Plant-Based Milk Guide: 5 Options You Can Easily Make at Home!
For those new to veganism–or considering it, one of the many things to get excited about is the abundance of plant-based milks available to choose from. There are so many options–made from nuts, grains, beans, seeds and more–that you can definitely find the perfect match for your taste buds!
Below is a spotlight on just a few of the many different types of vegan milks available, and while you can buy all of them from most supermarkets or specialty shops, they can all easily be made at home–no fancy appliances necessary!
1- Almond Milk
Almond milk is probably one of the most common vegan milks used due to its neutral yet slightly creamy flavor. Sweeteners such as maple syrup or dates can be added to it, as well as spices and flavorings such as vanilla or cinnamon. When making it at home, it can easily be personalized and you can adjust the creaminess based on how much water you use (same for all of the milks profiled). The only real prep that must be done in advance is soaking the almonds for about 6-8 hours (overnight is best). Directions: Soak one cup of raw almonds overnight. Discard the water and rinse the almonds well. Place them in a blender and add water–3-4 cups of water will keep it creamier, while 5-7 will make it more neutral. Blend until the almonds are pulverized and strain it. Keep refrigerated.
2- Oat Milk
Oat milk may be the easiest option to make at home, and just as is the case with almond milk, the creaminess level can easily be adjusted. It tends to be a little sweeter than plain almond milk, making it more suitable for coffee, tea or in baking and desserts. The prep time is one of the shortest from the plant-based milks featured in this list, and the blending time is significantly less as well. Directions: Soak a cup of oats for about 15-30 minutes. Rinse them well and add them to a blender with water (adjust amount for taste). Blend until the liquid is white and creamy but avoid blending too long since the oats will become sponge-y and harder to strain. Strain the liquid and keep refrigerated.
3- Hemp Milk
Hemp milk is usually considered to be an “acquired” taste due to a nutty overall flavor that definitely cannot be categorized as neutral. However, due to the abundance of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) in hemp seeds, it is a very nutritious option, and if you don’t mind the nutty taste, it is also quite delicious! Another plus is that no soaking is required with hemp seeds, eliminating any prep time. Directions: Put one cup of raw shelled hemp seeds in your blender and add water (adjusting for taste). Blend until the water becomes creamy and strain. Enjoy and keep refrigerated!
4- Coconut Milk
Making coconut milk includes a few more steps than the options listed above, but the creamy results are so worth it. It’s definitely not neutral in terms of taste, but the rich creamy vegan milk is perfect in soups, curries, puddings and so much more. While you can of course make coconut milk from scratch with coconuts, there is short cut that many people prefer made from dried coconut that eliminates the lengthy process of extracting and cleaning the coconut meat from the outer shell. It can also be cheaper this way as well. Directions: Place a cup of unsweetened shredded dried coconut in your blender. Add hot water (adjust amount according to taste) and let the mixture sit for about 5-10 minutes so the coconut softens. Blend until the water becomes very creamy and the dried coconut is pulverized. Strain and keep refrigerated!
5- Hazelnut Milk
Last but definitely not least is a specialty vegan milk option made from hazelnuts. You can correctly assume the resulting milk is not neutral as it carries a wonderful hint of hazelnut and is quite decadent due to its fat content, perfect for a homemade latte or cappuccino, desserts (especially vegan ice creams!) and for upgrading smoothies. Directions: Soak a cup of raw cashews overnight or for 6-8 hours. Add water according to taste and blend until the liquid is creamy and the hazelnuts are pulverized. Strain, enjoy and keep refrigerated.
While these five types of vegan milks–made from nuts, grains, seeds and fruit (or a fruit nut?)–are all delicious options, they are just some of the many types of plant-based milks available today. You can definitely find an option perfect for you, or mix and match different milks for different needs and recipes. When made at home, which all five listed above can be, you can keep the resulting milks healthy and free of any unnecessary preservatives and additives, too!
Get started on your plant-based journey by making one (or more!) of the recipes above. Enjoy!