Sweet Almond Milkshake (Dairy-Free and optionally Sugar-Free!)

Posted by on May 31, 2011 | 33 Comments

I see it all the time; the mother, single guy, or college student with both almond milk and regular dairy cheese in their cart at the grocery checkout. For over a year I stood there puzzled, wondering what in the world they were doing. Why buy non-dairy milk if you still eat dairy?

But over time, I realized two very important facts. One is that many people are opting to cut back on dairy, but have yet to break the cheese addiction (hence why that seems to be the only dairy item I see in ALL of these carts). And two is that milk alternatives are pretty awesome in their own right. A lot of people simply like them better than dairy milk! How cool is that?

Seriously, you can’t get that delicious, natural almond flavor that pairs so well with breakfast and dessert from cow’s milk. It is a little earthy and a little elegant all in one and the creamy sweetness of nuts is second to none.

And some days, I can’t get enough of that almond flavor, so I double or even triple its essence.

Sweet Almond Breakfast (or Healthy Dessert) Shake

Recipe adapted from Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook. This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free (some almond milk brands do contain soy lecithin), Peanut-Free, Wheat-Free, and optionally Sugar-Free.

  • 1 Heaping Cup Ripe, Frozen Banana Chunks (or 1 large banana, frozen and broken into chunks)
  • 1 Fresh Medjool Date, pitted (the larger the date, the sweeter the shake)
  • 1 Tablespoon Creamy Almond Butter (I use unsalted raw almond butter from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2 Cup Vanilla Almond Milk Alternative, plus additional if desired (I used Almond Dream brand, which is shelf stable – You can use regular vanilla or unsweetened)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • Pinch Salt (omit if using salted almond butter)
  • Ice, optional
  • Sliced Almond to Garnish, optional

Note: Since I use a lower-power blender, I typically tear up the date or mash it a bit before adding. Even so, I sometimes have a few little date chunks in my shake, but definitely no harm done – I eat my shakes with a spoon, so I often like them a little chunky.

Add the banana, date, almond butter, almond milk, cinnamon, and salt, if using, to your blender. Blend until smooth. If using a lower power blender, pulse on high several times to help break up the chunks before whizzing away. If needed or desired, add more milk alternative to thin. If needed or desired, blend in ice to desired consistency and temperature (I use crushed ice and pulse it first since my blender is wimpy). I like my shakes thick.

Pour into a glass and garnish with sliced almonds if desired.

Serves 1

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Have you tried almond milk? What do you think of it? I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!


Filed Under: Alisa's Recipes

Comments (33)


  1. The smoothie looks great and lately here in Aruba ive been the queen of smoothies. And yes almond milk, ive tried it once or twice, wink wink 🙂

  2. That shake is exactly what I need right now 🙂 I love all things almond 🙂

  3. Iris says:

    I still do dairy sometimes (although I’m taking it out of my diet for the next month to test it), but I love to buy a variety of types of milk. Soy, almond, hemp…I love it all!

  4. Almond milk is my fave! I know so many people that don’t have to be dairy free that I’ve turned on to almond milk. Tony loves it too! The smoothie looks delicious!

  5. OH YUM! I love almond milk. While I CAN do dairy, I appreciate the calcium and flavor of almond milk. It’s also really versatile.

  6. Stefanie says:

    It looks refreshing. Perfect for a warm summer day. Almond milk is good. 🙂

  7. Katie says:

    I keep trying all the new non-dairy milks to be sure, but I always go back to my beloved almond milk. It is just so creamy and delicious. NOthing packs the flavor like it does.

    • alisa says:

      I have to agree. I really like the coconut milk beverage for richness and because it works better in savory dishes when you want a whole milk consistency – and no Katie, it doesn’t taste strongly of coconut 🙂 But, almond milk has that something special that really goes with grains and smoothies.

  8. Nowheymama says:

    This sounds so. good.

  9. I love almond milk simply for its taste. My family thinks I’m crazy for preferring almond milk, but I think they just say that because they haven’t tried it yet. 🙂

    This recipe looks really good, and I like the idea of blending in a date into a milkshake for sweetness.

  10. Maggie says:

    Awesome! I like my shakes thick (and sweeet) too! I’ve been making my own almond milk lately – way less ingredients 🙂 but it has taken some getting used to. It tastes a lot different!

  11. Wow, Alisa, that looks totally divine! I buy almond milk for me and cow’s milk for Mr. GFE. I can bake/cook all day long with non-dairy milk and I won’t hear a word of protest from him, but he just can’t take non-dairy milk on his cereal. It has to be dairy milk for that, so you’ll always see several kinds in my cart. I have a wimpy blender, too, and for date-sweetened concoctions, I have been using Maggie’s trick of soaking the dates in boiling water for 5 minutes beforehand. It works great. 🙂 I think if this amazing looking recipe was on the back of the almond milk carton (like Elana’s Chocolate Chip Cookies on the almond flour bag!), that the almond milk companies would sell a lot more of their product!


  12. Jill says:

    Wow Alisa you described my shopping cart. I am a non milk drinker as I don’t care for it, even as a kid. I only used it on my cereal. My son was allergic to milk from day one (almost 22 yrs ago), my daughter is lactose intolerant and at the age of 32 my husband developed an allergy to milk. So I only purchase milk alternatives but there are few cheeses that I love and they occasionally make it into my cart.

  13. Hannah says:

    This. Is. Magnificent. I can’t get almond milk here, let alone vanilla almond milk, and I haven’t yet bought a cheesecloth with which to make my own… but I’m thinking soymilk and some almond and extracts could do almost as well 🙂

    • alisa says:

      Are you serious? I though Australia was the first place to have almond milk. Oh wait, almonds are super expensive down there aren’t they. If only you liked macadamias! Macadamia milk would be so rich (and easy to make since it’s a soft nut)!

      • Hannah says:

        It turns out I lied… there’s *one* brand of almond milk at the supermarket, but it looks a bit dodgy and has no calicum added, so for the minute I’ll stick with soy 😛

  14. Debi says:

    I’m one of those you’ll see cheese and non-dairy milk in my cart. 😀 It wasn’t to cut back on dairy, it’s because I’ve always HATED cow’s milk. I’ve never been fond of yogurt either. I do love cheese, but in the last couple of years, I have cut back. I also still use butter and other dairy products on occasion. Always willing to try non-dairy alternatives, though!

  15. Natalie says:

    I have terrible reactions to milk, sour cream, cottage cheese, etc. but harder cheeses and butter are a ton better for me. If I want milk, I love almond milk! This looks delicious!

  16. Kathryn says:

    I. Must. Make it 😐

  17. Fiona says:

    Oh I wish bananas weren’t so expensive here at the moment!

  18. oh yum! Love almond milk, although it has been awhile since I have made any. My favorite “milk” is coconut 🙂

  19. Alta says:

    I love almond milk. I’ve started making my own on a regular basis – I have to shake it up before using it, but it’s so creamy. This looks SO good.

  20. Sea says:

    I want to try this with homemade almond milk, too! Our cart always has dairy AND non-dairy ingredients because my DH loves milk (for acidic tummy reasons) and so even if I’m non-dairy I get it for him. I get the non-dairy stuff to play with. I like homemade milks so much better than the processed stuff, usually, but it is time consuming so when I’m in a rush i use the processed. 🙂

    I have bananas and dates! I think I”ll soak some almonds tonight. 😀


    • alisa says:

      Let me know how it goes with homemade almond milk! I confess that the darn stuff is so cheap (keep getting it for $1 for those half gallons with coupons!) that I haven’t been making it lately.

      BTW, I commented on your recent post – but of course it is in spam 🙂

  21. Hiya lady! I’ve been meaning to reach out to you, but i’m slow! I was wondering if you would be interested in doing a guest post during the sugar free challenge.

    I actually think it could be links to 10 of your fav recipes on your site along with some of why you chose to cut out sugar… or if you’d rather do a post on Dairy Free and links that would be cool too. I just know you have a ton of great stuff because i’m always perusing for ideas!

    Let me know

  22. I’m one of those people who buys non-dairy stuff and dairy cheese! And it’s because of the reason you give; that the plain soya yoghurt is SO much better than plain dairy! I love the carton coconut milk too and prefer that to dairy in smoothies 🙂
    I’ve never bought almond milk though, might have to give it a try because this smoothie looks great!

  23. This sounds amazing with the almond butter addition, gotta try it!

  24. This looks totally delish! I have all ingredients on hand, so I just am going to make it for myself right now, since my kiddos are off at camp this morning. And, although, I am one of those that is not totally dairy-free but limit my intake, I have to say that I love almond (and coconut milk) instead of real dairy in all of my smoothies! Oh, and by the way, both of my boys love eating their smoothies with a spoon too. They say it reminds them of eating ice cream! LOL

  25. Alternate title:
    CAUTION: Do not read while hungry

    Aahhhhhhhh! So thick and creamy!

  26. Marianne says:

    Great looking shake! Of course, I find all these recipes while without a working blender of any sort. Le sigh.

    And I’m a non-dairy milk buyer who has butter, cheese, and yogurt in their shopping cart. Has nothing to do with being dairy free or cutting back – it’s all about taste.

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