I literally said, out loud, the title of this post when I first saw this new-to-me product. Quinoa Non-Dairy Beverage? Really? But I was intrigued, and enjoy trying new things, so I bought some. Plus, I was at the dollar store, so it only set me back $3 to try all three varieties.
I first thought that it was super strange to make a beverage out of a grain, but the more I thought about it, the less bizarre it seemed. One of the most popular beverages in the world is made from grain: beer. Plus, I see horchata all over Los Angeles, and that’s a beverage popular throughout Central and South America that’s commonly made from rice or barley. And there’s tons of soy and almond milk at supermarkets, and while soybeans and almonds aren’t technically grains, they are solid plant-based items that don’t at first seem like they would lend themselves well to liquid applications.
So, over the course of a week, I tried Suzie’s Quinoa Non-Dairy Beverage (there must be a legal reason why they can’t call it ‘quinoa milk’) in a variety of ways.
I tried each flavor straight up, directly from the carton. I was curious if drinking Quinoa Non-Dairy Beverage would result in a milk mustache, and it didn’t. It’s too thin.
The three varieties I bought were: Unsweetened, Vanilla Unsweetened, and Vanilla Sweetened with Agave. The flavor was mild and thin, like almond or soy milk, but a little grainy. Have yoy ever tasted a raw piece of quinoa or a raw oat? There was definitely a little bit of that going on.
Vanilla Unsweetened was my favorite. The vanilla added some flavor, but it wasn’t overly sweet, like the Vanilla Sweetened with Agave was. And the plain Unsweetened just didn’t taste good enough.
I also tried them in protein shakes and smoothies. I tried the Unsweetened with some Nuzest Clean Lean Protein powder (I have the Just Natural variety right now, which is also unsweetened), but the combination of two unflavored products not surprisingly led to a bland, unflavored shake. So I added in a 10-calorie strawberry lemonade flavor packet (another dollar store find), and that made it much better.
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I also tried the Vanilla Unsweetened in a protein shake with my Nuzest Clean Lean Protein, and had a killer idea: What if I added some diet orange soda syrup (that I normally use with my SodaStream)? The orange and the vanilla would combine and make it taste like a creamsicle!
I added too much diet orange syrup the first time (a little goes a long way), but the second time I did this, it worked out really well.
What I liked most of all, though, was one of the smoothies I made: Vanilla Sweetened with Agave + Nuzest + Frozen Raspberries + Greens. Great color, great smoothie.
Ultimately, Quinoa Non-Dairy Beverage seems like a good alternative to milk and other milk substitutes. In addition to being dairy-free, it’s also vegan, gluten-free, and fat-free. The unsweetened varieties have 40 calories per serving, and the sweetened one has 54. It’s a good source of vitamins A, D, E, and calcium.
Quinoa is known for being perhaps the only plant-based food that’s a complete protein, meaning it has all the essential amino acids. That’s a good reason to eat quinoa, although you’re not going to get a lot of protein in this product. There’s only 4 grams of protein in the entire carton (1 gram per serving).
I also love that it’s a product of Spain. That’s where my dad was born!
So would I buy it again? Maybe the Vanilla Unsweetened. That one’s my favorite. And if I couldn’t consume dairy or had other dietary restrictions, I’d buy it again in a heartbeat.
What I am going to keep doing is trying new things. I love expanding my horizons, learning, and experimenting!
Keep it up, David!
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