Milking It… Dairy-Free
Made of nuts or seeds or even pea protein, dairy-free milk alternatives are widely available in the store, giving you choices for smoothies, recipes or drinking straight from a glass. Of course, non-dairy alternatives are great for people who eat a vegan diet or have a dairy allergy or sensitivity. With so many flavors and textures – plus nutrition benefits – they are also worth trying for everyone, to change up your cooking, coffee or cereal. Unsweetened versions are generally lower in natural sugars and calories than dairy milk. Find these alternatives in the dairy aisle, as well as in shelf-stable boxes in the grocery aisle, for easy travel and storage. Here is a guide to some popular non-dairy milks to try and suggestions on how to use them:
With a creamy texture and nutty flavor, almond milk is great for use in cooking and baking, as well as in coffee or cereal. Check out our DIY Almond Milk guide on page 35 to make it yourself in a blender with almonds and water, or find ready-made options in the store to save time. High in vitamin E and fortified with other key nutrients, unsweetened almond milk – from Califia Farms, Blue Diamond and others – is typically lower in calories than dairy milk. Blend it into savory dishes, such as mashed cauliflower or soup. Add a sweetened, vanilla-flavored version to chocolate cake, or use the Califia Farms Coconut Almond Milk for a rich chocolate
sauce to drizzle over fruit.
Coconut milk is made by grating the flesh of a coconut and soaking it in hot water. After skimming off the coconut cream that rises to the top, the liquid that remains – the coconut milk – is squeezed through a cheesecloth. Coconut milk is higher in good fats and rich in B vitamins and minerals. Also find lower-fat, “lite” varieties for your recipes, such as Thai Kitchen Lite Coconut Milk in a can, great for curries and soups. For coconut milk whipped cream, take a can of the full-fat version and put it in the refrigerator. Then whip the solidified cream at the top!
Thinner in consistency than most dairy-free milks, rice milk has a milder, sweeter flavor than most nut or seed milks. Most rice milks are fortified with calcium, as well as vitamins and minerals. It’s a good substitute for low-fat baking, such as in pancakes or muffins. However, it’s not creamy enough on its own to use in most sauces.