Making New Favorites with Plant-Based Milks

Dina Cheney considers the plant-based milks that provide the best flavors and textures for fresh and innovative recipes as well as new takes on dairy-based favorites, in her new book The New Milks; 100-Plus Dairy-Free Recipes for Making and Cooking with Soy, Nut, Seed, Grain, and Coconut Milks.

Cheney has created three exclusive recipes for 24Life, and shares a favorite from her latest collection.

Chilled Pea Soup with Mint and Lemon


Makes about 6 cups

Velvety and light green, this soup is colorful, refreshing and delicious.

  1. Add all the ingredients into a blender, and puree until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  2. Strain, scraping soup off the bottom of the strainer into a large mixing bowl. Ladle into serving bowls.

Banana Coconut “Nice” Cream


Makes about 5 cups

Try topping this healthful “ice cream” with chopped fresh mango or strawberries, toasted coconut flakes, and more. To prepare the frozen banana slices, peel ripe bananas and slice into 1-inch-thick pieces. Place in freezer bags and freeze.

  1. Add the first six ingredients to a food processor, and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Stir in the chocolate chips. For a soft-serve consistency, serve immediately. Otherwise, transfer to a freezer-safe container, and freeze until firm, at least 1 hour. Serve.

Whole-Grain Chocolate Cashew Cake


What should you do with the nut solids left over after making nut milk? Use them in recipes like this one! Make cashew milk with two cups of raw, unsalted cashews (or other nuts) and five cups of water. After straining, you’ll be left with about a ½ cup of ground wet solids, which you can incorporate into this incredibly moist, chocolaty cake. While it’s whole grain, it’s also plenty decadent from copious cocoa powder and dark chocolate chunks. Most delicious fresh out of the oven (when the chocolate chunks are still slightly molten), it’s pretty cut into eight triangular slices and garnished with sifted powdered sugar and fresh raspberries.

Makes 1 round 9-inch cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and place a rack in the center. Spray the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a small-medium bowl, whisk together a ½ cup of the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together cashew solids, nut milk, oil, eggs and hazelnut extract until well blended. Pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture, and stir just to combine (do not overmix).
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining tablespoon of flour and chocolate chunks. Pour the mixture into the batter, and stir just until mixed in.
  5. Pour the batter into the greased cake pan, and bake until a tester poked into the center comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Then carefully turn out onto a clean surface.

Almond Spiced Chocolate Milk (from “The New Milks”)


This super chocolatey milk is way more flavorful than the version you remember from childhood. To appeal to young kids, omit the spices.

Makes about 1 cup

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a small sauce- pan, whisk well, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer until the cocoa powder and chocolate dissolve, whisking, about 3 minutes.
  2. Strain into a small-medium bowl, cover, and chill until cold, about 1 hour. Remove the spices, pour into a glass, and serve cold.