Taking a break from dairy? With a high speed blender, you can make your own non-dairy coconut almond milk.
In an effort to avoid processed foods and all the packaging, preservatives, additives and the poor quality they generally offer, I started making my own almond milk and coconut milk. But by far my favorite is a combination of these two, which creates a smooth, rich flavor profile that is a wonderful substitute dairy for vegans, people who are lactose or casein intolerant, or people like me—cutting back on animal products unless I can obtain and afford the kind that is humane, sustainable and healthy.
When it comes to dairy, I want raw, grass fed, no hormones, no sub-theraputic antibiotics, local and humane (humane to both the dairy cows and the male calves…do you want to know what happens to male calves on a dairy farm?). You can see why my options are limited. But I assure you, I am not suffering!
I have to admit, when I first tried store bought almond and coconut milk as dairy replacements, I did suffer. I find them unpalatable, grey, watery and odd tasting. When you read the labels, you’ll find that there are other ingredients, which include sugars, salts, coloring, texture enhancers and preservatives.
Here’s why I think you’ll love home made coconut almond milk:
- It tastes amazing. Seriously, if you’ve never had it fresh, you’ve basically never had it. Say goodbye to grey, flat and gritty nut milk!
- It looks amazing. I don’t know why store bought nut milk needs whitening colors, since the milk I make at home is beautifully creamy white, naturally.
- Avoid all that packaging. Sure you can recycle it, but it’s better to avoid packaging in the first place.
- It’s economical.
- You can make as much or as little as you want, so you will always have it fresh. I make one 24oz glass jar at a time, which lasts me 3 days.
- You can make it as rich, fatty and thick as you want, or as thin. This means you can make a thinner batch to use in cereal and a much richer version to use as tea or coffee creamer.
- You can use sprouted nuts, which you can sprout yourself or sometimes buy sprouted. I buy raw bulk bin almonds from a store that has a high turn over and sprout them myself. I’ve noticed that some stores, like Whole Foods, have started offering sprouted nuts in the bulk section for a couple of dollars more per pound. Either way, sprouting nuts is essential to unlocking nutrients and neutralizing the harmful substances found in all seeds (nuts, grains, legumes).
- It’s fast. Really.
How do I make coconut almond milk?
- A high speed blender. I use a VitaMix.
- Shredded unsweetened coconut (as finely shredded as you can find it)
- Whole sprouted almonds (buy them raw and sprout them yourself or buy them already sprouted)
- Glass container for storage. A mason jar is great.
- Very fine mesh strainer. I use a Tazzy Tote bag. It’s not what they were meant for, but it works great for me and is cost effective. It’s easy to wash. You can find a selection of sprouting and nut milk bags here.
- Large mixing bowl, preferably with a pouring spout.
Two optional ingredients that I always use are a dash of maple syrup and a tiny bit of raw vanilla bean. Totally not necessary, but I love it.
This is how I make a 24 oz mason jar of coconut almond milk:
- Fill the mason jar up to the 24oz mark with water. Pour this water from the mason jar into your blender. You can use any jar or container for this, but this ensures that your finished product will fit into your container.
- Put 1/2 cup (dry measure) of shredded coconut and 1/2 cup of sprouted almonds into your blender.
- Optionally: add vanilla and maple syrup (just a little, don’t get carried away here!).
- Blend. On my VitaMix I use the low speed, raising it slowly to 10, then I hit the high speed for 30-60 seconds.
- Pour mixture into (and through) your strainer or nut milk bag, over the large bowl. If using a strainer, use a spoon to press down on the solids until you’ve gotten as much of the liquid as possible. The rich goodness is still trapped in the coconut almond solids, so make sure you really press or squeeze it out. If using a nut milk bag, you can squeeze the bag with your hands to get the liquid all out. When I’m done wringing and squeezing, all I have left inside the bag is a compact, nearly dried ball of coconut/almond flesh.
- Pour liquid into your storage container, close tightly and refrigerate. You’ll want to shake the container well before using the milk, as it will separate and settle.
You can use the leftover coconut/almond mash in lots of ways. Put it in a curry, make a face mask out of it (it’s very moisturizing), mix it with egg whites and sugar and bake into puffy little cookies. You can dry it on a baking sheet in the oven (no need to turn the oven on, just spread it out and let it sit for a few hours or overnight). Use the dried pulp in baking or to bread chicken cutlets or add it to your home made granola. If you absolutely cannot use it, you can put it in the compost.
I buy almonds and coconut from the bulk bins and store them in mason jars in my freezer, which allows me to make nut milk whenever I need to without worrying about the nuts going rancid.
Remember, you can make this recipe as thin or rich as you like. You can use it for cooking, smoothies, making choco milk, drinking straight, for your coffee, and in your cereal. You can throw it in the blender with strong chai tea that you’ve frozen in an ice cube tray to make a creamy blended chai on a hot day. If you know how to make nut milk yogurt, you could make use this milk to make a batch.
You can play with the ratios and use more nuts or more coconut. This basic process works also if you are making single ingredient milk, as in, just almonds or only coconut. Once you find the recipe you like best and get in the habit of making it for yourself, you will never go back to the revolting, thin, grey stuff.
- Success really depends on having a high speed blender and squeezing every last bit of goodness out of the pulp.
- The whole process, from start to placing my jar of finished coconut almond milk in the fridge takes me around 5 minutes.
- To make the absolute best coffee creamer, blend a handfull of cashews into a pint of finished coconut almond milk (finished, meaning: after it has been strained) and store in the fridge. Don’t strain the cashew pulp out, it will blend completely with a high speed blender, creating a creamier, richer coffee creamer. Some people are sensitive or allergic to cashews, even if they have no other known nut allergies.
- While it’s possible to pour the mixture straight from your blender and into a large French press to strain out the solids, I feel there is too much that gets left behind. To make the best milk, you have to really get the goodness out of the solids, and for me that means squeezing and wringing with a nut bag. But I do admit, the French press method is easier to clean. Do what works best for you!
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