Courtesy of Food & Nutrition
I’m a little embarrassed to say that up until a few months ago, I hadn’t heard of oat milk.
Not because I think I know everything food related (close, maybe). But because I have so much love for everything oat related. So obviously, I should have known about oat milk way before now.
The truth is, up until I visited the expo floor at FNCE, the annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo held for registered dietitian nutritionists, I had never seen or tasted oat milk. But after the expo and wandering Washington, D.C., where the conference was held this past year, one thing was clear — oat milk is trending in a major way. And it seems everyone is jumping on board.
What is oat milk?
Oat milk, much like almond milk and other plant-based milk alternatives, is a non-dairy beverage made from blending oats with water, that is then strained into just the “milk.” It tends to be a little more creamy than other plant-based milks because oats absorb more water than nuts might.
Is oat milk healthy?
What makes oat milk different than other plant-based milks is that it is free from the top eight allergens. Oat milk is nut-free, soy-free and (obviously) dairy-free, so it’s safe for people with allergies or sensitivities. And as long as it is made with certified gluten-free oats, oat milk is also gluten-free.
Nutritionally, oat milk has more protein and fiber than nut milks or rice milk — it has about 3 to 4 grams of protein per cup, plus 2 grams of fiber. It’s also a little higher in carbohydrates — around 15 to 25 grams per cup depending on the brand. Oat milk still doesn’t stack up to dairy milk or soy milk in terms of protein, but it’s got a little.
If you’re buying oat milk at the store, you’ll need to check the label to see if it has been fortified with calcium, vitamins A and D, and B vitamins — nutrients that are in dairy milk that are especially important for vegans. Homemade oat milk won’t have these. Which brings me to …
How do you make oat milk at home?
Oat milk is fairly simple to make at home. You’ll need a high-powered blender and something to strain it with, such as cheesecloth.
Oats don’t have to be soaked near as long as nuts — only about 15 minutes — but you will want to soak and rinse them to prevent your milk from becoming slimy. Then simply blend the oats with water, salt and any spices or flavorings you like (I like cinnamon and vanilla), strain and pour! You’ll want to store homemade oat milk in a covered container, such as a jar, in the refrigerator for up to three days.
How do I use oat milk?
Oat milk can be used just like any other plant-based milk. Add it to smoothies, use in baked goods or pour over your cereal. Store-bought oat milk is usually great for coffee because it foams well, although homemade oat milk doesn’t have as much fat, so it doesn’t do so great (I tried it). Be sure to shake your oat milk before using it!
Have you tried oat milk? What do you think about it?
Cinnamon Vanilla Oat Milk
1 cup rolled oats
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups filtered water (or more for a thinner consistency)
(optional) 1 to 2 pitted dates or 1 teaspoon maple syrup, for sweetness
In a bowl, cover oats with water and soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and rinse. This will help prevent the milk from becoming slimy.
Add soaked oats, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, water and dates or maple syrup (if using) to a high powered blender or nut milk maker.
Blend for about 30 seconds. Avoid over-blending as this may cause the oats to gel.
Strain mixture through cheesecloth 1 to 3 times.
Store oat milk covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Shake before using.
Note: Add leftover oat pulp to smoothies, overnight oats, pancakes, etc.