9 best vegan milks
In honour of World Plant Milk day on the 22 of August, here's our roundup of the best milk alternatives on the market
Whether you’re a full-time vegan, lactose intolerant or simply a flexitarian looking to make an easy daily switch, there’s a plethora of plant-based milk options to replace the regular cow’s milk many of us grew up with.
Over the last six years, sales of plant-based milks have doubled worldwide and there’s a number of reasons people are making the switch.
Dairy production contributes to climate change due to the high levels of greenhouse gas emissions it produces, so a plant-based milk is a better option for the planet. It’s also arguably better for humans, with many health benefits associated with reducing your dairy intake. Finally, it’s kinder to our cows and helps to reduce animal suffering.
Aside from this, plant milks are delicious. They can come in many different guises and aside from the ubiquitous almond milk, cashew and hazelnut varieties are also popular and widely available in most supermarkets.
Oat, rice, soy and coconut can also be used as the base ingredient, just look out for any added ingredients that you may not recognise. Although most taste great in smoothies and over breakfast cereal, some perform better in hot drinks than others – we’ve picked out some of our favourites for this below.
Many of these dairy free alternatives have the added benefit of being long life, meaning they don’t need to be refrigerated until they’ve been opened. So unlike their animal counterpart, you’ll always be able to keep a stand-by carton in the cupboard.
Check the percentage of nuts used where appropriate, the more used, the more protein you can expect per glass (and the creamier it will be!)
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M*lkman Pistachio & Sweet Chai M*lk, 500ml: £3.75, Farmdrop
The m*lkman started off delivering his artisan nut m*lks by bicycle, but before long the demand was so great that he teamed up with Farmdrop to utilise their fleet of electric delivery vans.
The product is still handmade in London and bottled in reusable glass – you can even give the empties back to your delivery driver if you like.
It was so delicious that we drank it straight, but it was also excellent over granola and in our smoothies – it certainly didn’t hang around long.
This particular flavour is made with a whopping 12 per cent pistachios, a little date & agave for sweetness, a punchy kick of spicy chai and black pepper and a touch of pink salt. Creamy deliciousness.
Rude Health Peanut Drink, 1 litre: £2.49, Rude Health
A super versatile little number, not only does this taste great in peanut butter and banana smoothies, it’s also a brilliant addition to curry recipes.
Made up of 8 per cent nuts which are naturally low in cholesterol, they’re also a great source of Vitamin E and magnesium among others.
It joins the Rude Health line up of dairy free drinks of which there are now 13 in total, all of them following their philosophy that you should understand what all the ingredients are in the bottle. In this case just organic peanuts and water.
Rebel Kitchen Whole Dairy Free Organic Mylk, 1 litre : £2.24, Waitrose
This dairy free alternative uses coconut cream as its base, with full-fat, semi-skimmed and skimmed varieties on offer.
You shop them just like the traditional milk aisle, with helpful blue, green and red tops denoting the fat content. We liked the creamier full-fat version in our morning porridge, whilst the skimmed mylk frothed up beautifully for our coffee.
Alongside the coconut cream you’ll find spring water, a touch of Himalayan salt, brown rice, cashews, and nutritional yeast. All three are 100 per cent organic and suitable for vegans, and taste great in smoothies.
Botanic Lab Plant Milk Coffee & Damiana 1 250ml: £2.50, Ocado
Botanic Lab have incorporated functional botanical ingredients with activated cashew milk for a healthy, yet powerful dairy free alternative.
This blend features coconut oil to help stave off hunger pangs and damiana, a Central American herb known for its aphrodisiac and anxiety relieving properties – the perfect thing to balance out the cold-brewed arabica coffee.
A great start to the day, allowing us to wake up without any of the dreaded coffee jitters.
The Paleo Foods Co. Unsweetened Almond Drink 1L: £2.99, Waitrose
Boasting one of the highest nut contents we tried in a long life milk (9 per cent), Paleo Foods Co.’s almond drink is also one of the thickest and creamiest, with an obvious nutty taste.
For that reason we think it works best over granola or in smoothies. You can expect a decent protein hit with this – each 250ml serving provides 5g of plant protein, ideal if you’re hitting the gym.
Aside from nuts, the only other ingredient you’ll find is spring water. That’s it. Just make sure you give it a real good shake before pouring.
Oatly Barista Edition 1L: £1.85, Waitrose
One of the biggest bug bears when it comes to switching to plant milk, is how it can react in hot drinks.
Thankfully Swedish brand Oatly have designed a very clever Barista Edition, designed to froth up just like regular milk, so you don’t have to forfeit your beloved lattes any longer.
It’s made from Swedish oats (apparently they are the crème de la crème of the oat world!) so you can expect a good dose of fibre (great for your heart and digestion), and protein whilst keeping everything nice and low in saturated fat.
Califia Farms Toasted Oats N’ Almond Almond Milk, 750ml: £2.40, Sainsburys
With a whopping 50 per cent more calcium than cow’s milk and with no added sugar, Californian brand Califia is already super popular in the US, with it only recently making its way to UK shores.
The sunshine state is famously responsible for producing 80 per cent of the worlds almonds, so it makes sense they’d make a good almond milk too.
They use blanched almonds, rather than roasted, which results in the ultra-creamy texture. The whole range is soy-free, gluten free, kosher and vegan and this flavour has just 30 calories per serving. It didn’t curdle in our tea either.
Plenish Cashew M*lk, 1L: £2.50, Plenish
Winner of a Great Taste Award 2017, this creamy cashew drink tastes fantastic and is a natural source of plant protein without any of the nasties, making it a great option for post-gym smoothies.
It uses just three organic ingredients – cashews, filtered water and salt – which is better for you, and the environment.
Cashews are a particularly good source of copper, which will protect your cells. Keeping you nice and healthy from the inside out.
Innocent Almond Dairy Free 750ml: £1.75, Waitrose
Well known for their super cute smoothie bottles (who doesn’t love the knitted hats!), Innocent have turned their hands to dairy free milk alternatives.
There’s an oat drink and a hazelnut version, but almond gets our vote, made of three ingredients – nuts, spring water and a pinch of sea salt.
The brand is committed to sourcing sustainable ingredients and 10 per cent of profits go to their charity which tackles hunger around the world.
Every bottle they make is 100 per cent recyclable so they encourage you to rinse and dispose of it accordingly.
The Verdict: Best plant free milks
We were thoroughly won over by the delicious and unique, handmade nut m*lks we tried from the m*lkman.
However if you can’t get your hands on this, or want your milk to last a little longer, Rude Health have a really fab range of dairy free drinks which cover all basis.
Stacey Smith is the founder of food & drink website Crummbs
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