When I first switched over to a vegan/ plant based diet, the easiest thing, hands down, to give up was milk. I have never loved milk growing up, being scarred after drinking a few too many glasses of too warm milk left out on the table after watching “America’s Funniest Home Videos” on a Sunday night with my mom and dad (specific, I know, but it was a bad memory of warm milk, blegh!). I automatically switched over to almond milk and loved that I didn’t cringe at the thought of drinking the last bits from the cereal bowl Almond milk was a total game changer for me!
Now that I’ve been riding the almond milk train for a couple of years, I also started making my own non-dairy milks. Partly for cost savings, and partly out of my deep rooted need to make any and everything homemade. My first triall into making my own milk started with Ashley’s almond milk recipe (the best one there is out there, IMO, plus she tells you what to do with the pulp, hooray!). Then I tried Kate’s cashew milk recipe, which was another game changer! I loved that it was creamy and milky, but I also didn’t have any leftover pulp, the holy grail. The only downside is that I was chugging it down like nobody’s business and I needed to try out a few other types of milk to vary my milk making skills.
There are a few things you absolutely need if you are going to venture into the world of homemade milks. A nut milk bag, which sounds gross, but is actually one of my favorite and most used kitchen tools. It lets you juice without a juicer (squeeze the juice out after blending fruits and veggies, voila!) and make non dairy milk in minutes. I got mine at Whole Foods, but I’m sure they are available elsewhere as well. The second thing you need is a blender. I personally don’t have one of the fancy pants Vita Mixes out there, and my regular ol’ blender worked just fine for making these.
Enough chatting, let’s make some milk! The top two photos are from cashew milk, my favorite homemade vegan milk to this day. The basic formula is soak one cup of cashews in 2 cups water overnight, drain and blend with 2 1/2 cups of water and a bit of vanilla and cinnamon. Easy! Again, the best part about cashew milk is the absence of leftover pulp. Sometimes it does get a bit thick on the bottom, so you need to shake it up or add a bit of water if it becomes too creamy. Homemade cashew milk is wonderful for baking and when you need something heavy cream like for recipes.
The second milk is pistachio milk, which was the one I was most skeptical about. I was skipping around 101 Cookbooks the other day and was sucked into a post Heidi wrote about juicing. I was mainly interested in reading that she experimented in juicing pistachios, which never occurred to me as being a nut to make milk. As you can see in the picture above, the milk does have a bit of green tinge to it, but it actually ended up being tasty. I added a tablespoon of agave nectar before blending the nuts into milk to offset the saltiness of the pistachios, but it’s all personal preference! I haven’t used pistachio milk in baking or cooking yet, but I’ll update the post if I come upon any findings.
Lastly, the milk that was I was most excited about was oat milk. I read and re-read Angela’s post on oat milk and thought it had to be a cheap, easy way to fill in the spaces between my cashew and almond milk cravings. The more I read, the more I realized that pat milk can turn into a slimy, gross mess, if you aren’t careful. The key to the pat milk is rinsing the oats after soaking and filtering thoroughly. As you can see a few pictures up, the milk does separate when left in the fridge, but shake it up and it’s all good to go for your morning cereal. I have a feeling this will be the milk I use up first, simply because I’m a tad afraid it will turn into goo if it’s let go too long. It is the milk which too the shortest amount of time, soaking for 20 minutes as opposed to overnight. Homemade oat milk seems to be best in smoothies and shakes, especially when other textures are involved. Would I make oat milk all the time? Probably not. But it’s a great alternative when I need milk in a pinch!
Overall, I’m going to keep on keeping on the homemade vegan milk train, especially if I think ahead and soak my nuts in time (ha!) to make a new batch once I am out. Now, what am I going to do with all of this leftover non-dairy milk? Ice cream! Stay tuned friends.
- Oat Milk:
- 1 cup oats, soaked for 20 min
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- pinch of cinnamon (more to taste)
- Pistachio Milk:
- 1 cup pistachios, soaked for at least 4 hours
- 2 cups water
- 1-2 tablespoons agave nectar
- Cashew Milk:
- 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least for 4 hours
- 2½ cups water
- 1 tablespoon agave necatr
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For each milk: Soak nuts or oats for specified time. Drain, rinse and add to blender with 2 cups of water, sweetener and spices or vanilla extract. Blend on high for 30 seconds to 60 seconds, or until smooth. Drain through but milk bag (except for cashew milk) and store in refrigerator for up to 5 days.