Going dairy free, and then your dairy free life, requires you to get accustomed to a lot of options in a place where there would typically only be one: milk.
The first non-dairy milk I was introduced to was coconut milk. Coconuts have become an ‘it’ ingredient in recent years, so that’s not really any surprise. All the varieties also offer choice of sweetened or unsweetened, and some are flavored with chocolate or vanilla. You can choose what you need for different needs.
There are also creamers for your coffee. My favorite is soy creamer by a mile. If you want to make Starbucks-like soy Lattes at home, you can get the exact same flavor from Silk’s Vanilla Soy Creamer.
Coconut milk would be my choice for breakfast. It’s good with cereal, smoothies, and oatmeal. When cooked it gives much more of a coconut flavor, which can contradict with savory foods. That said, coconut milk is the choice for so much Thai cooking. If you’re going for a Thai Curry that night, coconut milk is perfect. I personally don’t use coconut milk in my coffee because of it’s thin texture, but that could go with most of these milks on the list.
Almond milk is an easy favorite. The remaining almond flavor is subtle and blends well even with savory cooking. While still on the thin side, it’s a better choice for cooking….
Not as good as soy milk, which is the thickest and therefore creamiest of the popular milks. I enjoy soy milk the best, personally, but it’s not always the best for every meal. I prefer Silk’s Almond & Coconut blend for cereal and smoothies. The flavors seem to counteract each other and give no distinct almond or coconut flavor.
Soy ice cream or creamer will be the most creamy of all. A local favorite, the Chicago Diner, makes amazing vegan milkshakes with soy ice cream that you have to try to understand just how amazing soy can be.
Oat milk is a new favorite. It is said to have the most ‘milk-like’ flavor for many people. Though I’ve also been told it is much better in hot drinks or meals rather than cold. It’s consistency is somewhere between thin like almond and thick like soy.
Personally I find Cashew and Hazelnut to be less easily accessible. They tend to be more expensive while I don’t believe they have anything special over the aforementioned milks, but it’s always worth a try in case one of them is your new favorite.
If at first you try something you don’t like, don’t give up! It’s all about finding what works for you and where it works. I keep canned coconut milk in my pantry, Silk’s almond/coconut combo in my fridge, I’ve got soy creamer for my coffee and Ben & Jerry’s almond milk ice cream in my freezer.
One of the ways taking dairy out of my diet actually broadened my choices. Actually, speaking of Thai curry… Think I’ve figured out my dinner for tonight.