Thicker than milk (plant-based) but less rich than cream (also plant-based-based), this half-and-half is exactly what you need to boost your preparations’ smoothness.
They will marry this sweet half without question.
The Better Half for Optimal Health
There are some ingredients that we never see or notice until they’re brought to our attention. Sometimes they are completely forgotten.
This was exactly the case with half-and-half. Since I don’t drink coffee, it’s not something I’m familiar with.
When I made my lentils cottage pie last time, the recipe I was inspired by called this ingredient. Obviously, I needed to find a good plant-based replacement right away, half-and-half being dairy-based.
I stumbled upon a commercial almond-based product, but I was not satisfied with the final taste in my mashed potatoes. There was an almond aftertaste that bothered me. And so, I decided to take matters into my own hands and make a homemade one.
And that was a good thing. I didn’t regret it at all.
Thanks to the coconut cream and cashew milk, I created a silky liquid that could be drunk well alone. Pure and light on the tongue, its richness is just perfect. The coconut taste is imperceptible, and that of cashews only amplifies our pleasure.
Hold me back, I have a jar left in the fridge, and I’m afraid its safety is threatened.Jump to Recipe
What’s in half-and-half? What’s it made of?
It’s so simple! It’s made up of half heavy cream, half whole milk. And wham! You have half-and-half! The texture is thicker than milk but less rich than cream. I’m not exactly talking about half crème pâtissière and half Chantilly (whipped cream), or Capitole cream (as the French would call it), but I think we’re not far from it.
The featured cream can’t be whipped, but it adds richness without being as heavy as the cream alone. It’s a perfect balance.
And what about the vegan half-and-half? We’ll follow the same principle, and we’ll look for a similar texture.
However, it’ll consist of half coconut cream and half plant-based milk.Jump to Recipe
Is half-and-half Bad for you?
Let’s assume that creams contain a fair amount of fat. Understanding the preferences for fat in fluid milk can potentially inform your efforts to change your fat consumption habits or optimize consumer products. So let’s examine its composition and manufacturing process.
Traditional half-and-half generally contains more fat than any type of cow’s milk, with a fat content that usually varies between 10.5 and 18%, depending on its composition.
If it’s made from heavy cream, it will have 36% or more fat; made from light cream, it will have 17 to 30%.
Despite the name, fat-free half-and-half still contains fat: about 1.4 grams of fat per 100 grams (3.4 ounces). This is made from skimmed milk, thickened with various additives, such as corn syrup.
The result is a high carbohydrate product containing more sodium than any other milk or half-and-half product. (See this comparison table.)
Low Fat Half-and-Half is made from milk and cream like most other products. It contains about a half to a third of the fat content compared to standard half-and-half products.
In contrast, it will vary depending on the nuts used when made from canned coconut cream and vegetable milk. If you hope that it contains less fat, you’ll be disappointed to know that its content is around 85%.
Nevertheless, the fats will be whole, healthy, and devoid of questionable additives.
The manufacturing process
Ultimately, this type of product is usually homogenized (i.e., insanely mixed). For physical stability purposes, it is a process by which fat molecules are pulverized and reduced into droplets, including caseins and some whey proteins at the interface thereof.
Some believe that homogenization destroys nutrients and proteins and makes the fat—then healthy—rancid, and causes free radicals in the body.
Others claim that “These nanoglobules of fat reduced to the state of microns pass directly into the lymph and then into the blood without being digested by the intestine which does not recognize them” and that this process, therefore, promotes the development of cholesterol and obesity problems.
True or not, homogenization remains controversial.Jump to Recipe
Other Answers to Your Pressing Questions
No. Heavy cream is a thicker, richer cream that contains at least 36% dairy fat, which is almost double that of half-and-half.
Half-and-half combined with butter can be a simple substitute for many recipes that call for heavy cream. You can also use it to replace heavy cream without adding butter in some recipes, such as sauces and soups.
There is even less difference between light cream and half-and-half than between heavy cream and half-and-half. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration requires that products labeled as light cream contain between 18 and 30% dairy fat, which means it contains more fat than half-and-half but is not as rich and creamy as heavy cream.
What Goes in Half-and-Half?
- Coconut Cream – Get yourself a product that contains only coconut and water.
- Cashews – mixed in water, you’ll get cashew milk. This can be made separately and then added, or the cashews can be combined with other ingredients with water, and the cashew milk will be made automatically from the mixture.
- Soy Lecithin – thick and golden, this liquid consists of phospholipids extracted from soybean oil.
It’s used to emulsify or homogenize the fat (in general, we put 1 teaspoon for 1 cup of the volume). As the heading indicates, this ingredient is completely optional. The mashed potatoes will also be creamy without (but a little less).Jump to Recipe
How to Make Vegan Half-and-half Step by Step
1 / Mix the coconut cream, cashews, and water in the blender.
2 / Optionally add soy lecithin.
3 / Use in your recipes.
The Keys to Success: My Top Tips
Creates a smooth cream: use a high-speed mixer for an ultra-silky texture. If you don’t have this device, pass the liquid through a sieve.Jump to Recipe
It’s possible to create half-and-half with any plant-based milk that contains fat.
It can be made with coconut cream and:
- Almond milk
- Macadamia milk (Ooh! That must be to die for)
- Brazil nut milk
These variants consist of the fattest nuts, hence my choices.
9 Speedy and Delicious Ways to Use Half-and-Half (other than coffee)
You may have a quantity of half-and-half left, and you may not know what to do with it. Before letting it spoil, here are some meal ideas you can incorporate it into:
- Mashed potatoes;
- A quiche filling;
- Soups, like my broccoli and pea soup;
- A white Alfredo-style pasta sauce;
- Baked dishes;
- A smoothie;
- Drinks with chocolate milk or creamy milk;
- Pancakes, like my thin pancakes.
Make this Cream Now
A recipe will call for half-and-half to moderately increase the dish’s creaminess without achieving ostentatious richness one day or another.
You’ll then think about finding a good replacement for the conventional half-and-half without dairy products.
You’ll only have two options: buy a store-bought product or make your own cream.
The first choice implies that you have unwanted elements, while the second choice allows you to control the composition and the manufacturing process. Here, coconut cream and cashew milk will replace the cow’s milk of your preparations.
And you’ll have a finish that won’t disappoint you.
So, are you ready to get started?
Are you ready to raise the bar on your other recipes?
They’re just waiting to mingle with this silky texture until the last drop.
- ½ cup coconut cream (Notes)
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup cashew nuts, ideally previously soaked 30 min before (Notes)
- 1 teaspoon soy lecithin (Optional)
- Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
If you try this recipe, I want to know! Leave me a comment below or share it on Instagram. Tag @biting.into.life with the hashtag #bitingintolife
I’m on a mission to help you eat nutrient-dense, easy, and mouth-watering plant-based meals so you can feel energized, well-equipped, and confident to eat and cook better.