Alternative milk isn't just on the fringes anymore. With more and more people leaning toward plant based lifestyles, non-dairy has become a mainstay on grocery store shelves and is an essential item on cafe menus. I recently wrote a piece about my frustration with the perception that all alternative milks are healthy—they are not. Many store bought milks contain thickening and gelling agents known as hydrocolloids. These additives help give nut, seed, or grain based milks a texture and mouth feel similar to cow's milk, however some of them (like carrageenan) are suspected carcinogens, others have been associated with damaging our intestinal linings and leading to leaky guts and systemic inflammation. In other words, some of these seemingly healthy non-dairy milks could, in fact, be making us sick.
So, if most of what we are drinking in cafes and picking up at the market isn't great for us, what is the alternative to these alternative milks? As with all processed foods, it's usually better to skip them in favor of something wholesome that's made fresh in-house or that we make ourselves—which brings me to this recipe. Unlike other labor intensive nut milk recipes (of which I've shared a few!), there's no soaking, straining, or pulp waste. This recipe is so, so easy that it almost feels ridiculous to dedicate a whole post to it—however, I am also so thrilled about it's simplicity that I want to shout it from the rooftops! Everyone should know they can have fresh and delicious nut milk in an instant!
The key ingredient in this alternative milk is nut butter. Many nut butters contain additional oils and sweeteners, however I have had the most success using store bought nut butters which only contain one ingredient—nuts. Naturally, roasted nuts make for a richer or more flavorful milk than raw. The almond butter, cashew butter, and pecan-peanut butter pictured here came out of a pre-packaged jar, however I've also made many delicious milks out of the nuts I've freshly ground at the machine in the health food store. You also have the option of making your own nut butter, too.
This alternative milk is delightful splashed in cold brew and doesn't separate like other nut milks when added to hot tea or coffee. For the sake of this post I really wanted to show that it can pair with espresso and steams shockingly well for latte art. I also think it's important to note that I am not the best latte artist and am working with a less than ideal steam wand—imagine what this simple milk could look like in the hands of a pro?!
In the recipe I give options to add sweeteners and salt to taste but the milk you are looking at is only nut butter and filtered water. I try to leave out sweeteners when I can, and although I found that the addition of salt balanced the flavor a bit, the salted milks don't seem to steam as well for me.
Quick & Easy Alternative Milk ( V + GF )
makes 3 cups of alternative milk
- 3 Tablespoons Almond, Peanut, Pecan or Cashew Butter
- 3 cups of Filtered Water
- Sweetener to taste: dates or maple syrup *optional
- Pinch of salt *optional
- Add nut butter and water to a high speed blender.
- Blend on high for 1-2 minutes or until creamy.
- Store in a jar in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Shake before enjoying!
So there you have it: quick, easy, convenient, and healthful—it doesn't get much better than that! I definitely recommend trying out different nut or seed butters to see which milks suit your palate and pair best with the coffee you are drinking. Cheers!
"You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces—just good food from fresh ingredients."
- Julia Child