I am constantly on the hunt for a healthier dessert to indulge in, particularly during the summer months, when it seems like an endless buffet of less-than-healthy treats becomes available at picnics, barbecues, and potlucks.
When it comes to sweet treats, sometimes you need something light to finish a heavy meal. And that’s exactly what this parfait entails.
There are four layers of goodness in this dessert, and each plays a key role in making this recipe downright addictive. I’m going to break them down for you one by one, to give you all the details you’ll need.
This comes with a warning: don’t blame me if you start drooling when an intense craving strikes!
First, you have the base of Greek yogurt. You can use plain, or if you prefer you can use vanilla. But keep in mind that flavored yogurts often include added sweeteners.
Pick your favorite brand and go to town with it. Personally, I like to use the plain Greek yogurt in this parfait because it brings a slight tang to the mix, with a thicker texture than regular yogurt.
The next layer is a fresh strawberry sauce – homemade strawberry coulis, to be specific.
I don’t know about you, but I love fresh fruit sauces and spreads. I’ve gotten super into making jam ever since I made this tomato jam at home, but recipes like these can take a lot of time to create, sometimes an hour or two on the stove to reduce the liquid. But this recipe features a quick homemade strawberry sauce that is ridiculously easy to make.
I was literally licking the spoon straight from the stove while it was still warm, because it tastes so dang good.
The next layer is made of crushed lemon cornmeal cookies. It’s a way great way to use up any extra cookies that you have left over the day after you bake them, but it’s also a fantastic excuse to make these cookies in the first place.
Who doesn’t want cookies, after all?
The answer is: no one.
Everyone wants cookies.
Finally, thinly sliced fresh berries are layered on top, for an added touch of fresh fruit, all of the layers combined make this parfait something that’s pretty darn incredible.
When you get a spoonful of each of the layers in your mouth, you get tangy, sweet, fruity, creamy, crunchy, and fresh all at once.
It’s kind of like an ice cream sundae, but made with healthier Greek yogurt. Without being too sweet, it’s balanced in just the right way to make it a light and healthy-ish note to end on.
This dessert is also a really fun one to break out for the kiddos. You can prep all of the elements of the parfait ahead of time, and have the children go crazy layering everything up.
Even the adults can have fun making the parfaits, adding various amounts of what they like the most so they can create their own custom dessert. Triple or quadruple the recipe as needed to make your very own dessert bar that your party guests can gather around at the end of a delicious meal.
And if you’re allowed to enjoy cookies for breakfast once in awhile in your household, this also makes a delicious morning meal.
You could also exchange the strawberry coulis layer for a dollop of homemade lemon curd. And store-bought lemon or vanilla wafer cookies would also work in a pinch.Print
Diving into layers of the best strawberry yogurt parfait is a tangy, sweet, and citrusy experience that’s truly unforgettable.
For the Coulis:
For the Parfaits:
To Make the Coulis:
- Place the water and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the simple syrup has begun to thicken.
- Add the chopped strawberries and cook for 3-5 minutes, until softened.
- Transfer to a food processor or high-speed blender. Allow to cool slightly, add the lemon juice, then puree. This can also be done in the pot with an immersion blender.
- For an extra smooth sauce, press through a fine mesh strainer or chinois. Transfer to a lidded container, and chill completely in the refrigerator before using.
To Assemble the Parfaits:
- Place the cookies in a zip-top plastic bag, and use a glass to crush into large crumbs.
- Add approximately 2 ounces of yogurt to the bottom of two mason jars, parfait dishes, or stemless wine glasses. Top with a layer of strawberry coulis. Top this with a layer of crushed lemon cornmeal cookies, and then a layer of thinly sliced strawberries.
- Repeat until you reach the top. Finish with a thin layer of yogurt and drizzle the top of each with 1/2 teaspoon of honey. Garnish with a whole cookie or two, a sprig of mint, and a sliced strawberry. Whole cookies can also be served on the side for dipping.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Parfaits
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Dessert
Keywords: strawberry sauce, yogurt parfait, dessert parfait
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep and Measure Ingredients
If you haven’t already, bake your cookies. It’s okay, we’ll wait…
Set aside 4 whole cookies, and place 6 more in a zip-top plastic bag. Crush lightly with a glass or rolling pin, to form large crumbs. You don’t want to make dust, and bigger pieces are okay. The idea here is to make a cookie crumble that can be sprinkled on your parfaits.
Rinse the lemon well, and the mint, if using. Rinse the berries in a colander, and drain.
Hull and chop one pint of strawberries for the coulis. Set aside.
Slice the remaining strawberries for the parfaits, and. Set aside. I like to leave the top on one for each parfait, slice thinly nearly to the stem, and then fan out to create a garnish.
Juice a lemon and set aside 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice. Remove any seeds, and set aside the rest for another use.
Measure the remaining ingredients and set aside, along with your selected dessert jars or glasses.
Step 2 – Make the Coulis
To make the strawberry sauce, start by preparing a simple syrup. Combine the water and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan, and place it over medium-high heat. Allow it to come to a simmer and remove from the heat when the sugar has dissolved completely and the liquid has begun to reduce.
Keep an eye on your pan – you don’t want the sugar to begin to brown, or for the liquid to boil away.
Add the chopped strawberries, stir, and return to the heat. Allow the berries to soften, stirring occasionally. This should only take about 3-5 minutes.
Remove from the heat, and transfer to a food processor or high-speed blender. Wait for the fruit to stop steaming, since you want to avoid heat burns! Add the lemon juice and puree until smooth.
This can also be done right in the saucepan, using an immersion blender. I love this option, since there are less dishes to do when I’m finished cooking!
Transfer the coulis to a lidded container and chill completely in the refrigerator or freezer before using.
Step 3 – Assemble
Once the coulis has cooled (ha!), you are ready to assemble the parfaits.
Add about 2 ounces of yogurt to the bottom of two parfait dishes, stemless wine glasses, or small mason jars.
Top this with a layer of the strawberry sauce.
Add a layer of crushed lemon cornmeal cookies, and then a layer of thinly sliced strawberries.
Repeat these layers, starting again with the yogurt, until you reach the top of the glass or just about run out of Greek yogurt, whichever comes first.
Finish with a dollop of yogurt and drizzle each glass with 1/2 teaspoon of honey. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a sliced strawberry if you like, and serve with a few whole cookies if you like, either alongside or on top.
Leftover Strawberry Sauce? You’re Welcome!
One of the best parts of this recipe is that you will still have some of that luscious, sweet and tart fruit coulis left over to use later.
You can keep putting it in these parfaits (up to 4 can be made with a full batch, more if you make them on the smaller side), or you can enjoy it on a variety of other things.
Try topping your ice cream with it – whether it is chocolate or vanilla bean, you have a bright and fruity topping to balance out the sweetness. It’s wonderful drizzled over the top of a brownie sundae!
It’s also delicious stirred into softened cream cheese (you could try a spin on this recipe), poured over a fresh fruit salad, mixed into cocktails, or used to garnish a beautiful slice of cheesecake or chocolate torte.
Tell us in the comments below how you made this parfait your own, and don’t forget to give the recipe a rating, to let other readers know how much you enjoyed it!
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on May 13, 2012. Last updated: March 1, 2022 at 19:09 pm. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.