This year is the year of oat milk. While almond, coconut, and soy have dominated both the kitchen and coffee scene for years as the go-to milk alternatives, this creamy and incredibly nutritious option has officially dethroned all others. While most of the hype around oat milk stems from its use at your local coffee shop, it’s also a great non-dairy alternative to use in the kitchen. From your morning cereal to cooking to baking, it can truly be a game changer!
So, what’s up with the hype? What is this new milk, why is it so popular, and how can you start using it?
What is oat milk?
Oat milk, in its traditional forms, is as the name implies a combination of oats and water. The beverage first originated in the Nordic culture around 25 years ago via the company Oatly based out of Malmo, Sweden. When first introduced, oat milk was a simple pulverized blend of soaked oats and water, yet it is now widely available across the globe in a variety of forms and makes.
Of course, nutritional content, flavor, and texture all change depending on the types of oats used. After soaking the makers preferred oats in a one to a two-part mixture with water, the porridge-like substance is the pulverized smooth and then strained via a strainer or cheesecloth.
Nutritional Value of Oat Milk
While there are many varieties of oat milk, most all share a baseline of similar nutrition with one cup of oat milk offering 36 percent of the daily recommended calcium and 10 percent of the daily recommended vitamin A. Oat milk is also great for vegetarians and vegans due to its high iron levels offering 10 percent of the daily recommended amount. Since many strictly plant-based eaters suffer from iron deficiencies, such as anemia, increasing iron intake on a daily basis is incredibly important.
Yet another nutritional benefit of oat milk is it’s low-fat and zero cholesterol content. While oat offers 2.5 grams of healthy fats, it is completely void of unhealthy saturated fats. On top of that, since oat milk is made from grain, it has no cholesterol!
Why is it so popular?
As oat milk gains popularity across the country, companies clamber to offer the tastiest, most nutritious, and competitively priced option for the consumer. Yet, let’s take a step back. Why is oat milk in such high demand?
When it comes to individuals who are either lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy products, oat milk is sincerely one of the closest resembling milk to cow’s milk. Oat milk has a full-bodied and yet somehow less imposing flavor than other non-dairy milk alternatives, such as almond, soy, and coconut. And it does this all while providing a creamier, thicker texture for baking and cooking, frothier lattes and cappuccinos, and an excellent source of nutrition without adding unwanted calories. While other alternatives — almond, soy, coconut, and rice milk — will get the job done, it gets the job done plus so much more!
Yet, all you have to do is take a look at the New York Times article The Humble Ascent of Oat Milk to truly understand the breadth of impact this non-dairy alternative has made. The article refers to the grandfather oat milk company Oatly to show the massive popularity shift which went from 10 to 1,000 locations in one year.
Caramel Sauce/One Green Planet
Now we know what it is, where it comes from, and why it’s popular. So, how do we integrate into our diet? Oat milk is incredibly diverse, which means there are a plethora of options when it comes to using it at home. From a basic milk alternative for your morning coffee and cereal to more complex uses such as baking and cooking, try your hand at making and using this new milk every day!
Simple Vanilla Oat Milk/One Green Planet
The great thing about plant-based milk alternatives is that you can make them on your own at home! This goes for oat milk as well. On top of that, when you make your own oaty milk there’s the option to get creative such as this easy and quick recipe for Simple Vanilla Oat Milk provided by Kelly Williams.
All you need is 1/2 cup of rolled oats, 2 cups of water, 1 teaspoon of maple syrup, and seeds from a vanilla bean. Pulse the dry oats to break them into smaller pieces, add the water and let soak, and then blend again until completely pureed or until you don’t see any more clumps. Using a filter, such as a cheese or a nut milk bag, strain your mixture into a bowl making sure to squeeze out all of that yummy milk. Return the liquid to the blender, add the remaining ingredients of syrup and vanilla bean seeds, pulse and let sit in the fridge.
Triple Coconut Cream Pie With Graham Cracker Crust/One Green Planet
Cow’s milk is a staple in most traditional baking, yet those opposed to dairy milk or unable to consume dairy have to turn to the provided alternatives. This is where oat milk truly shines! Due to its healthy fat and carbohydrate content, as well as its naturally thick and frothy texture, this milk is an excellent substitute.
Try substituting your store bought or homemade oat milk for popular milk alternatives such this coconut milk-based Triple Coconut Cream Pie With Graham Cracker Crust and Coconut Tart With Chia Cherry Jam, or this almond milk-based Rich Chocolate Fudge Cake, or even these rice milk-based Blender Brownies With Chocolate Avocado Frosting.
Pasta in Creamy Garlic Mushroom Sauce/One Green Planet
Oat milk plays the same role in cooking as it does in baking. For those creamy sauces, cheesy dishes, and frothy whips, oat milk is a great substitute. Instead of using the popular choice of full-fat coconut milk, which is high in saturated fats, try using oat milk instead. Here are a few recipes to experiment with your oat milk substitute: Pasta in Creamy Garlic Mushroom Sauce, Moussaka Burger With Bechamel Cheese Sauce, Mashed Cauliflower Green Bean Casserole, or this Cheesy Mac n Yeast.
For a plethora of diverse, tasty, and plant-based recipes to try your oat milk in, we highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
Lead image source: Shutterstock
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