Tesco Unsweetened Almond Milk

Product Reviews

 

Whether you suffer from a milk allergy or intolerance or have revisited plant-based milk alternatives due to health or ethical reasons, there is no denying that the dairy-free (or freefrom) market is on the rise. Tesco have supplied us with soya and rice milk as a part of their own-brand & freefrom food range for a while now (years and years even!), but our food preferences have influenced their food production just that one step further! They now stock their shelves with their own-brand almond milk! Stumbling upon this during our weekly shopping trip was a happy accident indeed. 🙂

Many companies offer almond milk these days, but it’s great to see major supermarkets finally producing their own!

Tesco offer both an unsweetened and sweetened UHT version, which is perfect as not everyone has refrigerator space for four or five cartons of milk (well, particularly those that meal prep and/or eat an abundance of fruits and vegetables- us included)! Additionally, they also sell a fresh version, but it’s sweetened.

 

 

So, how does it compare to other leading brands…

…well in this instance we have compared it to ‘Alpro’!

 

Ingredients & Nutritional Info

Tesco

Alpro

 

The Facts…

Personally, we would always opt for buying unsweetened milks!

    • Both milks contain 2% almonds, which isn’t really a lot when you think about it! In fact, almonds are listed as the second ingredient to water! Maybe it’s about time we all start to make our own?!
    • Per 100ml/:
      »They are both low in calories; Tesco’s is slightly higher but it’s negligible.
      »They are both low in sugar (not surprisingly!) and salt; Tesco has slightly less salt but again the quantity is negligible.
      »They both have the same quantity of protein and fats.
      »Tesco’s version has slightly more carbohydrates, but that’s because it’s third ingredient is added ‘maltodextrin’ (which we discuss shortly).
  • They both use the same thickening agents: ‘Gellan Gum’ and ‘Carob Gum’ (which is also known as ‘Locust Bean Gum’; E410).(¹)
  • They both fortify their milks with: Calcium, Vitamins D, B2 and B12; their quantities vary ever so very slightly, but not enough for it to be a deciding factor over it’s product quality.
  • Tesco does not fortify it’s milk with Vitamin E, but Alpro does; unlike B12, Vitamin E is found naturally in numerous plant-based food items, e.g. avocados, wheat germ, vegetable oils and nuts,(²) so this is not by any means a travesty!
  • Obviously they are both dairy-free and ‘vegan’, but also gluten and wheat free.

Photo: Vegan Society logo (UK), courtesy of the Vegan Society

  • Alpro has the Vegan Society’s seal of approval; Tesco has yet to get their milk recognised by the Vegan Society!

 

Taste
Almonds_Rob Stanard_flickr

Photo: Almonds By: Rob Stanard_flickr

You’ll experience the same delicious, slightly sweet and nutty taste in both brands but Tesco’s version is slightly thicker; a lot of almond milk’s have a ‘watery’ taste (similar to s/s cow’s milk). The thicker taste is down to the fact that Tesco’s third ingredient is maltodextrin; a manufactured sugar/starchy carbohydrate (a ‘polysaccharide‘), used as a multi-purpose food additive that can have a mild and sweet taste. It can be derived from various cereal starches, i.e. wheat, corn, tapicoa, rice, (³) or potatoes. It’s added to food products to help thicken, bind and/or flavour them.

For us, the thicker taste is welcomed but it all comes down to personal preference. A thicker milk would come in handy for those that cannot consume soya (but prefer a fuller-bodied milk), do not enjoy soya, oat or coconut milks or those who need an alternative/fuller and versatile milk that they could use in their dairy-free sauces, milkshakes, soups and/or curries etc.

Another good point is that it didn’t curdle in our tea (as some dairy free milk has a habit of doing!).

 

Cost
      • The cost of Tesco’s Unsweetened Almond Milk is currently £1.40/1L/carton.
      • Alpro’s Unsweetened Almond Milk varies from store to store; occasionally you can only purchase a UHT or fresh version at any one store. At Tesco, Alpro’s UHT Unsweetened Almond Milk currently costs £1.70/L/carton.

 

Value
Photo: Raw vanilla Almond Milk By: Heather Crosby_flickr

Photo: Raw vanilla Almond Milk By: Heather Crosby_flickr

Everyone has different tastes and budgets, but these two products are both fortified and taste great. Personally speaking, half of the reason as to why we purchase dairy-free milk is for the dietary calcium, Vitamin D and B12 supplementation that it provides! Currently there are quite a few dairy-free milks on the market (inclusive of almond) that do not provide you with many or any extra added nutrients, so make sure to check the labels before you buy them!

The biggest influence for us is cost. If a product is cheaper (but not inferior in taste or quality), then that’s our decision made. Almond milk is currently more expensive than some other-dairy free milks (but in no means the most expensive!), but there’s no doubt that Tesco will have a sale on it at some point; you can occasionally find Alpro milk’s on offer for £1/carton or 2 for £2.

Tesco’s almond milk advises that you should use it within three days of opening, whilst Alpro advises using theirs within five. These use by dates are generally not a problem for us; a carton of milk typically only lasts about two days (between the two of us!) but even so, we’ve used dairy-free milk and yoghurt’s up until seven days with no ill effect.

Lastly, both their ‘unopened’ use-by dates are about the same (8-9 months from the date of purchase).

 

Our Overall Opinion

There are plenty of brands that currently sell almond and various other dairy-free milks and Alpro used to be our ‘almond milk’ of choice, but unless Tesco suddenly changes the taste, cost or skimps on its fortification, then this will now be our preferred brand. Like any food item, it will all come down to diet, lifestyle, budget and/or personal preferences.

If you’ve never previously tried almond milk or have have a bad experience with it, this product is worth giving it a first or second chance!

Our only requests for Tesco would be to add a few more almonds (it’s cheeky we know, but please!) and to start selling it in larger cartons; 2 litres would be perfect! A lot of North American non-dairy milks are sold in 1L, 2L or 4.55L(1 gallon) cartons! Considering the popularity of freefrom brands, isn’t it worth a trial?!

How does everyone feel about increasing the current carton size of dairy-free milks? Please vote and express your thoughts!

 

Do any of you currently drink almond milk or any other dairy-free milks? What’s your favourite brand? We’d love to hear about your thoughts and experiences!

 

Sources:
Food Standards Agency (FSA): Additives & their E Numbers (1)
NHS Choices (2)
Coeliac (UK) (3)
BDA
Tesco
Alpro
Vegan Society UK

 

*Disclaimer: We have not been paid for this product review and all thoughts and opinions are our own.
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Roasted Cauliflower & Almond Soup

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6
Prep & Cooking Time: 40-45 minutes

Notes: This recipe contains: B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & E, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and is low in salt and saturated fats!

This is probably one of our last soup recipes for a while. We meal planned for another soup- based lunch this week as the weather has yet to pick up (#wherehasspringgone)!

So, what can we say but this soup…well it’s fibre-licious! It’s not too surprising as our recipes are normally crammed full of delicious veggies! We found that the roasted cauliflower added a slightly nutty element to an already nutty base. The only amendments we would make would be to adjust the amount of cauliflower or liquid (stock, milk and/or water) used. This is because the soup (even though it’s tasty and highly recommended by us!) was a little thicker than we would have liked; luckily although it was thick, it was not a ‘heavy soup’! We would suggest reducing the amount of cauliflower by approx. 500-600g or increasing the volume of liquid used by approx. 500-600ml. Additionally, it you would like a smoother consistency, use ground almonds instead of whole ones; personally, we liked the grainy texture! 🙂

The ingredients list shows our original measurements but feel free to experiment! 

 

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++1.4kg       Cauliflower head
+++++++++++++++++++++++++200g      White onion
+++++++++++++++++++++++++100g       Celery stalk
+++++++++++++++++++++++++30ml       Rapeseed oil
+++++++++++++++++++++++++2g            Ground nutmeg
+++++++++++++++++++++++++                Salt & ground black pepper
+++++++++++++++++++++++++60g         Almonds (unsalted)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++450ml     Vegetable Stock (low-sat/DF; GF if required)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++200ml     Soya or Almond Milk (unsweetened & fortified)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++650ml     Water

 

 

Directions:

Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or parchment paper.

 

 

In the meantime, remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower and discard them. Cut the cauliflower head into half and break (or cut) off the florets from the stem. Discard the stem. Wash and soak the florets in a large container full of cold water. Drain.

Sometimes it’s just easier to clean large quantities of chopped vegetables in this manner! 🙂

 

 

Lightly pat the cauliflower dry.

We placed them onto the baking tray (lined with kitchen paper) and patted them dry.

 

 

Pour a little of the oil onto the tray and spread it evenly over the surface.

NB: Use a pastry brush, silicone spatula or your fingers! 🙂

 

 

Place the cauliflower onto the mat. Sprinkle over half the quantity of nutmeg. Season it to taste with some salt and black pepper. Drizzle over the remaining oil.

NB: Using your hands, toss the cauliflower around in the oil.

 

 

Place it into the oven. Roast for 25-35 minutes or until lightly browned and tender; turn once (if desired). Remove. Leave on the tray and allow to cool.

We baked ours for 35 minutes, but it probably could have come out after about 30!

 

 

In the meantime, heat a small, non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat.

 

 

Add the almonds. Dry roast until lightly browned and/or they start to ‘pop’.

 

 

Remove from the heat. Transfer into a small dish. Allow to cool slightly.

 

 

Meanwhile, peel and dice the onion. Wash, trim the ends and slice the celery.

 

 

Place the frying pan back over a medium-low heat. Once hot add a spoonful of water. When it starts to bubble, add the onion and celery.

 

 

Gently stir together. Cover with a lid. Steam-fry for approx 5 minutes or until tender. Stir occasionally and add more water if necessary. Remove from the heat.

 

 

In the meantime, add the almonds into a blender. Pour in the stock. Allow to soak.

 

 

Add the onion and celery into the blender.

 

 

Blend until processed.

 

 

Add as much cauliflower as your blender will allow.

 

 

Blend until smooth.

 

 

Pour the mixture into a large saucepan or resealable container.

 

 

Add the remaining cauliflower and the milk into the blender. Process until smooth.

 

 

Pour into the applicable saucepan or container. Stir together.

 

 

Add the remaining nutmeg. Pour in the remaining water.

 

 

Stir to combine. Taste and season as necessary.

 

 

Place the saucepan over a medium-low heat. Gently warm (if applicable).

 

 

Serve warm. Ladle into serving bowls.

We garnished ours with a few whole almonds (for a little bit of crunch!) and a sprinkle of dried chives and chilli flakes for colour. 🙂

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Refrigerate in a resealable container; consume within 2-3 days. Alternatively, freeze in a resealable container(s); defrost, reheat and consume within 1-2 months.

Vegan And Grain Free Pizza

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4
Prep & Cooking time: 75mins

Recipe adapted from: Vegiehead.com
Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, E & K, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, omega 3 and is low in saturated fat!

Who says you need dairy, meat or grains to make a pizza taste good?! This recipe is significantly lower in calories, saturated fats and salt (per slice) then your ‘standard’ pizza and very versatile. Use any toppings you desire, but make sure your ingredients are dry and do not overload the base. Unfortunately on this occasion I did not have mushrooms or rocket- but my refrigerator contained lot’s of peppers! I would definitely use this flavour combination next time; I don’t believe in food wastage so I just use what I have at the time.

NB: Rocket is also referred to as ‘arugula’ and courgette is also known as ‘zucchini’. 

Pizza nutritional break down

Pizza nutritional break down

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++10ml       Extra virgin olive oil
+++++++++++++++++++++++500g       Cauliflower
+++++++++++++++++++++++4g            Garlic Cloves
+++++++++++++++++++++++10g          Fresh Basil leaves
+++++++++++++++++++++++3              ‘Flax eggs’ (15g flaxseed + 130ml water)
+++++++++++++++++++++++50g          White onion
+++++++++++++++++++++++40g          Courgette
+++++++++++++++++++++++30g          Chestnut Mushrooms
+++++++++++++++++++++++20g          Spanish green Olives (in brine)
+++++++++++++++++++++++80g          Baby plum Tomatoes
+++++++++++++++++++++++160g        Yellow bell pepper
+++++++++++++++++++++++10g          Wild Rocket (optional)
+++++++++++++++++++++++85g          Ground Almonds
+++++++++++++++++++++++1g            Dried onion powder
+++++++++++++++++++++++2g            Dried Basil
+++++++++++++++++++++++2g            Dried oregano
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Salt
+++++++++++++++++++++++50g          Tomato Puree
+++++++++++++++++++++++1g            Dried thyme
+++++++++++++++++++++++5g            Pine nuts

Directions:
  • Heat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Lightly grease a large baking sheet or a pizza tray with half the quantity of the oil.

 

  • Remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower (and then discard), remove the florets from the stalk/core (discard the core), wash and then dry it. Peel and mince the garlic. Wash, dry and roughly chop the basil. Place the flaxseed and water into a small bowl; stir until combined.

Peel and dice the onion. Wash, trim the ends and grate the courgette into thin discs. Wash, dry and finely slice the mushrooms. Remove any stones and slice the olives into halves. Wash, remove the stems and slice the tomatoes. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed and chop the bell pepper into fine slices. Wash and dry the rocket (if using).

 

 

Place the cauliflower into a food processor. Blend until it becomes quite fine (like rice). Its important to make the texture as uniform as possible; pick out any large chunks if you have to as these will stop the ‘dough’ mixture from sticking together.

Processed Cauliflower

Transfer it into a large microwavable bowl. Cover and place it the microwave for 2 minutes to allow it to cook/steam slightly. Remove, drain and thoroughly pat it dry; use a clean cloth or some kitchen paper. NB: I think the quickest way is probably to transfer it onto the middle of a clean kitchen cloth, gather the ends together and then wring out the water.

 

 

  • Place the cauliflower, garlic, fresh basil leaves, flaxseed mixture, almond, onion powder, dried basil and the oregano into a large mixing bowl. Season it with some salt to taste. Mix together to form a ‘dough’. The mixture should be ‘tacky’ (not too wet or sticky).

 

 

Place the ‘dough’ onto the centre of the baking sheet or pizza tray. Spread and push the ‘dough’ across the sheet in an even layer (I used a silicone spatula to help smooth and press it out evenly).

Uncooked Base

Uncooked Base (Mine was 22x27cm- this was random!)

 

 

 

 Place it into the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until slightly crispy. Remove and place the baking sheet or pizza tray onto a cooling rack.

Semi-cooked Base

 

 

 

Top the crust with the puree and drizzle over the remaining oil; spread it evenly over the crust (almost to the edges) with a silicone spatula. Sprinkle over the onion.

Base with ‘sauce’ and onions

 

 

Add the courgette, mushrooms, tomato and bell pepper. Garnish with thyme.

Base with all uncooked ingredients

 

 

Place it into the oven and bake for a further 10-15 minutes, or until the crust is browned and crispy. Remove and allow it to cool slightly before serving. NB: If the cauliflower wasn’t dried enough, the crust may take longer to cook.

Cooked & ready to serve! (I Just wish I had the rocket)

 

 

 Slice and serve garnished with the rocket (if using).

NB: this picture contains 2 servings.

 

 

If preferred…

  • Omit the rocket and try serving it along side a fresh, green garden salad.
  • For an iron boost, try adding some dark leafy vegetables as toppings or just in your accompanying salad (spinach, swiss chard, kale etc)!
  • Try spreading the puree on the base and then drizzle the oil over the vegetables just before baking (if you prefer them ‘crispier’).
  • Try using different herbs combinations in the base or add some fortified nutritional yeast for a B12 hit and a slightly ‘cheesy’ taste.
  • Try a dairy/gluten free pesto sauce, or a low-sodium/sugar passata or pizza sauce instead of the tomato puree.
  • Try different bases (maybe try potato?).
  • Try making 2 separate pizzas if you are serving more than 4 people; the crust is not stable enough to support an ‘extra large base’.
  • Try using a professional baking mat, as the crust steams slightly as it cooks. This should provide a crispier base.