I can’t remember when or why I stopped drinking cow’s milk at home. It was definitely before I stopped drinking tea because I can remember using soya milk in tea and, although it was *okay*, the tea wasn’t quite the same, so it was probably around then I stopped drinking tea as well as moo juice. I remember *why* I stopped drinking it though and that’s because I decided drinking a cow’s bodily fluid was ick and so the only time I buy milk now is when I’m having work done to the house and need to make the workmen tea and coffee (except for the plumber who keeps things simple and has black coffee with no sugar). Despite my aversion to cow’s milk because of its ickness and my house being a dairy-cheese-free zone, hypocrisy kicks in when I’m out of the house and I want a hot chocolate or a pizza and no vegan options are immediately available. Luckily, dairy alternatives are becoming more and more available with vegan milk and cheese being offered in more and more places.
If you’ve been to the supermarket lately, you’ve probably seen all the different types of milks available in the fridge and on the shelf. Here’s a run down of some milk alternatives and what you can do with them.
Own-brand long-life soya milk (found in the aisle with the other UHT milk) is usually the cheapest (under £1) and is a perfectly acceptable substitute at any time you’d usually use dairy milk and, as it’s stable at high temperatures, it’s especially good for sauces and savoury dishes. Like all shop-bought plant milks, it contains protein, calcium and B12.
Use soya milk for:
- vegan buttermilk
If you ever wanted to make your own nut milk, cashew milk is the one to make simply because of its simplicity – just three ingredients and no need to strain it. Because nothing is wasted when you make cashew milk, it retains all its nutrients to make a creamy nutritious nut milk full of vitamin E which is good for skin and eyes. I’ve read it’s not great in tea and coffee but it makes a beautifully creamy hot chocolate. You can check out my cashew milk recipe here.
Use cashew milk for:
- ice cream
- salad dressings
- curry sauce
Almond milk is probably the most common plant milk after soya milk. It has so many uses – ice cream, pasta dishes and sauces and, if you make your own, there are a billion uses for the leftover pulp – check out my almond milk recipe, then have a look at these uses for almond pulp. Almond milk can be less-than-cheap in the supermarket so it’s worth making your own if you can be arsed with faffing around with a nut milk bag; just remember the shop-bought ones are fortified with calcium and B12 and stuff, which homemade ones won’t be.
Use almond milk for:
- ice cream
- sweet sauces
- savoury sauces
- rice pudding
- mashed potatoes
I’ve only used oat milk a few times; while doing Jason Vale’s Superblend Me 7-day smoothie plan and I must admit, it’s not my favourite milk. I found it too oaty for my taste but I realise this is because it’s made of oats so I shouldn’t complain about it being oaty really. Apparently oat milk is good in tea and coffee and doesn’t separate. I haven’t tried it myself though, so don’t take my word for it.
Use oat milk for:
- baked goods
I’ve never tried rice milk. This is purely because it sounds like rice pudding which is something else I’ve never tried but the look of it puts me off. Still, if you’re not a wimp like me who gets put off things just because they look a bit lumpy, apparently rice milk is the one to have if you have any allergies or intolerances to cow’s milk or nut milk.
Use rice milk for:
- light sauces
Not to be confused with the thick, creamy stuff in a can, coconut milk’s my favourite milk and it’s fab in smoothies and hot chocolate. There are quite a few brands of coconut milk – including own brand – each with varying percentages of coconut.
Use coconut milk for:
- vegan whipped cream
- creamy puddings
For more information on milk alternatives, have a look at this article by Qlu Health.
What’s the best blender for plant and nut milks?
If you want to make your own plant milk, you’re going to need a good blender. And by a good blender, I mean a high-powered one not a cheap-but-acceptable-for-your-average-smoothie one. If you don’t use a high-powered blender, your milk will be grainy and there’ll be a lot of waste when you strain it. A high-powered blender will blend your nuts or other ingredients into a smooth and creamy milk. My blender – the Froothie G2.1 – is a high-powered blender (even higher-powered than a Vitamix!) that makes making nut milk a breeze, thanks to its touchscreen menu with a nut milk setting and is the one I recommend (and I’ve been through a lot of blenders). If you’d like one too, you can currently get £40 off with the discount code AMB40 if you use this link.