Health & Wellness

Pistachio Milk [The New Non-Dairy Alternative]

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You’ve heard of almond milk and cashew milk, but pistachio milk? Turns out, this new nut-based milk is making a big impact, with some calling it one of the best nut milks overall. But what exactly makes it so special and how does it differ from your other, non-dairy alternatives? Here’s everything you need to know. 

What is Pistachio Milk?

A glass of Pistachio Milk

Pistachio milk is typically made with water and pistachios. That’s it! You can purchase pistachio milk either sweetened or unsweetened, just like all of the other alternative milks on the market. Some do contain fillers and/or additives, but that’s not uncommon for nut-based milks overall. 

Maryam Azhar, a Marham nutritionist who has an honors degree in food science and nutrition, says that pistachio milk is apparently “quite beneficial for people at risk of heart disease or arthritis. Pistachios have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that lower your heart disease risk. They are also rich in potassium which can lower blood pressure and protect your bones.” 

How neat is that! 

Pistachio milk is often on the expensive side, and it’s a bit more difficult to find compared to the other dairy alternatives. This is primarily due to the manufacturing process involved in making pistachio milk. Pistachios can only be grown in very specific climates, and the trees take a while to grow. Plus, the soil, water and sunlight that pistachios require for growth all impact the end product’s taste, so the conditions can be hard to come by since they’re so particular.

However, this pricey manufacturing and growing process does have its own benefits. Compared to almonds, pistachios are much more eco-friendly, seeing as pistachios require about half as much water. For reference, pistachios boast about the same level of eco-friendliness as oats. 

Also, pistachio milk typically comes in eco-friendly and recyclable packaging as long as you buy it from the right brands. Unlike some other dairy alternatives, pistachio milk is incredibly versatile. It can not only be used cold, but also in hot beverages, baking and more. It’s particularly easy to foam, something that’s not always replicable with dairy alternatives. 

However, pistachio milk does taste a bit like pistachios, and it has a slightly green hue to it as well. If you have no problem with this, you won’t mind the taste and color at all! 

How Healthy is Pistachio Milk?

Pistachio milk offers some health benefits, but those health benefits aren’t as attractive as what you’ll get from just eating plain, raw pistachios. Raw pistachios will give you about 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per serving and 30% of your daily calcium. 

Comparatively, pistachio milk offers about one to two grams of fiber as well as two to four grams of protein per serving. It contributes two to four percent of your daily calcium as well. If you drink a sweetened version of pistachio milk, then you’ll consume added sugars as well. 

So, does that mean that pistachio milk is unhealthy? Not necessarily. Pistachio milk can still be a great alternative to other drinks that you might be consuming on the regular, especially if you’re trying to omit dairy products from your diet. However, don’t mistakenly assume that pistachio milk is just as healthy as eating a handful of pistachios. 

Additionally, pistachio milk may be better for you than other non-dairy milks out there, so if you want to switch your current non-dairy drink out for something else, you may be in luck. For example, pistachio milk typically contains fewer calories than oat milk and soy milk. However, almond milk typically reigns supreme when it comes to the lowest amount of fat, whereas soy milk is the winner if you’re looking for the alternative milk with the most protein. 

But how does pistachio milk stack up against just plain ol’ dairy? If you’re not on board with the milk alternative trend yet, and you’re not necessarily considering going vegan or vegetarian, you might not want to swap out your cow’s milk for pistachio milk just yet. In that case, you might be pleased to know that cow’s milk has far more calcium and vitamin D than pistachio milk. Also, if you’re not already into nut milks, you may find the taste off-putting compared to cow’s milk.

Related: The 13 Best Buttermilk Substitutes In A Pinch

Popular Pistachio Milk Brands

One of the most popular pistachio milk brands that you’ll see on the market today is Táche. In fact, this brand is so ahead of the treat that its website is literally just called pistachio milk. As a brand that launched in 2020, Táche offers a line of pistachio and water-based drinks that you can purchase either sweetened or unsweetened.

The milks come in cute, elegantly-designed cartons that have a bit of a European feel to them. Based on aesthetics alone, it’s easy to see why the brand is trendy. Additionally, Táche is the first pistachio milk brand in the United States to make pistachio milk using only pistachios. 

Unlike other brands that add other nuts to their pistachio milks, you’ll only find pistachios in pistachio milk from Táche. It is important to note that the brand does add cane sugar to its sweetened version of pistachio milk, but that’s it! Just pistachio nuts and sugar. 

Currently, you can buy Táche from about 500 different U.S. retail locations, with most of those locations being in New York and Los Angeles. There are a few locations in the Chicago area as well, but other than that, other retailers are scattered around the country. But buying the milk in person is not your only option. You can pick up the two different Táche milk options online, too!  

Elmhurst is another brand that offers a popular pistachio option. Plus, Elmhurst even offers flavored pistachio milks that are intended for use in coffee. Look for the Elmhurst Barista Edition! 

However, it’s worth noting that, unlike Táche, which only focuses on producing pistachio milk, Elmhurst offers a wide range of many different milk-based products, including traditional dairy products. Elmhurst also does not offer just a straight pistachio milk, just a pistachio creamer. 

Three Trees makes an unsweetened pistachio nut milk, though it’s worth noting that it also contains almonds. However, thanks to the almond content, the pistachio-based milk does have a little more protein in it than the typical plain pistachio milk. The Three Trees brand also soars above Táche’s pistachio milk because the Three Trees version is more widely available. You can even purchase Three Trees’ pistachio milk via Amazon Prime! 

In addition to the above options, you can also find pistachio milk in some coffee shops, including at some Starbucks locations.

Making Your Own Pistachio Milk at Home

Pistachios on a burlap sack next to a glass of pistachio milk

If you’ve ever made your own nut-based milk at home, you know that the process isn’t exactly easy, but it’s not the most difficult cooking project you could undertake, either. You’ll just need to soak your pistachios in water overnight, rinse and drain them, then blend them with water at a high speed. 

Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth to remove the pulp and then you have your dairy-free milk. You typically need to mix water and pistachios at a ratio of 1 cup of pistachios for every 3 cups of water. 

Homemade pistachio milk can last for a few days in the fridge. If you’re worried about that short shelf life, you may want to opt for buying the ready-to-use pistachio milk, as the cartons can typically last up to a year unrefrigerated, as long as you keep them in a cool, dry space. Once opened, the cartons can last for up to two weeks in most cases. 

Another downside to making your own pistachio milk at home, beyond the short shelf life? The texture isn’t always quite the same as what you’ll find from the store-bought brands. This is because the store-bought brands often add fillers that can make the milk thicker. Additionally, homemade pistachio milk isn’t typically as easy to froth and foam as the store-bought variants. 

How to Use Pistachio Milk 

Other than using pistachio milk in your coffee drinks or just to drink straight, you can also use pistachio milk in your oatmeal, granola and breakfast cereal, to give your otherwise bland breakfast a nutty flavor. 

Pistachio milk, if made with salt and unsweetened, can also be used in savory recipes, if you’re making a cream-based sauce for something like pasta.

Swap out your other milk for pistachio milk in your baking projects, smoothies, hot chocolate, tea, matcha and more. 

Related: Pea Milk: Everything You Need To Know

Other Options Beyond Pistachio Milk 

But let’s say you’ve already tried pistachio milk and it wasn’t quite right for you, but you’ve also tried your basic options like oat milk, soy milk, cashew milk and almond milk, and none of those were great fits either. Do you have any other options out there?

Turns out, yes. Humans have come up with all sorts of inventive ways to make milk out of some of the oddest ingredients. Here are a few other options to add to your radar if you’re not keen on the pistachio milk, or any of the other plain-jane, “normal” milks.

Coconut Milk

Not to be confused with coconut water and also not to be confused with the coconut milk that you buy in a can for use in all your favorite Southeast Asian and Indian dishes, coconut milk that you buy in the dairy aisle is made from just coconuts and water. 

Known to be creamy and naturally slightly sweet, coconut milk is low on calories and fat, but also low on protein and carbohydrates. While not exactly stellar for its nutritional content, coconut milk is a decent option for those who want a thick texture and a sweeter taste to their milk alternative, without any fillers or additives. 

Rice Milk

Rice milk is made with rice and water, and typically thickeners, so that you get that desirable texture. Rice milk has double the carbs as cow’s milk and less protein and fat, and, on top of all that, can sometimes contain inorganic arsenic. 

However, rice milk’s one redeeming factor is that it’s very non-allergenic, so a lot of people with a lot of dietary issues can drink it, no problem. Dairy sensitivities, gluten intolerance, soy allergies, nut allergies — these can all prove a problem for those looking for a milk alternative, but most people can drink this milk because it’s dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and nut-free!

Macadamia Milk

Much like pistachio milk, macadamia milk is relatively new and not very easy to find. It’s more popular in other parts of the world. However, many people like it for its thick, creamy texture, especially for use in coffee. Low in calories and fat, but also low in protein and carbs, it’s a mid-list option and one that stacks up well (nutrition and taste-wise) to pistachio milk.

Hemp Milk

No, hemp milk has nothing to do with CBD or other associated hemp products. Instead, hemp milk is made from hemp seeds, which contain only trace amounts of THC. While hemp milk does have less protein than cow’s milk, it still has a good amount of protein when compared to cow’s milk alternatives. Likewise, hemp milk is a good source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.

Quinoa Milk

You’ve likely heard about all of the hype surrounding quinoa and how it’s a superfood that is supposedly really good for you. It’s been labeled as a good alternative to rice or other grain-based foods, but what’s the inside scoop about quinoa milk? 

Quinoa milk, much like pistachio milk, is typically a little more expensive and a little more difficult to find. Also, just like pistachio milk, quinoa milk tastes recognizably similar to its source, so you might not want to use it in your coffee or with anything that won’t taste good with a hint of quinoa. 

Black Sesame Milk

Another difficult-to-find milk alternative, black sesame milk is an option that is best to just make at home. But unlike other milk alternatives, black sesame milk recipes call for a wide range of other ingredients and sweeteners, like dates, honey and vanilla extract. However, black sesame milk stands out from the rest because it can offer you a lot of nutrients that you won’t find in any other alternative milks.

Here are some of the nutrients offered by black sesame milk:

  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin A
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Folate
  • Iron 
  • Fiber
  • Heart-healthy fats

Even though you’ll likely need to make black sesame milk at home, it is a little easier to make than pistachio milk, mostly because you won’t need to soak the sesame seeds overnight like you do with pistachios.  

Is Pistachio Milk Right for You?

Whether or not pistachio milk is right for you really just depends on your lifestyle and why you’re considering adding pistachio milk to your diet in the first place. If you want a low-calorie milk alternative, pistachio milk delivers. However, if you’re wanting to add an alternative milk to your diet for the purpose of getting more nutrients, vitamins and health benefits from your milk, then you may be better off looking elsewhere.

You might also be interested in: What Your Drink Order Says About You [According to Bartenders] 

Holly Riddle

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