I have tried many non-dairy milks over the years and found very few that meet all my overly-informed food phobia requirements, (organic, non-GMO, soy-free, etc). I wanted to reduce my intake of soy products since being a vegetarian often lends itself to an abundance of tofu, veggie meats, milks and products that contain soy protein/lecithin. The last two are commonly used as thickeners for products like ice cream and non-dairy cheese. But my latest aversion- wanting to avoid carrageenan- has left me with a surprisingly limited selection.
I found that carrageenan, a common seaweed/algae-based thickener, can cause inflammation in the stomach and bowel. While non-toxic outside of the body once the chemical process of digestion begins it can cause upset in many sensitive people. I used to wonder why I would experience a mild irritation in my stomach after having cereal or oatmeal with store bought almond or coconut milk and after some research, began to suspect carrageenan. So whats a veg foodie to do? Make my own! I also found a way to use the pulp left over which was another reason I had avoided the process of home-made milk before. Hope you enjoy these recipes!
1. Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender and puree.
2. Pour almond milk through strainer into a sealable jar.
3. Save almond pulp for fruit and nut bars!
(See recipe below) Will keep for 3-4 days.
1. Soak dates in hot water for 10-15 min
2. Puree dates with some of the water in a food processor until a paste forms.
3. scrape into bowl (rubber spatulas work great!) and add nuts, seeds, almond pulp and shredded coconut if using and mix well. *you can even spice these up with cardamom, cinnamon or cayenne).
4. Spread mixture about a quarter-inch thick square over parchment paper or dehydrator sheet cover and rack.
5. Dehydrate on medium setting for 4-6 hours until mixture begins to bind and harden*
6. Cut into bars and store in airtight container. You can separate bars with pieces of cut parchment or wax paper to reduce sticking. ?
7. Enjoy as a protein packed breakfast or snack!
* If you don’t have a dehydrator you can bake these at low temperature in the oven for a few hours.
Option: You can also use the water and meat of a young coconut to make a larger batch of almond milk. Or make a batch of almond milk and bars at the beginning of the week and then when you run out make raw coconut milk using just the coconut water and meat as there is no pulp to waste. You can add some filtered water to make a larger batch of coconut milk, making it as thick or thin as you like.