Spiriteds, what is even happening with the weather? One minute it’s 20 degrees outside, cold but expected in the Midwest during the winter. The next minute it’s 20 degrees below zero, and the day after that it’s sunny and 45. Ya’ll, I can’t even with this. WHAT SEASON ARE WE IN? And what do I even make for dinner? Should I be grilling or making soup? I still can’t decide. It depends on the day. But one recipe I’m all over right now, no matter the weather, is Dairy-Free Chai Tea. Rich in flavor, free of the allergens, and ready in minutes, this tea is another welcome addition to my warm beverage arsenal. And it keeps my hands warm while I sip a hot mug of it.
I found a traditional recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, the one I got as a wedding shower gift. It’s also the one with torn, smudged pages. You can tell just by looking at it which recipes are favorites. As you can guess, however, many of the recipes no longer fit our dietary needs. So, I went to work, recreating and adapting the recipe I found there to meet our needs. After several attempts, I found the right balance of ingredients, Spiriteds. We now have a Dairy-Free Chai Tea that also happens to be:
- Gluten-free, grain-free, and soy-free
- Vegan- and paleo-friendly
- Refined sugar-free
It also takes just minutes to make, but I confess, I let mine simmer and then steep a little longer than necessary. I want rich, robust flavors and deep brownish, reddish hues. Possibly, I also maybe go a little wild with the allspice, and I add a little more honey or agave nectar to get just the right amount of kick. I add a pinch of cardamom, but that’s a personal choice. You may want considerably more in your mug. I love that this recipe is so easy to customize. Being able to control the spices in this recipe is wonderful because many of the chai tea brands on the market just don’t sit well with me. Some gave me heartburn, others were too full of sugar, and others were downright expensive. This Dairy-Free Chai Tea recipe is easy on the budget, low on sweets, and big on taste.
When I prepare a batch, I almost always double it. And while you only need to let the tea simmer for about 10 minutes and then steep for about another 5, I simmer mine for 15 minutes and then steep for 10. I also use almond milk, but any milk alternative will do. Think coconut milk or cashew milk. Just about anything goes in Dairy-Free Chai Tea.
Additionally, choose between 100% pure honey (paleo) or agave nectar (vegan) for your sweetener. I typically start with a tablespoon or two and then add more as necessary. As for black tea, I just use a basic black tea and love it. It’s a generic brand from my local grocery store. So if you have a favorite tea, then use it. And if you don’t, go fancy only if YOU want to. Dairy-Free Chai Tea is delicious enough to stand on its own, fancy ingredients or otherwise. We aren’t exactly high-brow here, and since I wear a bathrobe and slippers with my sweatshirt and jeans during really cold days, rest assured I almost never lift my pinkie to sip a tea.
This is how we do crazy, unpredictable weather in the Midwest. Or at least, this is how I do it. All the clothing layers and a cup of hot tea. Stay warm and happy sipping, Spiriteds! Winter is tasting pretty good right about now!
- 1 black tea bag
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup almond milk (coconut and cashew milks would also work)
- 2 tablespoons 100% pure honey (paleo) or agave nectar (vegan)
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- Pinch of cardamom
- Combine tea, cinnamon stick, and water in small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add milk, sweetener, allspice, and cardamom and let steep for 5-10 minutes.
- Let cool and then ENJOY!
- Store any unused tea in refrigerator for about 2 days.