Lassi is an Indian (as from India) beverage which I only recently became acquainted with. In the dairy section, my natural grocery store sold a beverage simply called “Lassi.”
Aside from the fact I knew it was a dairy beverage of some sort, I was not familiar with the name.
Lassi is a word of Hindi origin. It is believed the etymology is from the Sanskrit word lasya which mean s stickiness or another similar Sanskrit names lasīkā meaning syrup, sugarcane juice, Rasa juice.
This word is pronounced either las-ee or luhs-ee.
What is Lassi?
Lassi is a traditional yogurt-based drink from India. Lassi is made from a blend of yogurt, water, spices and sometimes fruit. It can be served both as a savory or sweet drink.
Strangely enough, Lassi can be served both hot or cold.
They are different varieties of Lassi in Pakistan and Turkey from what I hear.
Health Benefits of Lassi
A study on the benefits of the consumption of lassi concluded:
The present study clearly showed that Indians indigenous Lassi is an indispensible item of diet since immemorial. Lassi is essential in every religious and cultural occasion in India which is nutritionally and therapeutically superior to milk. Beyond its nutritional properties, it has been found to be a good source of probiotic bacteria which can help in various ways upon consumption. The traditional knowledge with its holistic and systematic approach supported by research finding can serve as an innovative and useful tool for the development of functional drinks like Lassi. 
Lassi’s health benefits depend greatly on the quality of the milk, its handling, the culture used to make it, and the incubation period. Significant differences were observed from lassi made with raw milk versus pasteurized milk. The scientists concluded that heating caused partially denaturation of milk protein, resulting in the formation of more peptides. 
More Health Benefits
This article mentioned other health benefits. I will list them here despite the fact I was unable to find scientific studies to verify these claims.
Lassi – like yogurt – reduces acidity in the stomach, colonizes the gut with healthy bacteria, improves immunity, helps digestion and serves to keep the internal organs cool during hot summers. These claims make sense due to the probiotic content of Lassi.
Lassi is high in calcium, protein, vitamins A and B as well as riboflavin. Traditional lassi is also said to be low in lactose which is converted by bacterial action into galactose and glucose.
In Ayurveda, lassi is considered easy to digest as well as an aid to digestion.
Traditional Lassi Recipe
Traditional lassi is made with curds. I have never made traditional Lassi. I “cheated” and made my Lassi with Greek yogurt.
Simple DIY Lassi: Notes and Tips
For a dairy free version, I used Silk Almond Vanilla Yogurt which tastes like “real” yogurt and is very creamy. However, keep in mind that you will only be able to make sweet Lassi with this yogurt and that it will have a much lower protein content. Silk does offer a soy milk version. I prefer to stay clear of soy. That is just my personal preference. You are free to use any dairy-free yogurt you prefer.
My yogurt of preference is Wallaby Grass-Fed Organic Yogurt. I would prefer to use the whole milk version however, my grocery store only offers the non-fat. For this reason, on occasion, I will add some MCT oil to my Lassi.
For a sweetener, I prefer to use natural sugars like maple syrup, raw honey, or coconut sugar. For a sugar-free option, I much prefer Pure Monk Fruit over liquid stevia. You may use regular granulated sugar as well.
For more information about Pure Monk Fruit, you can read this article.
Know that I use a Vitamix whenever a blender is mentioned. I have found it well worth the investment.
Simple DIY Lassi Recipes
Unless noted otherwise, place all the ingredients in a high powered blender and blend until well combined.
Punjabi Lassi (Sweet)
This is the recipe I started with. I have been a bit bolder since then.
- 1 cup yogurt
- 3/4 to 1 cup of pure water
- 2 tablespoons of raw honey or maple syrup, 4 tablespoons of sugar, or one scoop of Pure Monk Fruit
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- Pinch of sea salt or Himalayan salt
- 3 to 4 ice cubes
- Optional: 1 tablespoon of dried fruit (apricot, raisin, prunes)
Chocolate Hazelnut Lassi (Sweet)
- 3/4 cup yogurt
- 3/4 cup pure water
- 6 tablespoons of chocolate chips*
- 8 to 10 hazelnuts
- 1 tablespoon of raw honey or maple syrup, 2 tablespoons of sugar or one scoop of Pure Monk Fruit
- A pinch of Himalayan salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 to 5 ice cubes
You may need to melt the chocolate chips in a pan on the stovetop or in the microwave first. My Vitamix can handle them so I skip this step.
*I like Lily’s Baking Chips because they are low carb (sweetened with stevia) as well as Vegan, non-GMO, gluten free, and fair trade. They also contain 55% of cocoa.
Watermelon Lassi (Sweet)
- 2 cups watermelon chunks
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1 tablespoon of raw honey or maple syrup, or 2 tablespoons coconut sugar, or 1 scoop Pure Monk Fruit
- 4 to 5 pieces of ice
- A pinch of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- Pinch ground ginger
More Simple DIY Lassi Recipes
I will be adding recipe as I wander more into uncharted Lassi territory.
Sources for Simple DIY Lassi:
- Evaluation of Health Benefits of Lassi (Buttermilk): A Traditional Non Alcoholic Beverage of Northern India 
- Studies on bio-functional activity of traditional Lassi