Sometimes, I like to make things difficult. Sometimes it’s worth it, but mostly it’s not. Taking the time to make homemade almond milk falls into the totally-worth-it category.
The benefits of homemade almond milk
Where to begin? I guess I could start by asking: have you ever read the ingredients list of your favourite almond milk? Sure, it might taste good, but it probably contains sweeteners and preservatives, possibly even colours and flavours. It probably also has a very low percentage of almonds (I’m prepared to stand corrected, but I am yet to find a store bought almond milk with more than 10% almonds). One of the best things about making your own almond milk – or any nut or seed milk in fact – is that you can control everything that goes in it. Decrease the water for intense almond flavour; add some vanilla for a luscious taste; add cacao, berries or mint to create easy dairy-free flavoured milks.
This is going to sound really weird, but the sensation of squeezing the ‘milk’ from those almonds is a really, really nice one. Quite therapeutic, actually. Due to high levels of vitamin E, it has a moisturising effect, and is a pleasant massage for dry skin.
It might take time, but homemade almond milk is definitely worth the effort. It also doesn’t require one of those ‘nut bag’ things that you *cannot* make nut milks without. Not only can they be expensive, they are unnecessary. Just find a piece of gauzy fabric with fine mesh and fashion your own with a quick stitch on the sewing machine, or simply cut a large square and use that instead. Easy!
All that aside, onto the smoothie.
Green smoothies can be hard to swallow. Ever drunk a lukewarm, frothy, slightly chunky kale smoothie only to tip it down the sink after the first sip?
Yeah, me too. Don’t be afraid to disguise that bitter aftertaste with heaps of cacao powder and lashings of nut butter. Both are healthy ingredients – cacao is a great source of antioxidants, and nut butter high in protein and monounsaturated fats – and both will make your green smoothie easier to swallow.
Cacao and spinach is one of my favourite combinations right now, and I love sipping on a smoothie with a rich chocolate taste. Here, I’ve paired it with Promise Nutrition’s Organic Cacao Whey Protein Isolate, which is perfect to bulk out any smoothie and to stay satiated for longer.
Furthermore, spinach has an incredibly long list of health benefits, including promotion of weight loss. Gram for gram, spinach contains more potassium than bananas and is also a rich source of plantbased iron. Reading this article greatly improved my understanding of the benefits of spinach.
Love, your spinach-munching and spinach-disguising author, Rosie.
- 2 bananas, chopped and frozen
- 1 fresh banana
- 75g almond butter
- 20g fresh spinach
- 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
- 2 tablespoons oats
- 1 tablespoon rice malt syrup, or other liquid sweetener
- 1 heaped tablespoon raw cacao powder
- 2 tablespoons Promise Nutrition Organic Cacao Whey Protein Isolate
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
- Pinch of salt
- 400ml almond milk, homemade (see recipe below) or storebought
- Toppings! - fruit, nuts, seeds, granola
- 160g blanched almonds
- 750ml water + extra for soaking
- Large piece of fine mesh cloth*
- Sweetener, to taste, if desired
- Place the almonds to a glass bowl and add enough tap water to submerge them. Soak for minimum 2 hours. Soaking the almonds makes them plump and easier to blend, and aids digestion.
- Once soaked, drain the almonds and add to a blender with the water. Blend on the highest speed until really smooth.
- Place the mesh over the top of a large jug and hold in place with a lackey band. Press an indent in the fabric to catch the pulp, then pour the mixture through.
- Once most of the liquid has seeped through, gather the edges of the cloth together and use both hands to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
- Once all of the mixture has been squeezed, there should be about 700ml almond milk and 150g nut pulp. The nut pulp can be dried and turned into almond meal, or frozen to use in baking later. Store the almond milk in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
- Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend for 1-2 minutes until smooth.
- Pour the smoothie into glasses, add as many toppings as your heart desires, and enjoy.
- *It's a massive myth that a 'nut bag' is required to make nut milks at home. I use a piece of gauzy fine-mesh fabric cut into a large square. It's cost effective and works perfectly.