When I create recipes, I always try to cater to people who have intolerances to ingredients such as lactose. Nut and seed milks are a delicious lactose-free alternative to traditional dairy milk, and they can be used in a variety of recipes that require the real thing. They can also provide your body with essential minerals such as calcium and magnesium.
In my cookbook Purely Delicious, I created a full chapter exclusively to these concoctions — 12 total, all with their own unique benefits and flavor profiles. The key ingredient you choose to make your dairy-free milks with will ultimately determine the taste and texture of your delicious creation. For instance, walnut milk is a wonderful source of omega-3 fatty acids.
A dairy-free milk is basically nuts, seeds or grains blended with filtered water and strained. I like to soak my nuts and seeds overnight, which makes them easier to digest as well as blend. The milk can also be scented with aromatics such as vanilla bean, cacao, matcha, turmeric or cinnamon. For a little sweetness I like to add my choice of fresh dates, raw honey, maple or a little stevia before blending.
If you have any leftover pulp from making the milk, it can easily be used up in cakes, gluten-free banana bread, chocolate chip cookies, crumbles or your own healthy protein balls. Once you make your own homemade nut milks, you’ll never want to purchase the ones in stores again. Personally, I like to keep things as natural as possible.
If you want a richer and creamier milk, decrease the amount of water by two cups or add a few spoonfuls of tahini. This will also provide a boost of calcium. If you’re rushed for time, nuts such as cashews and macadamias don’t need any straining, and can be blended with water to instantly produce the creamiest milks.
My top picks for dairy-free milk ingredients include walnuts, macadamias, cashews, almonds and pumpkin seeds. Brown rice is also a great alternative for those with nut sensitivities or allergies.
- 1 cup of your choice nuts or seeds (soaked overnight in water and drained)
- 4 – 6 fresh pitted dates or your choice of a natural sweetener
- 6 cups filtered water
- Extras: Vanilla, cinnamon, cacao, turmeric, matcha, tahini or coffee
- Combine nuts, water and pitted fresh dates into a high-performance blender
- Blend at high speed until creamy white (This should take about 15-20 seconds.)
- Strain through a fine sieve, muslin or nut milk bag
- Pour into clean bottles or jars
- Store milk for about 4 days in the fridge
Notes + Inspiration: Blend any of these milks into a delicious breakfast smoothie with frozen bananas, almond butter, fresh dates and cold filter coffee.
Teresa Cutter, founder of The Healthy Chef, is an author, nutritionist and classically trained chef. You can find more of Cutter’s tips and recipes on her website, app, eBooks and Instagram.
“My main goal at The Healthy Chef is to get people cooking and eating healthier. Eat natural foods, focus on fresh fruits and vegetables and just keep it simple.” — Teresa Cutter
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