The non-dairy milk industry isn’t just booming – it’s soaring sky-high above the dairy milk industry, which is declining progressively year after year. Like many of you, I started drinking non-dairy milk several years ago when I realized the detrimental effects of dairy milk. Unsweetened almond milk is now a regular staple in my home and I go through at least four cartons every single week. Whatever your choice of non-dairy milk is, whether it be coconut, almond, soy, flax, hemp, oat, rice, or cashew, there are many ways to enjoy non-dairy milk besides in your coffee, smoothies, or straight out of a glass. Want to make your own at home? Check out this recipe for step by step instructions to make your own homemade almond milk.
Then, try these delicious ways to use non-dairy milk that perhaps you haven’t considered yet. If you have tried these, then congrats – you’re officially as obsessed with non-dairy milk as I am!
1. Iced Coffee
One of my favorite ways to use unsweetened vanilla almond milk is to freeze it into ice cube trays to use in iced coffee. Once the cubes are frozen (about 12 hours later), you just need to take eight ounces of cooled, strongly brewed coffee, pour it in a glass, and add some vanilla stevia. Give it a stir and fill it with the almond milk ice cubes for a creamy, rich iced coffee that’s way better than using regular ice cubes, which end up watering down your coffee.
2. Blender Vegan Ice Cream
If you have a high-powered blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec, then congrats – you’re now on your way to making homemade ice cream just by using non-dairy milk.
Pour some of your favorite, non-dairy milk into ice cube trays. I suggest using about one tray’s worth for two servings of ice cream. Freeze the cubes and after at least 12 hours, come back and empty the cubes into your blender. Add some stevia or your choice of sweetener, some cinnamon, vanilla, and whatever else you want to flavor it with. A tablespoon of nut butter or even raw cacao nibs is nice too.
If you have the Vitamix, turn the machine on and use the tamper, aka “the plunger” and process the cubes until you have ice cream. If you have a Blendtec, add a little bit of water (about 1/4 cup), turn the machine on and press the ice cream/frozen dessert button. Let the cycle run its course and you now have your own homemade ice cream. Blendtec also has a new Twister Jar out that makes this a bit easier and it even makes nut butters and baby food.
3. To Make Vegan Ranch Dressing
It’s so simple to use non-dairy milk to make a mock vegan dressing. All you need to do take 1/2 cup unsweetened, plain non-dairy milk (I like plain almond and plain soy for dressings) and add that to a blender with a teaspoon of dried chives, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder, a pinch of sea salt, a 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, a teaspoon parsley, juice from one lemon, and two ounces of silken tofu, which thickens it up. If you don’t like tofu, you can also use 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum, a gluten-free baking agent that thickens recipes up in just seconds once blended.
4. To Make Vegan Desserts
Baking anytime soon? Omit the water in your recipe when making cupcakes or cakes and instead just use non-dairy milk. It will make your desserts more moist, they’ll have more flavor, and the added touch of sea salt in non-dairy milk might also help them keep better. Try these delicious vegan cupcakes or some of these awesome vegan cake recipes.
5. To Make Vegan Cultured Milk
Making vegan cultured (yogurt) milk is so simple to do, and it makes for a more creative way to get more probiotics into your day rather than just taking capsules by themselves. Take a carton of non-dairy milk and empty four cups of it into your blender. Add the contents from four to six capsules of your favorite probiotic, which you usually just unscrew towards the middle of each pill. Toss the outside capsule part away. Blend on low for at least one minute. This allows the probiotics to warm up just enough to start the culturing process but it won’t cause them to die off. If you want to add a sweetener, go ahead. I just usually add liquid stevia.
After you have the milk and probiotics blended, pour the contents into a large glass bowl. Cover the bowl with a large towel, place it in a completely cool oven and be sure not to open the oven or use the stovetop (do this overnight for ease of use). As it sits away from air, light, and heat, it will start to culture. The next day, 24 hours later, come back and take a look. It should have bubbles in it and smell like yogurt.
While this isn’t as thick as yogurt, it’s also not kefir since you’re not using kefir grains. I like to use it as a base for smoothies or use it to top vegan cereals with. You can also freeze it into ice cube trays and use those in your smoothies, too. If you’d like yours thicker, you can use some xanthan gum, chia, guar gum, agar agar, or coconut meat to thicken your cultured vegan “yogurt” milk as well.
6. To Make Vegan Chowder
Chowder offers this delicious, creamy flavor that you just don’t get in vegan soups or stews, as yummy as those options might be. Chowder is such a comforting meal that you can create in your own home with nothing more than a standard soup recipe, some non-dairy milk and your choice of flour. I use a tablespoon of coconut flour and three tablespoons of non-dairy milk per bowl of chowder in my recipes, but you can use any milk or flour that you like. Just add the contents in towards the end of cooking and give it a nice stir so it can thicken. Need recipes? Here’s a perfect corn chowder to try this summer!
7. To Make Vegan Creamsicles
Creamsicles are a favorite treat for many, and they’re so simple to make at home. Blend four cups of non-dairy milk with the juice from one orange, ten drops of orange-flavored liquid stevia, and pour the contents into popsicle molds. Freeze for at least eight hours and enjoy on a hot summer day. You can also use orange juice, but it will add a good bit of sugar so I usually omit it.
Don’t stop at vegan creamsicles either; try making other frozen desserts using non-dairy milk too! My other personal favorite frozen dessert using non-dairy milk is this mocha-flavored version of a Fudgesicle, vegan style.
I’ll admit I mainly use non-dairy milk in smoothies, coffee, tea, or in a cold glass with a sprinkle of cinnamon as a calming nightcap, but sometimes it’s nice to try something new.
What’s your favorite non-traditional way to use non-dairy milk?
Image source: Homemade Unsweetened Coconut Milk