and roller coaster footage that will forever be intertwined with that phrase), but this one is really more about feel. The only technical aspect is the granola, which will get a little love in a just a bit, but other than that, it’s about being delicious and fun. Use whatever fresh fruit looks best or makes you happiest that day. Make precise and exacting layers, or get creatively artful. Spoon it into jars to serve as a light dessert after a summer dinner party, or just plop it into a bowl for breakfast on a busy weekday morning. There is no wrong way here – only your way. But about that granola…
A few tips for making easy, gluten free granola
This granola is really the only part of this “recipe” you need to be even slightly precise about. But it’s still not rocket science.
- If you don’t have a food processor, just chop the nuts by hand. They don’t need to be crazy fine, just no big chunks.
- And if honey isn’t your thing, feel free to substitute maple syrup.
- Do make sure that your oats are labeled “gluten free” as not all of them are, but only if that actually matters to you.
- There’s no need to line your sheet pan with anything, or even really grease it, as there’s plenty of healthy fat from the coconut oil and nuts to keep anything from getting stuck.
- Stirring will seem kind of silly in the beginning, as this stuff is sticky, but just move it around as best you can. Try to bring the stuff from the edges into the towards the center, and the center stuff out towards the edges, to promote even browning.
- Let it cool completely before breaking it up with your fingers and sprinkling it into a parfait, or anything that would benefit from a nutty, crunchy, sweet and golden topping.
Now that you (and my husband) understand my deep love for parfaits, I hope you try this one out. And if you become a part time parfait fanatic (because full time would be absurd – we’ve gotta live our lives, ya know), tell me all about it in the comments. We could start a club or something.
And in case you need any other sweet breakfast treats, check these out!Print
Lemon Yogurt Cheesecake Parfaits (Gluten free)
Lemon cheesecake yogurt parfaits are a fun, sweet, and healthy treat great for dessert or breakfast.
- Prep Time: 10 Minutes
- Cook Time: 45 Minutes
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 6 Servings 1x
- Category: Breakfast
- Cuisine: American
For the granola:
1/2 C raw almonds
1/2 C raw cashews
1/2 C rolled oats (gluten free)
2 tsp chia seeds
1/4 C honey
1/4 C coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
For the yogurt:
3 T honey
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of kosher salt
2 1/2 C greek yogurt
Fresh berries for serving
Preheat your oven to 325°F.
Pulse nuts in a food processor until finely chopped, but not completely ground into dust. Add in oats, chia seed, honey, coconut oil, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. Pulse a few more times, just to combine. The mixture will become very sticky and start to clump together.
Dump granola mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until everything is a medium, golden brown. Let cool on pan completely – it will go from sticky and chewy to crunchy as it sits.
Whisk together honey, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt until honey is dissolved. Combine thoroughly with yogurt.
Layer yogurt and granola with berries and serve immediately.
Yogurt mixture and granola can be stored separately in airtight containers in the fridge for up to five days.
Keywords: Gluten free breakfast, lemon cheesecake parfaits, gluten free granola