Tag Archives: dairy-free

Product review – Oatly oat drink

13 Aug

Oatly, the Swedish brand of oat milk, has recently rebranded. Their previously bland, generic packaging has been replaced by a quirky design that proudly shows off their ethical standpoint and the health benefits of oats, as well as their reduced environmental impact. The carton explains how they chose to use oats because they’re “tall and strong and full of goodness” to make a drink that is “like milk but made for humans”. Their independent, principled personality really comes across and that’s something to be admired.

But enough of that, what is Oatly actually like? It might sound a little strange but trust me, it’s lovely! It tastes like the milk that’s left in your bowl after eating muesli, it’s not chalky or porridgey at all. It can be used exactly the same as milk from cows. It’s delicious in a glass with some biscuits dunked in it. It’s perfect for cereal, obviously it’s particularly good for muesli or granola, and it’s Mr Veg’s favourite milk for making porridge.

Oatly really comes into its own when used in cooking or baking, working better than any other non-dairy milk I’ve tried. The flavour is mild enough that it doesn’t dominate the dish, you don’t have to worry about your cakes or sauces tasting of oats (unless you want them to of course). What’s more, Oatly is very stable, doesn’t split, and does a really great job of making things thick and creamy – I can only assume that this is something to do with the soluble fibre content.

As well as regular and organic Oatly, you can also buy chocolate Oatly, which is absolutely divine! As with plain Oatly, you can drink it straight or use it for cereal, porridge, or baking. You can also use it to make a luxurious thick milkshake by blending it with a frozen banana or, if you’re feeling less virtuous, a big scoop of dairy-free ice cream. Delish!

All non-dairy milks have their pluses and minuses, some work much better than others depending on what you’re using it for. The only disadvantage I’ve discovered about Oatly is that it doesn’t work as well in tea and coffee as some other plant milks. The taste is fine, but it separates slightly and tends to leave a strange residue in the bottom of the cup. Still, I think its many advantages outweigh this, and I would definitely recommend you give it a try.

What better way to demonstrate Oatly in cooking than to make some basic white sauce. It tastes the same as the real thing, and is just as thick and creamy, but without having to get any cows involved. My favourite use for white sauce is a good old-fashioned lasagne. The recipe I’ve given here is basic because I wanted to showcase the white sauce, but you could tuck extra veggies between the layers, or jazz up the red sauce with chillies or sun-dried tomatoes or whatever you fancy. I don’t particularly like vegan cheese so I topped mine with breadcrumbs instead, but you could use vegan cheese or ground cashews if you prefer.

Recipe – classic vegan lasagne (serves 2)

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 200g vegan mince
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 20g non-dairy margarine
  • 20g plain flour
  • 300ml Oatly
  • 4-6 sheets egg-free lasagne
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the red sauce, fry the onion in the oil over a medium heat until translucent and starting to colour, about 5-10 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for a further minute or so without colouring. Add the mince, tomatoes, tomato puree, and oregano, then leave to simmer while you make the white sauce.

For the white sauce, melt the margarine in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Add the flour and cook for a further couple of minutes. Add the Oatly very slowly, stirring all the time until you have a smooth sauce. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes until it’s nice and thick.

Season both sauces to your liking and remove from the heat.

Now to the fun part – building the lasagne. Spread one third of the red sauce over the bottom of your lasagne dish (you might notice in the photo that I use a loaf tin – it’s the perfect size and shape), cover with a layer of lasagne sheets, then spread one third of the white sauce over the top of that. Repeat two more times until you have used everything, ending in a layer of white sauce. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and more dried herbs over the top.

Bake in the oven at 200°C for 30-40 minutes, until light brown on top. Leave to stand for 5-10 minutes before serving – it will be easier to dish up whole slices that way. Serve with plenty of garlic bread.

Disclaimer: I have been asked to write this post by Oatly but as with all of the posts on my blog all opinions are my own. For more information on Oatly please see their website: http://www.oatly.com/.

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Speedy, seedy soda bread

3 Nov

I love baking my own bread, but because I work full-time I just don’t have the time to make it in the week and really do it justice. Luckily I’ve recently discovered soda bread, which doesn’t need kneading or rising time. It takes about five minutes to throw everything together and stick in the oven alongside whatever we’re having for dinner, leaving the rest of the evening free to veg out and watch a bit of Breaking Bad (no spoilers please, we’re only on season 4).

The texture and the taste is different from regular bread, but this isn’t a disappointing short cut. It’s still a beautifully tasty, healthy bread, which is particularly lovely toasted and dunked in soup.

Recipe (makes one loaf)

  • 300ml your preferred non-dairy milk
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 200g wholemeal flour
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 50g mixed seeds

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Grease a baking sheet or small loaf tin.

Mix the milk and vinegar together in a mug, and leave to curdle while you get the rest of the ingredients together.

Put all of the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and briefly toss together. Add the curdled milk and mix until it just comes together into a smooth ball of dough.

For a roundish, free-form loaf, place on a greased baking sheet and cut a cross in the top. Otherwise, for a regular loaf quickly form into a long sausage shape and put in a greased loaf tin. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and well risen. Turn out onto a cooling rack. Can be eaten warm or cold.

My quest for vegan parmesan

30 Jul

When I first started cutting back on cheese, I bought a dairy-free parmesan substitute from the supermarket. It was a pale yellow powder that sort of had the smell of parmesan but none of the flavour. When sprinkled onto pasta, it would instantly dissolve into the pasta sauce without adding anything to the taste. It was a major disappointment. Could I really manage without dairy if that meant I couldn’t have a little bit of something cheesy on my pasta?

Not long after, I discovered nutritional yeast flakes, AKA nooch. Nooch gives a much more satisfying cheesy flavour, doesn’t disappear into the sauce (unless you want it to), and can be used to flavour other things, such as vegan cheese sauce or scrambled tofu. For a long time it was the best vegan parmesan substitute I could find.

That is until I made an accidental discovery late one night, when home alone. I’d made some tasty vegetable pasta, and couldn’t decide whether to sprinkle it with nooch or gomasio[1], so I went for a 50:50 mix of both and bingo! A satisfying parmesan-like topping for pasta.

2013-07-30 17.48.30

The gomasio adds a slightly salty nuttiness to the nooch, converting it from mild cheesiness to a fairly convincing substitute. What’s more, it adds a tiny bit of extra protein, vitamins, and minerals to your meal. I feel like my mission is complete, I’m over the moon! [Insert your own cheese pun here.]


[1] Gomasio is a mix of ground sesame seeds with salt. It’s really easy to make your own if you have a blender or spice grinder, but you can buy it in a jar too.

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