Mooove over, dairy — nuts, grains, and legumes are replacing cows everywhere as plant-based milks rise in popularity. Cow’s milk is one of the most common allergens so it’s no wonder people are after dairy-free milk alternatives. But with so many plant-based milk varieties on the market (and many packed full of artificial thickeners and preservatives with a hefty price tag) how do you know which one is for you? We’ve got the skinny on the health benefits and uses for each type of plant-based milk and we’ll show you how to make your own milks at home for a fraction of the price.
What you’ll love: Hemp milk, the new kid on the block, has quickly become one of our faves and for good reason. With its buttery, nutty flavour, it’s also nice and easy to make (the seeds don’t require soaking to achieve that creamy texture so you can have fresh hemp milk ready in just a few minutes).
Not only do hemp seeds contain calcium and protein, but they’re also a great source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
How to use it: Hemp milk is superb in smoothies, cooking and baking but not so great in your morning coffee.
What you’ll love: Arguably one of the most popular choices for plant-based milks (almond lattes are the new normal). For best results, first soak your almonds for a few hours (or even better, overnight) for a creamier result. Keep in mind that many commercial almond milks are quite watery, so making it at home means you can make it rich and creamy.
Almond milk is lower in protein than cow’s milk but is rich in Vitamin E and monounsaturated fats. Although almonds do contain some calcium, it’s not quite enough to reach the recommended dietary intake (RDI). A great way to boost your calcium is to add sesame seeds to your almond milk.
How to use it: Homemade almond milk is great for adding creaminess to your smoothies.
If you’re all about almonds, give our Almond milk recipe a go.
Keep in mind: There are some environmental concerns about the amount of water used to cultivate almonds so don’t let the almond pulp go to waste. We’re nuts about almond flour, paleo pizza crust, granola or for the topping on your fruit crumbles. (Dry out the pulp in your oven first on low heat and then you’re good to go.)
What you’ll love: Oat milk is lower in fat than many plant-based alternatives and is high in soluble fibre, which can positively impact your blood sugar, digestion and heart health.
Be aware that most commercial brands add sugar, gums and oils to their oat milks to create a thicker milk texture so homemade is the way to go. You oat to try our Oat milk recipe.
How to use it: Oat milk froths well so it’s a great alternative for coffee. Froth oat milk in your Thermomix by adding milk into your bowl (100g per person), heat it until it reaches 70° degrees at Speed 1 then slowly increase the speed to 8 for 30 seconds.
It’s also a good milk option to use in cooking.
Keep in mind: Oat milk is not suitable for coeliacs or those following a gluten-free diet.
What you’ll love: Made from whole soybeans, homemade Soy milk is a great source of protein and is lower in calories than whole milk. Just be sure to choose organic soybeans where possible.
How to use it: Soy is great for baking and cooking, and froths well for coffee and soy on and so forth.
Keep in mind: Soy is a common allergen for many people. While soy has a smooth nutty flavour, many recipes add sugar so leave it out if you’re watching your sugar intake.
What you’ll love: Low in fat and cholesterol, rice milk is also a good source of B vitamins. It’s higher in carbohydrates and calories than other plant-based milks but it’s a good choice for those with allergies to dairy, nuts and soy.
How to use it: It’s light, sweet flavour makes it good for adding to coffee or making desserts and its delicate flavour can also work in soups and light sauces (although keep in mind it may be too sweet for the more savoury recipes). Rice as nice, this Rice milk recipe is versatility at its best.
What you’ll love: Coconut milk is high in medium chain triglycerides. This makes it a great option for those following a high-fat, low-carb diet.
How to use it: Coconut milk has a strong flavour so it’s best used in sweet dishes like ice creams where you can make the most of its tropical, creamy flavour.
For a balmy tropical island vibe try our Coconut milk recipe.
What you’ll love: Cashew milk is deliciously thick and creamy and for those avoiding dairy, the creamy cashews’ uncanny ability to turn into plant-based sour creams, cheeses and more is hard to beat.
Cashews are also a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids as well as minerals like magnesium, potassium and zinc.
How to use it: Thick and creamy, cashew milk makes a great base for soups, sauces and porridge.
(Ca)shew ought to try our Cashew milk recipe (ok we’re fresh out of puns now)
You can purchase this Nut Milk Bag right here on TheMix Shop.