When I went vegan in 2004, the only plant milks sold at Memphis health food stores — there were three at the time — were soymilk and rice milk. Those were my only options for replacing dairy milk. Soymilk was all fine and good. I still love soymilk. But rice milk? Bleh. It's like the skim milk of vegan milks. Watery and gross.
But my have things changed 11 years later! You can make milk out of just about any nut or seed! Even coconuts! And there are so many brands to choose from, and they're available in regular old grocery stores. Sometimes, it's nice to just reflect on how far we've come. Sure, vegans have a ton of work ahead to grow our numbers (This study says we're only .5 percent of the U.S. population! Only .5 percent!). But we're making progress.
So Delicious is surely behind some of that progress, thanks to their huge variety of dairy-free milk products. They sent me six of their milks to review. I'd tried most of these before, but it was fun to sample them back to back to really get a feel for each milks' nuances.
I'm really into cashew milk right now. I alternate between Silk and So Delicious, but So Delicious is a much better company. They're all about sustainability, and their products are always non-GMO. So I was happy to have these So Delicious Cashew Milks! And I generally buy unsweetened milks because they're more versatile and have less calories.
I tried the Unsweetened Vanilla Cashew Milk in this Raspberry-Orange Protein Smoothie. The vanilla was a nice complement to the vanilla hemp protein powder, banana, raspberry, and orange juice. The cashew milks are really thick and creamy, and that just makes for a thicker, creamier smoothie. I like my smoothies to be thick like milkshakes!
The unsweetened milks are great for both dessert items and savory dishes. I used the regular Unsweetened Cashew Milk in this Earth Balance mac & cheese. Creamy, dreamy mac. And the cashew flavor is subtle enough that it didn't stand out in this dish. Sadly, this Vegan Dish plate fell out of the cabinet last weekend and broke into a million pieces. Goodbye, favorite plate!
My favorite thing about the cashew milks are their super-low calorie counts. The So Delicious Coconut Milks have a slightly higher count. Well, at least the sweetened ones do. The Unsweetened Coconut Milk only has 45 calories per cup. It taste great in dishes but just as great on its own. One morning, I had a glass with an Ozery Bakery bun topped with almond butter and strawberries. And more strawberries on the side. I was on a berry kick for awhile a month or so ago!
This Original Coconut Milk is sweetened and has 70 calories. But it sure makes a tasty drink to wash down Hampton Creek's Just Cookies! And it's not so sweet that it overpowers the sweetness from the chocolate in the cookie.
The Vanilla Coconut Milk is sweetened, too, and honestly, it's so good on its own that I hated to mess that up by adding it to a dish. I ended up drinking most of it by itself. Again with the strawberries!
I saved the Chocolate Coconut Milk for last! Save the best for last, right? This one definitely had the highest calorie count at 90 calories per glass. But that's still lower than some brands of chocolate plant milk. It was pretty sweet, like dessert on its own. But it was delicious blended into this Chocolate Blueberry Smoothie — chocolate milk, chocolate hemp protein, banana, blueberries.
One morning, I even had some in my Chocolate Power O's Cereal. Because chocolate cereal with chocolate milk. That's what being a grown-up is all about. If I want chocolate milk in my cereal, then by god, I can do that!
Loved all these milks! My only complaint with So Delicious milks though is that they only contain 10 percent of your RDA for calcium. Some other brands of plant milk have anywhere from 30 to 35 percent of your RDA. I'm all about getting my calcium in without having to worry about eating my greens everyday. So I wish So Delicious would up their calcium levels. But that's my only complaint! The milk is delicious and versatile and so much better than dairy ever thought about being!