I’ve only ever heard of almond milk once when I went to Starbucks. The barista asked if I wanted fresh milk, soy milk or almond milk. I had no idea what almond milk tasted like (if it would change the taste of my hazelnut hot chocolate and I didn’t particularly like the idea of soy milk in my hot drinks, so I stuck with fresh milk.
That was a few years ago.
Almond Milk in My Smoothies
These days, I make my smoothies and, occasionally, hot chocolate that I painstakingly prepare in a metal pot on the induction cooktop with almond milk. Yup, almond milk. You read that right. The very same almond milk that I rejected all those years ago at Starbucks.
The thing about almond milk that people didn’t tell me about is how not very almond-y or nutty it tastes like. As in, it is not nutty like peanut butter. It won’t change the taste of a beverage. But it does help when your stomach sometimes pretends it’s lactose intolerant without giving you advanced notice. No, I’m not lactose intolerant but sometimes there is a slight chance that my guts would act up, for the sake of it.
That’s when I’d switch to almond milk. There are other types of non-dairy milks out there besides almond and soy, like oat milk, rice milk, pea milk, quinoa milk, and some other nut milks like macadamia and cashew. Have you tried them all? I haven’t but oat milk does sound interesting. Then again, my option of using almond milk for smoothies is so I can save the fresh milk for my decaf days and hot Milo nights.
Almond Milk in My Instant Pasta
Recently, I decided to make instant pasta with almond milk instead of fresh milk. Here’s what happened — the pasta actually tasted better! I didn’t think my taste buds were lethal enough to pick up the nutty hint but it did feel and taste somewhat creamier. Oh, and it didn’t send me to the toilet!
This packet of sour cream and chives flavoured pasta called for 300 ml of fresh milk but I decided to swap it for the almond milk and at first, I thought, “Oh hell what have I done? Am I going to finish the whole thing?” An empty bowl later, I thought, “Oh hell, I am so going to make that again!!” I even added some chicken into the pasta gravy so while stirring, the chicken cooked about the same time as the pasta.
Almond milk and all the other substitute milks are great cooking options if you want to use them as a creamy base for your pastas. It’s protein-rich and comparable to dairy milks in terms of calories and nutritional value. Not to mention, it’s also increasingly popular for those trying to cut back or eliminate dairy consumption altogether. It being popular also means that you don’t have to search high and low in supermarkets for it.
Just remember to shake the carton of almond milk before using it. Over time, especially if the milk has sat on a shelf at a supermarket, solids in the almond milk (sediment from the almonds themselves) may begin to settle. The sediments will combine during the cooking process but shaking the milk first will make it easier to pour.