Discover the Milk Alternative that gets You Moo-vin’

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By Cooking Panda

With plant-based alternatives on the rise, the creation of dairy-free milks are booming.  Go ahead, meander the isles of your local health foods store and explore dairy alternative heaven – but, before loading your cart, let’s dive in and see the benefits of the main crew: almond, oat, coconut, hemp and soy (and better yet, how to make them at home!)

Almond Milk

The subtle nutty taste dances with a light sweetness – no wonder this alternative milk is the leader of the pack.  Healthline lists almond as low calorie, low in sugar, high in vitamin E, good source of calcium, moderate amounts of potassium and many more.

Make at Home: Vanilla-Cinnamon Almond Milk

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw almonds, soaked
  • 3 ½ cups (875mL) filtered water
  • 2 to 4 pitted Medjool dates, to taste*
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, chopped or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract*
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Small pinch fine sea salt

Directions

  1. Place almonds in a bowl and cover with a couple inches of water. Soak the almonds in water overnight (about 8 to 10 hours).  For a quick-soak method, soak the almonds in boiled water for 1 hour.  Rinse and drain well.
  2. Place drained almonds into a blender along with the filtered water, pitted dates, and chopped vanilla bean.
  3. Blend on the highest speed for 1 minute.
  4. Place a nut milk bag over a large bowl and slowly pour the almond milk mixture into the bag. Gently squeeze the bottom of the bag to release the milk.  This process can take a few minutes so be patient!
  5. Rinse out blender and pour the milk back in. Whisk in the cinnamon and sea salt.
  6. Use a funnel, pour into a large glass jar and secure lid. Store in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days.  I recommend storing in the coldest spot in the fridge (typically the back) rather than on a door.  Shake the jar very well before drinking as the mixture separates when sitting.

Tips:

  • If your dates or vanilla bean are dry/stiff, soak in very hot water for 30 minutes before using.  Drain well.  You can use another sweetener of oyur choice like maple syrup instead of the pitted dates.

Inspired by Oh She Glows.

 

Oat Milk

With all these nut milks booming on the market, it may have our friends with dietary restrictions feeling left out.  No worries, oat milk is here.  Packed with B vitamins, beneficial for bone health and high in beta-glucans (oh hi, healthy heart), Healthline lists this a nutrient-dense milk alternative.

Make at Home: Homemade Oat Milk

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (90g) Rolled Oats
  • 4 cups (960ml) Water
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Instructions

  1. Add all the ingredients to your blender and blend until well blended. About a minute. *
  2. Strain through a nut mylk bag or place cheesecloth over a strainer and strain through that.
  3. Store the milk in the fridge where it will stay fresh for up to 5 days. Shake it well before use.
  4. Use in your tea or coffee or pour over cereal.

Notes

  • Don’t soak your oats first, I found this caused sliminess, no matter how much they were rinsed.
  • Don’t overblend as apparently it can also cause the oats to become slimy though I have not personally experienced this.  About a minute of blending is usually sufficient.
  • Don’t heat the milk as it causes it to get very thick.  It can be added to hot drinks like tea and coffee though.
  • This recipe is gluten-free as long as you use gluten-free rolled oats.

Inspired by Loving It Vegan.

 

Hemp Milk

I think for most millenials, when the word HEMP appears on anything, they are completely sold.  Go ahead, hop on the bandwagon and see what the jazz is all about.  Listed as a balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, Healthline lists this as a way to get the skin glowing and to prevent aging (wait… anti-aging? SOLD).

Make at Home: Raw Vegan Hemp Milk

Ingredients

  • ½ cup hemp seeds
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp. Agave nectar, or 2 medjool dates
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla extract
  • Optional: ½ tsp. orange zest
  • Optional: 2 tbsp. raw cacao powder

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather your ingredients.
  2. Place the hemp seeds, water, agave nectar and the vanilla extract in a blender or food processor, and then blend or process all of the ingredients together on a high speed for 20 to 30 seconds or until the mixture is completely smooth and creamy.
  3. If you’d like, you can strain the liquid through a cheesecloth to remove the hemp seed particles – this just depends on what you’re doing with your hemp milk and your personal preference. If you’re cooking with your hemp milk, making a smoothie, or even putting it in your morning cereal, then the extra step of straining is probably not needed.
  4. Serve your hemp milk immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Inspired by The Spruce Eats.

 

Soy Milk

You can consider this the OG of alternative milks.  The one that started it all.  While soy is controversial amongst the wellness community (that’s a whole ‘nother ball game), there are still the supporters who gravitate towards its creamier consistency.  Not to mention, this powerhouse milk contains the same protein as cow’s milk, but is lower in calories.

Make at Home: Homemade Soy Milk

Ingredients

  • ½ cup yellow soybeans (80 grams)
  • 4 cups water (1 liter)
  • ½ teaspoon of homemade vanilla extract or apiece of vanilla bean (optional)
  • 4 dates (optional)

Instructions

  1. Soak the soybeans in water overnight for a minimum of 12 hours.
  2. Drain the soybeans and remove the outer skins.
  3. Blend the soybeans with 3 cups of water (750 milliliters) until well blended and almost smooth.
  4. Strain the blended mixture using a cheesecloth, a napkin or a strainer.
  5. Pour the mixture in a saucepan, add 1 cup of water (250 milliliters). Place the saucepan on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil.  Stir and skim foam.
  6. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes
  7. Let cool the soy milk. You can add other ingredients such as vanilla or dates.  Blend the mixture if necessary.
  8. Store the soy milk in a sealed container in the fridge for four or five days.

Inspired by the Simple Vegan Blog.

 

Coconut Milk

Rich and creamy in texture, this will be hitting all of the tastebud’s needs.  Pairing coconut flesh and intertwining it with water builds a thicker consistency.

Make at Home: Homemade Coconut Milk

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

Instructions

  1. Heat water until hot, but not boiling.
  2. Put shredded coconut in blender or Vitamix and add the hot water. If all the water will not fit, this can be done in batches.  See instructions below.
  3. Blend on high for several minutes until thick and creamy.
  4. First, pour through a mesh strainer to remove most of the coconut solids. Then squeeze through a towel or several thicknesses of cheesecloth to remove remaining pieces of coconut.
  5. If you had to split the water into batches put all the coconut that you strained back in the blender, add the remaining water, and repeat.
  6. Drink immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days after making the best flavor and texture. Since there are no preservatives or fillers, the “cream”of the coconut milk may separate on the top if stored in the fridge.  Just shake or stir before using.

Notes

Flavor options to add after all coconut has been strained out: ½ tsp vanilla extract, or ½ cup pureed fresh or frozen strawberries, or 2 tsp cocoa powder + ½ tsp vanilla.

Inspired by Wellness Mama.

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