You might have noticed that not a single green smoothie recipe on my website contains dairy milk. Not a one!
There’s a reason for that.
I prefer to keep dairy out of my diet. I especially keep it out of my green smoothies for a few reasons:
- Dairy adds unnecessary calories – especially yogurt.
- Dairy and acidic fruits (citrus, pineapple, kiwifruit) don’t mix well.
- I just feel better and healthier when I am dairy-free.
Plant-based milks tend to be low in calories with one cup providing as little as 60 calories depending on what the milk is made from.
So dairy has no place in my green smoothies.
Plus, it’s fun and delicious to make your own nut and seed milks, and if you have a high-speed blender (like a Vitamix or Blendtec), then making your own nut milks are a breeze!
Yes, I COULD just buy my own almond milk from the store. Sure. But while store-bought is much more convenient, it isn’t as fresh, contains questionable additives, and I like to decide what gets put in my nut milks!
Store-bought has its downsides.
Most commercially-available plant milks contain additives. It is not uncommon for sweeteners to be added, and you don’t want added sugars in your green smoothies!
Carrageenan is another additive that has been the focus of controversy lately. Some natural health websites portray this naturally-sourced additive as a dangerous chemical.
The current, peer-reviewed scientific literature shows that carageenan, the type used as a food additive, is safe and not of concern to human health.
The National Organic Standards Board voted recently (November 2016) to remove carageenan from the list of approved additives for foods labeled “organic”. If you are concerned, read labels and stick with organic plant milks.
Skip The Additives & Make Your Own Nut Milks!
I LOVE making my green smoothies with almond milk. And cashew milk. And hazelnut milk. And pistachio milk. The list goes on.
When I first heard of people making their own almond milk, I was a little intimidated. I thought it was going to be expensive and be a big hassle. And messy.
But it’s really not a big deal. You just have to remember three things:
1) Soak Your Nuts.
In order to make nut milks, especially with hard nuts like almonds, you need to soak the nuts in cold water for at least 8 hours, or up to 24 hours.
Do this in a covered bowl in the refrigerator (so your nuts don’t get funky!).
Soaking nuts will help with digestion. Nuts such as almonds have tannic acid and an enzyme inhibitor that is released when soaked.
Be sure to pour out the soak water, rinse the nuts, and then you’re ready to go.
2. Blend On High For At Least 50 Seconds
Now, your blending time may vary. In my Vitamix, I can get a good nut milk in about 50 seconds on high. If you have a less powerful blender, then you may need to blend for a couple minutes.
3. Strain It!
You gotta strain your nut milk – especially if you plan to drink it straight. This is easy to do using an inexpensive nut milk bag, a sieve, or even a simple pasta colander (if it’s a wire screen mesh).
How To Make Almond Milk
- 1 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight
- 32 to 40 ounces of water
- 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 to 5 dates, soaked for 20 minutes (this is optional, I don’t use sweeteners, but some people do.)
Step 1: Place the almonds in a large bowl and fill the bowl with water until the almonds are covered. Cover with a towel and let sit in a cool place for about 24 hours. You can soak them in the refrigerator to avoid risk of fermentation.
After the almonds are done soaking, they should be plump. Pour out the water the almonds were soaking in and rinse them with fresh water.
Step 2: Place the almonds in your blender with about 4 to 5 cups of water. Add the vanilla and dates if you are using them. I recommend using a high-speed blender when making this recipe.
Blend on high for about 30 seconds or until you don’t have any more large date or almond pieces.
After you are done blending, you’ll have a thick white liquid with lot of froth on top.
Step 3: Strain the almond milk through a bag strainer, or through a fine sieve, into your original bowl or another large container. A nut milk bag will allow you to get more of the milk, but it may be slightly messier.
If you are going to use a sieve, use a spoon to scrap the bottom of the sieve to remove built-up almond pulp. Once all of the almond milk has been drained, remove the pulp before adding more milk to be strained. You can use a large spoon to press the almond pulp into the sieve and get more of the milk.
The finished product will yield about 32 to 40 ounces of fresh almond milk. Store in the refrigerator and try to use within a week. You will need to stir the almond milk every time you use it, since it does settle. Use as a liquid in smoothies or drink it straight. Use it as you would regular milk.
What To Do With The Almond Pulp
How you’ll have a bunch of leftover almond pulp.
Some people use it for a face scrub. Others incorporate it into recipes. Some add a couple tablespoons to their green smoothies.
More Nut Milk Recipes
Now that you realize just how easy it is to make your own almond milk at home using a blender, you’ll want to make more.
To Make Cashew Milk…
Use one cup raw cashews (soaked in water for one hour first) to 6 cups water. Blend for 50 seconds, longer if you don’t have a Vitamix or Blendtec blender. Approximately 90 calories per cup.
To Make Coconut Milk…
Use 2 cups organic, UNSWEETENED, shredded coconut (soaked in water for 2 hours) with 4 cups water and 1-2 medjool dates. Blend on high for 50 seconds (or longer, if needed). Strain through a nut milk bag or fine sieve.
To Make Pumpkin Seed Milk…
Use 2 cups pumpkin seeds and “guts” from freshly carved pumpkin. Blend with 4 cups of water, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, and 2 dates (optional) for 50 seconds or longer for desired consistency. Strain through a nut milk bag or fine sieve.
To Make Hazelnut Milk…
Soak 1 cup of raw (untoasted) hazelnuts in water for 24 hours in the refrigerator. Blend with 4-5 cups of water and 2-3 dates (optional, to sweeten).
Blend on high for 50 seconds (longer, if needed), and then strain through a nut milk bag or fine sieve.
To Make Brazil Nut Milk…
Soak 1 cup raw Brazil nuts for 24 hours (covered, in the refrigerator). Then blend with 4-5 cups of water and 3-5 dates (to sweeten). Blend on high for 50 seconds and then strain through a nut milk bag or fine sieve.
To Make Pistachio Nut Milk…
Soak one cup of pistachios in water for at least five hours. Then blend with 4 cups of water on high for 50 seconds. Strain through a nut milk bag or fine sieve.