As people become more aware of the impact of their food intake on the environment and their own personal health, they’re turning away from dairy products in favor of alternatives. While no one can claim that almond milk tastes exactly like regular milk, improvements are being made all the time for these items to more closely resemble their original source. Read on to find out what’s next in alternative dairy products.
Cashew milk: Move over, almond milk – there’s a new nut milk on the market, and it’s sure to be an even bigger hit. Cashew milk tastes very similar to almond milk, but has a much creamier consistency that puts it on par with cow’s milk. Nutritionally, it also has slightly fewer calories. The most important factor is choosing an unsweetened cashew milk, to avoid the unnecessary addition of sugar.
Cashew cheese: Cashews don’t just make a great milk alternative. It turns out that, when soaked, pureed, and combined with nutritional yeast, cashews can become a pretty delicious dairy-free cheese sauce. The addition of nutritional yeast is key: it adds a nutty, savory flavor that, well, makes it taste more like real cheese. Since cashews contain healthy fats and nutritional yeast boasts tons of vitamins and minerals, cashew cheese is something you can actually feel good about eating. (Hint: it’s the perfect sauce for healthified and vegan mac ‘n cheese!)
Yellow pea milk: As people become more and more concerned about the environmental impact of nut milks (which tend to require a lot of water to produce in regions like California, which are already experience drought), they’re turning to different milk alternatives. One that’s new to the market? Yellow pea milk, pioneered by the company Ripple. Much like cashew milk, it’s creamier than almond milk. Furthermore, it packs a whopping eight grams of protein per serving – perfect for vegans looking to up their protein intake.
Tofu cheese: While soy products have become somewhat controversial in the vegan community, there’s no denying that tofu is a blank slate that’s ideal for just about any kind of dairy-free cooking. If you’re ditching dairy but love feta cheese, try tofu cheese instead. All you have to do is squeeze the excess liquid out of the tofu, cube it up, and marinate it in your favorite extra virgin olive oil, herbs, and spices. Keep in mind that it does require quite a bit of salt to become flavorful (miso is another great marinade for tofu cheese). It may sound silly, but this simple preparation really does taste a whole lot like feta cheese.
Flax milk: Flax milk is pretty new to the alternative dairy scene, and while it doesn’t offer anything in the way of protein, it is an extremely low calorie way to enjoy milk. It’s a good alternative to water in protein shakes, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. It’s also a great option for people with allergies, as it’s free of the top eight most common allergens (including nuts, soy, and gluten).
Hemp milk: Hemp milk is not very popular in the US because it is still illegal to grow hemp seeds in this country. However, you can find hemp milk (or hemp seeds, if you’d like to make your own) that has been imported from Canada. While it does make it slightly more expensive than most options on this list, its nutritional value cannot be denied. It contains four grams of protein per serving, plus vitamins A, E, D, and iron. It’s also a little thicker than most other alternative milks, so you’ll feel more like you’re drinking real milk.