If you’re looking for an alternative to cow’s milk, you’re in luck! The UK has a variety of plant-based milks that are perfect for those with allergies or dietary restrictions, or who simply want to try something new. In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of five popular plant-based milks: pea milk, oat milk, soya milk, almond milk, and coconut milk. We’ll also give you a few ideas for recipes that will help you use these milks in your everyday life.
Pea milk as a dairy-free alternative
Pea milk is a relatively new addition to the plant-based milk scene, but it’s already “made a splash” thanks to its high protein content and creamy texture. Pea milk is also a good source of essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium, potassium, and vitamin D.
One of the main drawbacks of pea milk is that it can be hard to find in stores; however, this is improving with brands like Wunda, Mighty M.LK, and Sproud launching recently in many UK supermarkets and being promoted via cashback apps such as Shopmium, GreenJinn and Quidco or ClickSnap. It’s also easy to make at home with just a few ingredients.
Pea milk is remarkably light and therefore an ideal ingredient in dairy-free muffins like the dark chocolate ones depicted above that we made with Mighty M.LK. I’ve also personally found pea milk the least flavoured, so if you’re struggling to transition from cow’s milk, the pea milk alternative may be for you.
Oat milk as an alternative to cow’s milk
Oat milk is another popular plant-based milk, and for good reason. Oat milk is creamy and delicious, and it can be used in many of the same ways as cow’s milk – oat milk can even be frozen! Oat milk is also a good source of fiber, vitamins A and D, and calcium. One downside of oat milk is that it contains more sugar than some other plant-based milks; however, this can be easily offset by choosing an unsweetened variety, particularly if used for growing children.
Oat milk is also widely available within the UK in supermarkets, with most stores having their own brand versions. There are also popular Nationwide brands such as Oatly and Minor Figures.
Soya milk options to those avoiding cow’s milk
Soya milk is a classic plant-based milk that has been around for years. Soya milk is made from soybeans, which are a legume that is high in protein. Soya milk is also a good source of calcium, iron, and B vitamins. Despite being one of the easiest cow’s milk alternatives to source, one downside of soya milk is that it contains phytoestrogens, which are plant-derived compounds that can mimic the hormone estrogen in the body. This can be a concern for some people, particularly women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Almond milk alternatives to dairy in the UK
Almond milk is made from almonds, which are a type of nut. Almond milk is a good source of calcium and vitamin E. One downside of almond milk is that it does not contain as much protein as other plant-based milks; however, this can be offset by pairing almond milk with other high-protein foods throughout the day. Almond milk also, in my opinion, has a distinct flavour that I find odd in coffee or tea. I prefer to use it in smoothies or baking where the flavour can be masked.
Why not try coconut milk in curries and baking?
Coconut milk is made from the flesh of coconuts. Alpro and Koko are popular brands within the UK and again are available in most UK supermarkets. Coconut milk is a good source of calcium, magnesium, and potassium. One downside of coconut milk is that it contains saturated fat; however, this type of fat is not as harmful as once thought and can actually have some health benefits.
Coconut milk also has a distinct flavour that some people love and others find off-putting. I find that the flavour is less pronounced when used in baking or cooking, but it’s still something to keep in mind if you’re trying it for the first time. Coconut milk is ideal for making sauce dishes originating from other continents such as a good curry.
Pea, Coconut, Almond, Soya or Oat: Deciding on which is for you.
Now that you know a little bit more about some popular plant-based milks, why not give one a try as an alternative in your hot drinks or as part of a savvy recipe? Pea milk, oat milk, soya milk, and almond milk are all available in most UK supermarkets.
You might be surprised at how much you like it and we’d love to hear your comments and thoughts below if you’ve just started trying them out.