Almond Milk, Cashew Milk, And Now This...

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walnut_milk_slide_annaIllustrated by Anna Sudit.
Being lactose intolerant, having a dairy allergy, or practicing a vegan lifestyle can seem challenging at times. Fortunately, there are tons of easy recipes that are both delicious and dairy-free. In fact, there are plenty of dairy-free milk varieties that are actually healthier, tastier, and more fun to use in cooking, baking, smoothies, and cereals than their full-dairy counterparts. Loaded with protein, vitamins, and minerals, these non-dairy milk varieties also make for some delicious plain old sipping.

Walnut milk is one of my latest discoveries — and it’s become a quick favorite. It’s not common to see it on the shelves at the market like its cousins rice milk, almond milk, and coconut milk, but this nut has such a unique taste and creamy consistency that I encourage you to try making it at home. Packed with omega 3 fatty acids (a healthy fat that helps fight inflammation in your body and works to keep you full and satisfied so you’re not reaching for the vending machine candy bar at 3 p.m.) walnut milk is the perfect antidote for shaking up your milk routine. To wit: One of my favorite ways of drinking this stuff is to add a couple of ice cubes, a handful of diced pineapple, and a sprinkling of coconut flakes — it’s a virgin piña colada.

The easy recipe below is a cinch to put together, and once a batch is done, you can use it throughout the week in recipes for baking, oatmeal, smoothies, coffee, tea, and more.

Start by grabbing a few raw walnut halves from the bulk bins of your food store (Whole Foods Market has a great selection) and a sweetener (I love raw honey and pure maple syrup), and you’re close to having a fabulous treat for simple sipping or for incorporating into more complicated recipes.

Walnut Milk
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 cup walnut halves
3 cups water, plus more for soaking
2 tsp. raw honey or pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp pure vanilla or almond extract
Pinch sea salt

Instructions:
1. Place walnuts in a large bowl and fill with enough water to cover nuts by 2 inches. Cover with a towel, and place in your fridge for at least 2 hours to soak.

2. Drain the soaking water and rinse the walnuts well. In a blender, combine drained walnuts, 3 cups of water, honey or maple syrup, vanilla extract and sea salt; puree until smooth, or for about 3 minutes.

3. Transfer to serving glasses and serve chilled or pour over cereal, oatmeal and porridge for breakfast.

This will last up to 4 days in the fridge.

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Amie Valpone, an NYC-based personal chef & culinary nutritionist, decided to adopt a "clean" lifestyle after she was diagnosed with a host of serious health issues. Now, she spends her days curating The Healthy Apple, a blog that discusses everything from food intolerance tests to her favorite go-to meals — all gluten-free, of course.