This post was created in partnership with Quinoa Queen.
I’m pretty convinced that I’ll be on team homemade nut milk forever. I do buy bottled almond milk from time to time, and there are great brands out on the market that I feel lucky to have access to. But every time I make a batch at home and taste my first, bright-white sip, I make a mental note to never purchase the store-bought kind again. It’s that good.
If you’ve never made nut milk at home, you’ll be surprised by how easy and satisfying the process is. It does take more effort than buying a bottle at the store, but the superior flavor and heavenly texture make it well worth it. Nut milk is made by blending nuts in water – the nuts break down and yield their creaminess and fattiness to the water, coloring it an opaque white. All you need for whipping up a batch of nut milk is a blender and something for straining out the nut pulp, once the nuts are blended up. I’ve heard of people using multiple layers of cheesecloth and fine-mesh strainers, but I’ve found the nut milk bag to be the most effective tool for the job. Run your blended mixture through the bag, give it a squeeze, and you have your milk. Easy!
Another advantage to making nut milk at home is the amount of control you have over the process. Many nut milk brands add stabilizers, sweeteners and natural flavors to their mix, and by making your own, you are taking all that unwanted stuff out of the equation. You can soak your nuts/seeds, too, which I highly recommend. Soaking gets rid of enzyme inhibitors, which in turn makes the nuts easier to digest and improves their nutrient bioavailability. I’m pretty sure none of the nut milk brands out there are taking care to soak their nuts, so there’s another reason to make your own.
You can have all sorts of fun with the kind of milk you make. Use any nuts you like, following the basic proportion, from the more common almonds and cashews, to hazelnuts, pecans and Brazil nuts. Seeds work really well, too! Pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds all yield delicious milk and make the endeavor more affordable. You can also make nut/seed blends and flavor your milk all kinds of ways. I give you a few luscious flavoring ideas here, including Chocolate-Orange Hazelnut Milk, Matcha-Mint Pumpkinseed Milk and Spiced Pecan Milk. We’ll have more on what to do with the leftover pulp soon, too.
I didn’t try my first bite of cereal until the early 90s, when American goods were finally allowed to be imported into Russia after the fall of the iron curtain. Back then, we looked at cornflakes, Snickers, McDonalds and chewing gum with wide and hungry eyes, taking in their then exotic flavors with all kinds of enthusiasm. Nowadays, I find most cereal brands out there to be much too sweet and full of too many unwanted ingredients. Still, a single bite of something crunchy and porous floating in (nut) milk sends me back to those times, when I coveted cornflakes like I now covet coconut butter. I’ve been loving Quinoa Queen, the gluten-free, 100% quinoa cereal brand that uses a minimal amount of wholesome, natural ingredients. The creator of Quinoa Queen is a food scientist and comes from the Andean mountains of Ecuador, where she works with her native community to harvest the quinoa used in her product. QQ cereal is not too sweet, and there is even an unsweetened, single ingredient option which I love, especially when combined with one of these flavored nut milks. The rest of the flavor offerings are subtle and well-considered, there is a lightly sweetened one, as well as a citrusy one, which my eight year old has been eating for breakfast with the Chocolate Orange Hazelnut milk (so it’s kid approved, too). Quinoa works so well as a cereal ingredient, it’s neutral in flavor and contains a wealth of protein and fiber, among other vitamins and minerals that help with starting the morning off right. I’m pretty thrilled to have found a wholesome cereal I can enjoy with all my homemade nut milks, and if you are looking for something similar, consider giving Quinoa Queen a try.
Note: You can use raw almonds, cashews or any other nuts or seeds of choice for any of these milk variations. Cashews are especially convenient, as they don’t need to be strained – their pulp breaks down enough in the blender.
- 1 cup raw hazelnuts - soaked overnight in purified water
- 3 large, soft Medjool dates, or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder, or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon maca powder (optional)
- zest of 1-2 organic oranges
- Drain and rinse the hazelnuts. Combine them with 3 cups of purified water in an upright blender (high speed works best here). Strain through a nut bag, discard the pulp or save it for future use. Pour the hazelnut milk back into the blender, add dates, cacao and maca, if using, and blend until smooth. Add the orange zest and pulse several times to combine. Keep refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.
- 1 heaping cup raw pecans or walnuts - soaked in purified water for 4 hours or overnight
- 5 green cardamom pods - green shells removed
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg or a few shaves/slices of whole nutmeg
- 2-3 soft Medjool dates - optional (I like it unsweetened)
- Drain and rinse the pecans/walnuts. Combine them with 3 cups of purified water in an upright blender (high speed works best here). Strain through a nut bag, discard the pulp or save it for the future use. Pour the walnut milk back into the blender, add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Keep refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.
- 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds - soaked in purified water for 4 hours or overnight
- 2 teaspoons matcha powder or more to taste
- handful fresh mint leaves - to taste
- sweetener of choice - to taste (optional, I like it unsweetened)
- Drain and rinse the pumpkin seeds. Combine them with 3 cups of purified water in an upright blender (high speed works best here). Strain through a nut bag, discard the pulp or save it for future use. Pour the pumpkinseed milk back into the blender, add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Keep refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.