One of the most exciting and satisfying parts of culinary nutrition is creating new food memories. Like many of our students, I grew up eating my fair share of packaged and processed foods, and homemade meals typically included gluten, dairy and eggs – all ingredients I can no longer eat.
When we change our diets, we can feel alienated from our closest friends and family because food is often the centrepiece of gatherings and special occasions (there are many ways to survive when you make dietary changes, but it can still be hard!). Aside from the social implications, the food we grew up eating can be intertwined with our identity and feelings of safety and comfort, which is why we sometimes feel at a loss when we forge a new path.
The holidays are approaching and some of you may have fond memories of eating or making gingerbread as children. For me, I recall eating dreidel-shaped and menorah-shaped gingerbread for Chanukah; deeply brown, soft and chewy, decorated with pastel-coloured icing and wrapped in cellophane and ribbons. Later, as a teenager, I felt an immense sense of accomplishment as I built my own gingerbread house from scratch during Family Studies (the name for ‘home economics’ in my high school days). I learned how to roll, cut and bake each piece and glue them together with sticky corn syrup and icing.
While I’ve since learned how to make gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan gingerbread cookies, sometimes I want the pleasure of gingerbread without eating a cookie. And, when it comes right down to it, gingerbread is awesome because of the flavours and spices. So it’s easy to replicate gingerbread in a non-cookie, nutritious and tasty way. That’s why I created this dairy-free gingerbread latte that will satisfy those gingerbread cravings, but will offer you a good dose of nutrition as well.
Health Benefits of My Dairy-Free Gingerbread Latte
There are quite a few health-supportive ingredients in this latte, including:
- Coconut milk: This healthful fat is rich in lauric acid, which is anti-microbial, anti-viral and anti-bacterial (great for flu season!), and coconut oil is an easily digestible source of energy.
- Dandy Blend: A herbal coffee alternative that is detoxifying, caffeine-free and rich in trace minerals. It’s similarity to coffee is striking!
- Molasses: Molasses is a by-product of sugar-making. When producers strip the sugar cane to make refined, white sugar, what they removed is boiled down to make molasses. It has a variety of minerals, including energy-boosting iron, bone-building calcium, potassium and magnesium.
- Ginger: This root is highly anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant-rich, plus it supports digestion. I used quite a bit of fresh ginger in this recipe and it definitely has a spicy kick. If you’re new to fresh ginger or find it strong, start off with a 1/2 teaspoon.
- Cinnamon: This deliciously scented spice has so many benefits – it is anti-inflammatory, helps to balance blood sugar, supports our hearts, and has anti-cancer properties.
For an extra boost of protein, you can add a tbsp of hemp seeds or nut butter, or amp up the fat content with coconut oil.
This dairy-free gingerbread latte is the perfect treat for a rainy day or a cold afternoon. No oven required – all you need is a few minutes and a blender!
Serves: 1 serving
- 1 cup hot water
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 1 heaping Tbsp Dandy Blend
- 1 Tbsp molasses
- 1 tsp fresh ginger (or ½ tsp if a full tsp is too hard-core)
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Maple syrup, to sweeten (I used ½ tsp)
- Optional: 1 tbsp nut butter or hemp seeds
- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.