4 Vegan Eggnog Alternatives Making Your Holiday Better Without Eggs
Though it’s a Christmas classic, there are a multitude of reasons you may not indulge in eggnog this holiday season. Whether you’re a vegan, allergic to eggs, lactose intolerant, pregnant, hesitant to drink your weight in yolks and cream, or just generally skeptical of eggnog, you shouldn’t be left out of the creamy holiday drink game. Though it may sound blasphemous to have an egg-less eggnog, it’s likely not the actual eggs that make the drink so lovable — warm spices and a thick, creamy texture are probably the defining characteristics that make drinking raw egg yolks palatable. The spices are easily replicated, though the texture requires a bit of thinking ahead. In some cases, soaked cashews will supply the creamy texture. In others, ground chia seeds will thicken the drink while boosting fiber, calcium, antioxidants, and more omega-3 per serving than salmon, according to WebMD. It’s not a bad trade-off for a traditionally sinful drink.
Though the addition of rum really completes the classic eggnog flavor, the alcohol can be replaced with one tablespoon of rum extract for a booze-free version. Rum extract can be found near the vanilla extract and/or spices in the baking aisle of your favorite grocery store.
1. Vegan Eggnog with Cashew Cream
This recipe requires you to soak both the cashews and dates overnight, but the hands-off wait is rewarded by one-step prep and well worth the creamy, noggy goodness. This recipe from Food52 claims that it will please even the most eggnog skeptical among us. The full-fat coconut milk is important for getting that thick creaminess eggnog is known for. Be sure to get coconut milk and not sweetened coconut cream! It yields about 6 cups.
- ¾ cup whole cashews
- 2 medjool dates
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- 2 cups water
- ⅓ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- ⅓ to ½ cup rum or bourbon (option, can replace with 1 tablespoon rum extract)
Directions: The night before, soak the cashews and the dates overnight. The cashews will plump when they soak, so be sure to allow extra room for them to expand.
The day of, drain the cashews and dates, discarding the liquid. Place all ingredients into a blender and blend on high until very smooth, which may take a couple minutes. If your blender is on the less powerful side, strain bits of cashew out with cheesecloth. Serve cold or warm.
Coquito is a Puerto Rican classic. Though usually made with evaporated milk or heavy cream alongside coconut milk, this version from One Hungry Mama is dairy free and delicious. It’s a coconut-based answer to eggnog, using both coconut milk and cream of coconut. If you’re having trouble finding cream of coconut, look near the tortillas and Goya products in your grocery store. Coco Lopez is a commonly carried cream of coconut brand.
This version does use ground chia seeds as a thickener, which replaces the thickening power traditionally found in eggs. Though the chia seeds are not strictly essential to the recipe, the drink will be thin without them and lose that trademark thickness. They also provide a powerful health bonus! The recipe yields 3 cups.
- 2 cups light coconut milk
- ½ cup vanilla almond milk
- ½ cup cream of coconut
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds, ground
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
- Pinch of ground clove
- Rum to taste (optional) or rum extract
Directions: Make the chia gel by combining the ground chia seeds and the water. Set aside for 10-15 minutes to thicken.
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until thoroughly combined and a bit frothy. Serve over ice.
The history of horchata is varied and nearly as cloudy as the drink itself, but it is certainly popular. According to Noshon.it, where this recipe is from, horchata originated in Egypt, made from the tigernut, traveled to Spain, and then traveled to Mexico by way of Spanish settlers where it became a rice-based drink sometimes made with almonds. There are nearly as many ways to make horchata as there are recipes, but the folks over at Noshon.it did a taste test and decreed their favorite to be almond-heavy with a bit of rice.
By nature, horchata is a much thinner drink than eggnog. If you’re looking for a thick, creamy drink without the coconut flavor of coquito, horchata can be thickened with ground chia seeds. As above in the coquito recipe, combine 1 teaspoon of ground chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and thicken for 15 minutes before adding to the horchata. To make this more festive, you can substitute the simple syrup for maple syrup and add a ¼ teaspoon of ground or freshly grated nutmeg. Oh, and don’t forget the booze. Amaretto works really well here. It’s a departure from a classic nog, but sometimes we need that. It makes 4 to 6 cups.
- ⅓ cup uncooked, long-grain white rice
- 1 cup almonds
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 cups water, divided (3 will be used hot, 2 used cold)
- ½ cup concentrated simple syrup (2 parts sugar, 1 part water)
Directions: The night before: First, prepare the almonds. Boil some water in a small sauce pot and blanch the almonds, boiling them for one minute and then shocking them in ice water. Drain and rub between two paper towels to remove the skins. Toast in a dry skillet over medium heat until lightly browned.
Pulverize the rice in a spice grinder or a blender until it’s a fine powder.
Add the ground rice, almonds, and cinnamon stick to a jar or pitcher. If you’re adding nutmeg, add it now. Stir in 3 cups of hot water. Cover and let stand overnight.
The day of: Transfer the mixture to a blender, add the cups of cold water, and blend until smooth (cinnamon stick and all). Pass the mixture through cheesecloth and discard any solids.
Add simple syrup or maple syrup and chia gel, if using, and stir thoroughly. Chill or serve over ice, with or without booze.
4. Blended Earl Grey Lattes
Maybe you’re really over everything being Christmas flavored, but you still want a thick, delicious drink. That’s totally cool, and we promise we probably won’t call you a Grinch. We know it’s cold outside in most places, but maybe your fire is really roaring, and you need something creamy and chilled to cool you down while you’re roasting all those chestnuts. Maybe you really hate the taste of nutmeg. Our friends (at least, we hope we can be friends) at Thug Kitchen published this recipe for blended earl grey lattes in their eponymous cookbook, Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook and it covers all of those bases. In the spirit of the holidays, we won’t curse at you during the course of making these lattes.
You can substitute any tea flavor, really, in this recipe. Maybe you’re feeling a blended chai latte. Maybe you found a wonderful winter warming tea and spice blend. Maybe you really hate bergamot, and you have a whole box of PG Tips laying around. Use anything! It will make 2 tall drinks.
- 2 cups vanilla almond milk
- ½ cup water
- 4 bags Earl Grey tea
- 1 to 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 2 cups ice cubes
- ½ banana, cut into chunks and frozen
Directions: Heat the almond milk and water in a small saucepan over medium heat until it starts to bubble around the edges. Remove from the heat and add the teabags. Let steep for 10 minutes. Remove teabags and let chill in the refrigerator for at least 1½ hours.
Combine the chilled tea, maple syrup, ice, and banana in a blender. Run until smooth.