Bored with almond milk? Not a fan of soy milk or oat milk? Maintaining a vegan diet that restricts you from drinking dairy milk from any animal?
The non-dairy milk market is ever-increasing, and milk alternatives are everywhere these days. Think you’ve given them all a try? There’s one out there that you may not have tasted yet:
Don’t be scared – pea milk is not green. It’s just a newer alternative to dairy milk and nut milk for people looking for a gluten-free, dairy-free, lactose-free option.
If you’re in search of a new milk alternative to add to your coffee or pour over your cereal, here’s everything you need to know about pea milk.
What is Pea Milk?
Pea milk is gluten-free, dairy-free and lactose-free, as well as nut-free and soy-free. For people on a restricted diet or suffering from particular food allergies, it’s a healthy alternative to some of the other milk products on the market.
Trista Best — a Registered Dietitian at Balance One Supplements — shared with us, “Pea milk is the newest form of cow's milk alternative, plant-based milks on the market. They are packed with protein, fiber, calcium and omega fatty acids. This nutrient profile makes pea milk a serious contender in this realm of health foods.
Most pea milk manufacturers are claiming that their products are creamy and smooth, unlike most nut-based milks. One major benefit to opting for pea milk is the risk for allergic reaction from other milk alternatives.”
Pea milk gets mixed reviews when it comes to its taste. Some people love it, some people say it tastes bitter and some people think it’s much more similar to natural dairy milk than some of the other non-dairy options out there. Pea milk is like all other foods and beverages out there – it’s a personal preference.
How is Pea Milk Made?
Pea milk is not made with the green peas we eat on our dinner plates. It’s made from yellow split peas, which grow in southern Europe, some parts of Asia and North Africa. Like all types of milk from plants, it’s made by crushing the plant and extracting its liquid.
Once the yellow peas are harvested, they are milled into flour. Then, manufacturers separate the protein of the peas from the starches in the flour. The pea protein is blended with water, combined with other ingredients, such as sunflower oil and fortified with vitamins.
Looking for a vegan DIY project? You can make your own pea milk at home. Check out this recipe to learn how to make it yourself!
What Does Pea Milk Taste Like Anyway?
So what exactly does pea milk taste like to the average consumer? It all depends on which flavor you're looking for in your milk.
The most notable brand producing pea milk is Ripple, and they make five different flavors of pea milk.
Ripple Original is straight pea milk and tends to be most people’s favorite. It has a creamy and rich texture, unlike some other plant-based milk and nut milk that tend to have a chalkier feel.
Don’t like to drink sugar? Ripple also makes an Original Unsweetened option, though this one can take some getting used to for any peak milk consumer. Compared to the original flavor, it has a much drier feel in your mouth. If you prefer an unsweetened version, we suggest trying the Unsweetened Vanilla flavor instead. The vanilla kick helps a lot with both the taste and feel.
Like your milk sweet and sugary? Check out Ripple Vanilla or Ripple Chocolate. These options are the sweetest pea milk flavors available, and they’re both quite tasty.
The other most popular pea milk brand is Bolthouse Farms. They also make an original version, a vanilla version and yummy chocolate milk. And while chocolate milk isn’t the go-to beverage of choice for most adults, it is a sweet and healthy option, especially for kids that suffer from lactose, gluten and nut allergies.
Is Pea Milk Good for You?
Pea milk is an excellent source of protein, vitamins and omega-3s. Ripple’s pea milk contains 8 grams of protein per serving and has 50% more calcium than 2% dairy milk. It’s also fortified with Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and potassium.
The high protein content of pea milk makes it a nutritious addition to your daily diet, but most do contain sugar. If you want to eat less sugar in your diet, opt for an unsweetened version instead.
Compared to other types of plant-based milk, pea milk is higher in protein as well as iron. If you eat a plant-based diet and need a way to up your iron intake, this is a great way to do so.
The bottom line: Pea milk isn’t for everyone, but we love it for people who have allergies to nuts, soy and dairy.
Try Pea Milk in Your Coffee
Coconut milk, cashew milk, soy milk and oat milk are all viable non-dairy milk options — but they don’t always work well in coffee.
One of the benefits of pea milk is that it doesn’t have an overly robust flavor, so it won’t completely change the taste of your favorite coffee brew. It’s also easy to make into a foam, so if you like your coffee with some foam on top, pea milk is an excellent substitute for the real thing. And, unlike almond milk, it’s also great for making latte art!
More Benefits of Drinking Pea Milk
There’s one additional benefit of drinking pea milk: it might be better for the environment than your beloved almond milk.
In comparison to most other non-dairy milk options, pea milk generates lower greenhouse gases. Growing peas uses 85% less water than growing almonds, and they also don’t require as much fertilizer to produce.
The yellow split peas needed to make pea milk are grown in Europe and farther east, so there is some cargo/trucking/shipping that needs to take place to get them in your cereal bowl on your U.S. table. But overall, less water usage is something we should all be striving for in our day-to-day lives!
Want to know how your pea milk consumption is helping the planet? Check out Ripple’s Ripple Effect counter for a running total of how much carbon, water, sugar, and plastic they’ve saved to date.
Where Can You Buy Pea Milk?
Pea milk is available in national grocery chains. Check the refrigerated section where they stock other non-dairy milk and milk alternatives — those Ripple bottles are easy to spot! It also comes in shelf-stable versions that you can order through Amazon.
Is pea milk just a fleeting trend in the seemingly endless non-dairy milk world? Maybe. But if you can’t drink cow’s milk, soy milk or nut milk, this one is worth a try!
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