I remember my first taste of almond milk. Clutching an enormous glass between unsteady fingers, I took a tentative sip of the pale liquid … and loved it. Did I mention this event took place six months ago?
Despite being a registered dietitian, I’ve been slow to try foods and beverages with which I did not grow up. For example, I baked vegan scones (the recipe is below) for the first time only a few months ago. Since then, I’ve experimented often with gluten-free and vegan cooking and baking. After all, I’d like to know what I’m talking about with my vegan clients.
People choose non-dairy milk alternatives for many reasons. Perhaps they’ve decided to exclude animal products from their diets. Maybe they’re lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy. Or, like me, they’ve discovered how delicious almond milk is in their breakfast cereal. There are many non-dairy milk alternatives, including those made of soy, almond, rice, oat, coconut, hemp and flax. Which one is best? Answer: It depends.
Looking for protein? Try soy milk for 6 to 9 grams of protein per serving. Allergic to soy? Enjoy rice milk, which is one of the least likely non-dairy milks to cause an allergic reaction. If you’re looking for fiber, drink a glass of oat milk for 2 to 4 grams of fiber. Want plenty of omega-3 fats? Try hemp milk, which can have an entire day’s recommended amount of omega-3 fats in one serving. Those wishing to cut calories may enjoy almond milk, which contains only 30 to 40 calories per cup.
Choose fortified non-dairy milk alternatives to ensure you’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D. And watch sugar and sodium: many non-dairy milks have added flavorings and salt. Look for one with no more than 12 grams sugar and 100 mg sodium per serving.
Even though I’m not vegan or lactose intolerant, I plan to enjoy non-dairy milks in cereal, baked goods and anything else I can imagine. It’s a tasty world out there, so drink up!
Vegan Meyer Lemon Blueberry Scones
Recipe by Jessie Erwin, RD, LDN
Makes 8 scones
1 cup white whole wheat flour
2/3 cup oat flour
1/3 cup raw quick oats
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/3 cup soy or almond milk
2 Tbsp. Meyer lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp. Meyer lemon zest
1/3 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
Sparkling sugar (optional)
Sweet Lemon Glaze
2 Tbsp. Meyer lemon juice
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. coconut oil, melted
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In medium bowl, mix together flours, quick oats, sugar, chia seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With a fork, stir in coconut oil until the mixture is crumbly, like cornmeal.
- Add soy/almond milk, lemon juice, lemon zest and blueberries and mix until dough comes together.
- Gently roll dough into a ball and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Press into a circle about 1 inch thick and cut into 8 wedges.
- Place scones onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar, if desired.
- Bake in preheated oven until edges are lightly browned, about 18 to 20 minutes.
- While scones bake, mix confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and melted coconut oil in a small bowl. Drizzle glaze over scones while scones are still warm.
You can make oat flour by grinding raw oats in a coffee grinder or blender. Make quick oats from whole oats by pulsing whole oats for a few seconds in a blender.