With so many delicious plant based alternatives to cow’s milk you are really spoilt for choice. You needn’t worry about lacking calcium or minerals in your diet because vegetable based milks are brimming with goodness! The trick is to mix it up, alternating between different cereals, nuts and seeds. In this post you will learn how to make vegan milk using a basic method with a reusable cloth bag. In addition you will discover 7 delicious variations that you can easily adapt to suit your taste and ingredients. You’ll soon be enjoying flavours you never imagined possible, while greatly varying your intake of essential vitamins and minerals.
What are the benefits of making homemade vegan milk?
There are three significant benefits to making your own plant based alternatives for milk: Price, quality and waste reduction. It’s also very satisfying to make your own milk as well!
1. It’s a lot cheaper
Firstly it is much cheaper, for example you can make a litre of your own soya milk for around 50 cents or 40p. Nut milks like almond milk are more expensive at about €2/ £1.60 per litre because almonds are quite an expensive nut. This is still better value than an industrially processed almond milk considering the raw goodness and the fact that you can recycle your pulp.
2. The quality is way better
The second advantage of making your own vegetable milk is the quality of the ingredients and the freshness. You control exactly what goes in. You can buy fresh from local stores and you can buy organic. Buying organic is especially important in the case of soya beans to avoid GM crops from far away plantations that fuel deforestation.
3. You will avoid a lot of waste
Finally, you can avoid a ton of waste by buying and storing the ingredients using your own produce bags and containers . Before we started making our own milks we checked the recycling bin and realized we were disposing of about 5 cartons per week. That’s a staggering 260 per year!
It’s a fun activity!
We find it fun to mix up different ingredients and, like all DIY nerds out there, we find it really satisfying to experience the variety of milks as a result of our own efforts!
What are the main ingredients for making homemade vegan milk?
For any plant based drink you need to start with around litre of water (we sometimes add a little more to ensure we get 1 litre of finished milk). Then you chose your main ingredient such as soya beans, almonds, hazelnuts, oats, rice, flaxseed or tiger nuts.
7 delicious zero waste vegan milk recipes
1. Almond milk
100g of almonds soaked overnight, with 1 litre of water. Blend in cinnamon, a large date and a little lemon or orange peel.
2. Soya milk
100g of organic soya beans soaked for 8 hours per litre of water. Add 3cm of vanilla bean for flavour and 2 teaspoons of maple syrup for sweetness. After blending we recommend heating for 15 mins on a medium heat in a saucepan to aid digestion.
3. Hazelnut milk
100g of hazelnuts soaked for 8 hours per litre of water. Blend in a date or a couple of figs for sweetness and a teaspoon of cocoa powder for pure indulgence.
4. Oat milk
Soak 50g of whole oats overnight. For this recipe you need to blend with 1 litre of hot water at about 80º. This is really important to avoid a slimy texture. Blend for 1 minute with 1/2 a liter of water and your favourite complimentary ingredients like root ginger, green cardamom, cinnamon or vanilla. Finally add the rest of the water and blend again for a few seconds.
5. Rice milk
Rice milk is great on it’s own or with a handful of hazelnuts for extra flavour and awesomeness. Take 100g of brown rice and blend with 1 litre of hot water just off the boil. Blending in a teaspoon of ground cinnamon or nutmeg and little lemon peel is a real classic. Try adding pear for a real treat.
6. Tiger nut milk – “Horchata de chufas”
Tigernut milk ( Horchate de chufas in Spanish) is a mediterranean favourite. One of the most ancient tubers on the planet tiger nuts are a superfood.
Soak 200g of tiger nuts overnight. Then rinse and blend for 2 minutes with 1 litre of water, a few large dates and a teaspoon of ground cinnamon. After blending let it stand for 10 minutes to mash before filtering. Then leave in the fridge for 8 hours and shake well before consuming.
7. Flaxseed milk
Soak 40g of flaxseed for 8 hours. Discard the water and rinse well as they are very slimy. Then blend with 1 litre of water at room temperature together with 3cm of vanilla bean. Flaxseed milk has quite a grassy flavour so you may want to sweeten with dates, maple syrup or cane sugar.
What complimentary ingredients can I use to make almond milk?
Complimentary ingredients are used to sweeten, add extra flavour and sometimes add extra calcium in the case of sesame seeds. We mostly use 1 large date with the stone removed, a little bit of lemon peel, a pinch of sea salt and sometimes a handful of hazelnuts which are amazing with rice or oats. We often also add 3cm of vanilla bean or a similar size piece of cinnamon stick. If you fancy a little more of a kick try adding a little piece of root ginger and a green cardamom pod or two. Give it a try and let us know what you think in the comments below.
What equipment do you need to make homemade vegan milk?
You can buy specific equipment such as the Vegan Milker which, like Verdonce bags is also made in Spain. We began making our milk with a food processor and a Verdonce produce bag and then upgraded to a Vegan Milker. You can also use muslin cloth or cheesecloth as a low cost alternative for filtering. Of course we also use our Verdone bags to shop locally for our ingredients to make this truly zero waste vegan milk. For storage we use glass mason jars for our ingredients and we are reusing some lovely glass bottles from some bought tiger nut milk.
How long does homemade vegan milk last in the fridge?
If you filter it well, it can last 3-5 days. It does depend a little on the ingredients; soya milk lasts the longest. It’s important to keep refrigerated in an airtight glass bottle. Be sure to make sure that your complimentary ingredients are as fresh as possible so as not to spoil your drink.
Zero waste shopping tips
We recommend buying locally and wherever possible organic from produce from local sources. This is especially important in the case of soya beans. Look for organic beans from Spain! Remember to take your cloth produce bags or your mason jars to have them filled directly. For shopping tips see our article How to do your grocery shopping plastic free.
Recycling the pulp
This recipe is truly zero waste and complEAT because you can use the leftover pulp in so many ways. Our favourite is to add it to cake mixture to make an amazing vegan banana and almond loaf or a delicious soya sponge. You can also add spread on toast, put in salads, add to quinoa or use as a base for homemade nutella in the case of hazelnuts.
Zero waste almond milk
- Food processor or blender
- Verdonce reusable cloth bag or muslin cloth
- Measuring jug
- Glass bottle or jar for storage
- 100 g almonds uncooked and unsalted. Best with skins still on
- 1 ltr water you can add a little extra to make sure you end up with 1 litre
- 1 large date remove the stone
- 3 cm vanilla bean
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder You can also use a small cinnamon stick
- 1 small piece lemon peel Wash first. We recommend organic lemons. Orange peel is really great too!
- 1 pinch sea salt optional
- Measure out 100g of almonds (or soya beans) and soak overnight in water
- Drain the almonds and add them to the litre of water and add the complimentary ingredients
- Blend of around 1 minute in a food processor or hand blender. You should see a froth on top and a lovely looking milk emulsion
- Pour into your cloth bag or muslin cloth over a glass bowl. In the case of the Verdonce bag we recommend tying it to stop the emulsion coming out over the top as you squeeze
- Gently squeeze the emulsion through the bag and into the bowl
- Decant the milk from the bowl into a glass bottle or jar and keep in the fridge
What’s your favourite?
We hope to have provided you with some inspiration for some delicious alternatives to cow’s milk. What’s your favourite? We’d love to hear about your recipes and any tips or tricks you’d like to share in the comments below.