Plant-based milk is nothing new. The Ancient Romans would pound almonds in a mortar with a pestle and then water down the paste to make a refreshing drink. Modern technology and a rise in demand for healthy plant-based milk alternatives have seen a rise in both supply and demand for great-tasting products to use with coffee and in the kitchen.
Soft tasting and slightly nutty, almond milk is made with almonds soaked to soften them, then ground with water to produce a creamy white liquid. The solid matter removed, the resulting milk is fortified with minerals for health and mineral salt for flavour. Use in smoothies, nut-based dips, mix with miso and carrot for a vego dip. Also great for vegan baking.
A mainstay of Southeast Asian cuisine for centuries, coconut milk is made by pressing the grated flesh of coconut to extract the rich juice. Around 20% fat, high in phosphorous, iron and magnesium. Perfect for chia puddings, coconut rice and vegetable curry soups. Not to be confused with coconut water which is the juice inside young coconuts.
Cashew milk is made with crushed cashew nuts and filtered water but has a slightly sweeter taste and creamier mouthfeel than almond milk. The fatty types of fats found in cashews can help lower LDL cholesterol. Great in savoury dishes such as vegetable braises, pumpkin curry and used where dairy milk is called for.
Made with brown rice, which is milled, blended with water, sweetened with rice syrup, fortified and pasteurised, it has a rich, smooth texture and slightly nutty taste. Made commercially for over a century, it is the go-to milk for those sensitive to soy, gluten and tree nuts. Great for breakfast dishes from smoothies to pouring over fruit and cereal.
The Chinese have been making soy drinks since the 1300s. Soy milk is today made with soaked dried soybeans mixed with water, milled, cooked and pasteurised. With fewer calories than cow’s milk and equivalent vitamin A and D, it is very popular with coffee drinkers. While great in cooking as a cow’s milk substitute, soy milk’s unique flavour lends itself to tropical fruit smoothies.
The newest kid on the block, this super smooth and tasty milk is made using enzymes to break down the oats into an easily digestible product. Use full-fat oat milk in place of cow’s milk and don’t heat oat milk too quickly or it can thicken. It is surprisingly refreshing served on the rocks for breakfast with choc syrup or in a berry smoothie.
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