Best Non Alcoholic Beer

Non alcoholic beer is on trend and for good reason: it actually tastes good! Here’s how to pick the best…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

Non alcoholic beer is on trend and for good reason: it actually tastes good! Here’s how to pick the best non alcoholic beer.

Best Non Alcoholic Beer

A new type beer of beer is spreading like wildfire, and here’s thing: you can sip it after a workout or enjoy it while pregnant. It’s non alcoholic beer! Alcohol free beer of the past tasted flat and watery. But new technology has enabled a way to make non alcoholic beer that actually tastes good. (Yes, it’s not just O’Doul’s anymore!)

Here at A Couple Cooks, we’re created hundreds of cocktail recipes and love appreciating great alcohol. However, we’ve found ourselves moving toward non alcoholic beer for our everyday drinking! Alex loves to sip on one in the evening with a book. And while I’m pregnant, there’s nothing better than being able to grab a “beer” at my local bar with a friend.

The market has exploded with brands and types: but which is the best non alcoholic beer? Here’s a little background on the product and our favorite brands and types.

What is non alcoholic beer?

US federal law defines a non alcoholic beer as a beer with less than 0.5% alcohol by volume. This type of beer attempts to approximate the flavor of standard beer without the inebriating effects of alcohol. This makes it ideal for enjoying responsibly, such as before driving, after a workout, or while pregnant.

Keep in mind: because beers labeled “non-alcoholic” contain a very small amount of alcohol, some US states require you to be of legal drinking age to purchase it.

Non alcoholic beer also has less calories than alcoholic beer, making it a relatively healthy drink option. The calories in a non alcoholic beer range from 50 to 100 calories per drink, whereas a standard beer can range from 150 to 200 calories.

What does it taste like?

Complaints about non alcoholic beer in the past has been that the flavor is flat and diluted. But new technologies have emerged that allow brewers to create robust flavors without alcohol. One is called controlled fermentation, which allows the brewer to produce beer without alcohol instead of removing the alcohol after brewing, which is detrimental to the flavor. For more on beer technology, see this NPR Article, “Non-Alcoholic Beers Are Finally Good” or listen to the podcast What’s Your Problem? “Beer Without the Buzz.

So what does it taste like? Many non alcoholic beers on the market taste full-flavored and satisfying, though everything varies based on brand. In general, the beverage looks like a beer with the foam and color, and tastes like a beer with hops and malt flavors. The only thing missing is the effervescence that comes from alcohol.

With some brands, you might at first mistake it for a real beer on first taste. A few sips in you’ll likely find it’s not exactly the same as an alcoholic beer, but the overall experience makes it absolutely worth drinking.

Best Non Alcoholic Beer

What is the best non alcoholic beer?

Now for the big question: what’s the best non alcoholic beer? One general recommendation: avoid non-alcoholic versions from your favorite standard breweries and instead look for beers from companies that specialize in non-alcoholic brewing. The brands and types available at your liquor store may vary. After taste testing the choices available at our local liquor store, we recommend the following brands and beers:

  1. Athletic Brewing Co. Hazy IPA. A great IPA; complex and hop-forward, with a juicy, floral and subtly citrusy character. This beer has won several awards and has a fan following. You can browse more types at Athletic Brewing Co.
  2. Clausthaler Original. This German brand is a favorite of ours: you’d almost mistake it for the real thing! The flavor is crisp and fresh, with a refreshing dose of hops. Browse more types at Clausthaler.
  3. Brewdog Punk AF. This light, golden beer has a clean, hoppy flavor that doesn’t taste like you’re missing out. Tropical fruits, caramel, grassy and pine notes precede a lightly bitter finish. Browse more types at Brewdog.

A few brands to avoid? We’d suggest side-stepping Two Roots Brewing or Lagunitas; the flavor can’t compete with the brands above.

What do you think is the best?

We want to hear from you! Let us know what you think is the best non alcoholic beer in the comments below. We’ll continually update this list as the market grows and changes.

More drinks and cocktails

Love to enjoy a drink? Here are a few more of our popular alcoholic drink and cocktail posts:

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

How to Make a Shrub Drink

A shrub drink is a simple, refreshing beverage made with vinegar and fruit! Drink it as a cocktail or mocktail. …

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

A shrub drink is a simple, refreshing beverage made with vinegar and fruit! Drink it as a cocktail or mocktail. 

Shrub drink

Here’s a fruity, refreshing drink everyone should try at least once: the Shrub! This sweet and sour drink works as a cocktail or a mocktail, pairing a fruity vinegar syrup with soda. This historical drink has become popular at bars, restaurants and with home cooks in the past years, because it’s so refreshing and ripe for unlimited fruity variations. It’s very simple to make a shrub drink at home: all you need are 2 days and a bit of fruit. It makes a killer cocktail and just as killer mocktail!

What is a shrub?

The shrub is a drink made with a fruit-infused vinegar syrup and sparkling water, either as a soft drink or with alcohol to make it a cocktail. The drink stems back to 17th century England, where vinegar was used to preserve berries and other fruits. Shrubs became popular in America in the 19th century. The typical method was to pour vinegar over berries and allow the mixture to ferment for a few days, then add sugar or honey and reduce the mixture into a syrup.

Shrubs went out of fashion after the invention of refrigeration, but they have surged in popularity today. They’re featured on American bar and restaurant menus, where bartenders often have their own signature flavors and blends.

Shrub drink

Making the shrub syrup

After we enjoyed a basil shrub on a recent night out, we were inspired to try a hand at shrub making ourselves. Turns out, it’s incredibly simple and easily customizable to the ingredients you have on hand. Here’s the basic process:

  • Combine equal parts sugar and vinegar. We like the flavor of red wine vinegar here, but you can also use apple cider vinegar, Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar. Stay away from white vinegar (it’s much too strong) or balsamic vinegar (also too strong). You can add a drizzle of balsamic to a wine or cider vinegar if you like the flavor.
  • Chop and muddle fruit, then add to the vinegar. Use the same quantity of sugar and vinegar. This is where you can get creative! We used blueberries here and gently mashed them before adding to the vinegar mixture. Other ideas? Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, apples, peaches, pears or plums would work well here.
  • Add herbs or spices if desired. If you’d like, add any herbs you have on hand or whole spices. Some ideas include rosemary, thyme, mint, sage, cardamom pods, peppercorns, star anise, or cinnamon sticks.
  • Refrigerate for 2 days, then strain. This allows the flavors to fully permeate into the syrup. After 2 days, strain through a fine mesh strainer.
What is a shrub

How to make a shrub drink (mocktail)

Got your shrub syrup? Now you can make a shrub drink! One nice thing about a shrub is that it’s equally as good as a cocktail and a mocktail (we think). Mixing the syrup with bubbles makes a tangy, sweet tart drink that’s incredibly refreshing. Here’s what to do:

  • Add 1 ounce shrub syrup and 3 ounces sparkling water to a glass. You can mix it right in the glass! 1 ounce equals 2 tablespoons, if you’re measuring with tablespoons.
  • Stir well! If you don’t stir well and you drink with a straw, you can get a surprisingly vinegary first sip (it happened to us). Make sure it’s full integrated as a drink.
  • Garnish. Add ice and garnish with fresh berries and herbs.
Shrub drink

How to make a shrub cocktail

A shrub cocktail is a fun and refreshing way to make a summer drink. It’s great for parties or vacations because you can mix up a big jar of the syrup in advance. The recipe below makes 1 ½ cups shrub syrup, enough for 12 drinks. Here’s how to make a shrub cocktail:

  • Add 1 ounce shrub syrup, 1 ½ ounces gin or aquavit, 1 teaspoon simple syrup and 2 ounces sparkling water to a glass. The flavors are great with gin, though you could use vodka as well. We also like it with aquavit, a Scandinavian distilled spirit. We also found the flavors could use a little extra sweetness for the cocktail version: you can use simple syrup or maple syrup.
  • Stir well! Stir well to make sure the syrup becomes fully incorporated in the drink.
  • Garnish. Add ice and garnish with fresh berries and herbs.
Shrub cocktail

More fruity drinks

Love to mix up special drinks? Here are a few more fun cocktails and mocktails that are great for summer:

This shrub drink recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Print
Shrub drink

How to Make a Shrub (Cocktail or Non-Alcoholic)


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 2 days
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 48 hours
  • Yield: 1 ½ cups syrup

Description

The shrub drink is a simple, refreshing beverage made with vinegar and fruit! Drink it as a cocktail or mocktail.


Ingredients

For the syrup (makes 1 ½ cups, enough for 12 drinks)

  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup fruit, chopped or muddled* (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, plums, apples, pears, etc)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Optional: add whole herbs or spices like rosemary, mint, thyme, cardamom pods, peppercorns, star anise, etc

For the cocktail

  • 1 ounce** shrub syrup
  • 1 ½ ounce gin or aquavit
  • 1 teaspoon simple syrup or maple syrup
  • 2 ounces sparkling water

For the mocktail

  • 1 ounce shrub syrup
  • 6 to 8 ounces sparkling water (to taste)

Instructions

  1. Make the syrup (2 days): In a covered container, stir together the vinegar and sugar. Chop and/or muddle (lightly mash) the fruit and add it to the mixture, along with any whole herbs. Refrigerate for 2 days.
  2. Strain: Strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a jar.
  3. Make the drinks: When ready to drink, place the shrub syrup, optional gin or aquavit and simple syrup, and sparkling water in a glass and stir well. If desired, garnish with more fruit and herbs.

Notes

*Shown in the photograph is a blueberry mint shrub.

**1 ounce = 2 tablespoons

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: Cocktail
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Shrub drink, shrub cocktail, what is a shrub

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Mint Lemonade

This mint lemonade recipe is easy and refreshing! The cooling, herbaceous notes of mint pair perfectly with the zing of…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This mint lemonade recipe is easy and refreshing! The cooling, herbaceous notes of mint pair perfectly with the zing of lemon.

Mint Lemonade

Here’s a beverage that’s ideal for summer sipping: Mint Lemonade! This recipe is ideal for when you have loads of this fresh herb on hand. The cooling, herbaceous notes of the mint are a perfect pair with the acidic pop of the lemon. What could be more refreshing? It’s simple to whip up and perfect for parties and entertaining. Or, make a big pitcher to drink off of all week! Here’s our master method.

Ingredients for mint lemonade

This mint lemonade recipe skips making a simple syrup on the stovetop, and goes right to the blender. In fact, all you need to do is blend mint and sugar, then mix it with lemon juice to form lemonade. As a note, this recipe is best in summer you’ve got fresh mint to spare. It calls for 1 cup mint leaves, which can get expensive if you’re buying store-bought out of season. Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Fresh mint
  • Lemons
  • Sugar
Mint Lemonade recipe

How to make mint lemonade (basic steps)

It’s very easy to make your own homemade lemonade! The most time consuming part? Juicing the lemons! Here are the basic steps for how to make this mint lemonade (or jump to the recipe below for quantities):

  • Juice the lemons. Using a press juicer is the quickest way to juice lemons: it gets out the most juice and saves your fingers from tiring out from squeezing. The next best choice? A handheld citrus juicer.
  • Blend the mint, sugar and water. Give it a whiz in the blender.
  • Double strain it with a fine mesh strainer! This is the important part. You’ll want to strain the liquid twice to avoid floating sediment that forms from the blended mint.
  • Mix the pitcher. Then mix it in a pitcher with the lemon juice and more cold water.
  • Garnish with fresh mint! This is also important. Garnishing with another sprig of mint is important for getting the right mint aroma to each sip.
Mint lemonade

Variations on this recipe

There are other fun ways to mix up this mint lemonade recipe: like making it sparkling or spiked! Here are a few fun variations:

More lemonade recipes

Want more homemade lemonade flavors? Once you’ve whipped up mint lemonade, try these variations:

This mint lemonade recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

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Mint Lemonade

Mint Lemonade


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 drinks

Description

This mint lemonade recipe is easy and refreshing! The cooling, herbaceous notes of mint pair perfectly with the zing of lemon.


Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups fresh squeezed lemon juice (7 to 8 large lemons)*
  • 7 cups water, divided
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup mint leaves, loosely packed
  • Ice, for serving

Instructions

  1. Juice the lemons. Add the lemon juice to a pitcher with 6 cups cold water.
  2. In a blender, combine the sugar, mint leaves and 1 cup warm water. Blend until fully combined.
  3. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Then strain it back through the strainer into the pitcher with the lemon juice. (Double straining helps to remove sediment that would otherwise form at the top of the liquid.)
  4. Add ice to the pitcher. Garnish each glass with a sprig of fresh mint, to get the most of the mint flavor.  Serve immediately or store refrigerated for up to 3 days.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: Lemonade
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Mint lemonade, mint lemonade recipe

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothies are slightly sweet, super creamy, deliciously filling, and make a fast and easy snack or breakfast!

The post Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Peanut butter banana smoothies have been a favorite snack (or dessert) of mine since I was a teenager. I usually always have the ingredients on have on hand, they’re ultra-creamy, just sweet enough to kill my sweet tooth, and filling enough to stand in for breakfast. Plus, they’re INEXPENSIVE. There are a lot of ways you can modify this simple banana smoothie if you want to make it your own, so if you haven’t tried this one yet, definitely put it on your list!

Peanut butter banana smoothie in a glass with a yellow striped straw.

Use any Nut Butter

I love the classic peanut butter-banana combo, but if you don’t like peanut butter or can’t have it for other reasons, feel free to substitute it with any type of nut or seed butter. Almond butter or Sun Butter would be awesome, and it would also be fun to experiment with flavored nut butters. The nut butter makes this smoothie extra rich and delicious, so don’t skip this ingredient!

Use Frozen Bananas for the Best Texture

The key to getting this ultra-creamy milkshake-like consistency is to use frozen bananas. Not only will frozen bananas make the smoothie extra thick and creamy, but they also keep it cold without having to add ice, which would water down the smoothie. So anytime I have bananas that are on their last leg, I make sure to peel, slice, and freeze them to use in smoothies and other desserts later.

Use Any Type of Milk

This smoothie recipe is incredibly flexible. You can use any type of dairy or non-dairy milk for this smoothie, keeping in mind that the creamier the milk, the creamier the smoothie will be. I like whole milk the best, but I think coconut would also pair nicely with these flavors!

What Else Can I Add?

As mentioned above, there are a lot of different things you can add to this smoothie to take it in a different direction. Try adding some of these ingredients to your banana smoothie:

  • Quick oats (about ¼ cup)
  • Coconut
  • Cinnamon
  • Ground flaxseed
  • Cocoa powder
  • Instant coffee
  • Chia seeds
  • Spinach
Overhead view of a peanut butter banana smoothie in a glass with cinnamon.
Side view of a glass full of peanut butter banana smoothie with a yellow striped straw.

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothies are slightly sweet, super creamy, deliciously filling, and make a fast and easy snack or breakfast!
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Total Cost $0.71 each
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 (approx. 12 oz.)
Calories 461kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen banana, sliced $0.22
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter $0.14
  • 1 tsp brown sugar $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract $0.13
  • 1 cup milk $0.20

Instructions

  • Add the sliced banana, peanut butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and milk to a blender.
  • Blend the ingredients until smooth. If the smoothie is too thick, add more milk. If the smoothie is too thin, add more frozen banana. Taste and adjust the sweetness to your liking.

Nutrition

Serving: 1smoothie | Calories: 461kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 25g | Sodium: 232mg | Fiber: 5g

How to Make a Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie – Step by Step Photos

Smoothie ingredients in a blender cup.

Add one sliced frozen banana to a blender along with 2 Tbsp peanut butter, 1 tsp brown sugar, and ¼ tsp vanilla extract.

Milk being poured into the blender cup.

Add one cup of milk. I use whole milk, but you can use the milk of your choice.

Blended smoothie in the blender cup, from above.

Blend the ingredients until smooth. If the smoothie is too thick, you can add more milk. If it’s too liquidy for your taste, you can add more frozen sliced banana.

Side view of a glass full of peanut butter banana smoothie with a yellow striped straw.

Try These Other Smoothie Recipes:

The post Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Raspberry Iced Tea

This fresh raspberry iced tea is bursting with tangy flavor! It’s easy to make with real berries, ideal for casual…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This fresh raspberry iced tea is bursting with tangy flavor! It’s easy to make with real berries, ideal for casual sipping or entertaining.

Raspberry Iced Tea

Here’s a bright beverage that’s perfect for warm weather: Raspberry Iced Tea! This recipe uses real berries to infuse a tangy pop into this summertime drink. It’s balanced with just the right sweetness to make the berries sing. What’s more fun than adding fresh fruit to tea? This one is great for outdoor entertaining and festive occasions, or for casual sipping on your patio (we like both). The flavor is beyond refreshing, and making it homemade is loads tastier than store-bought. Here’s how it’s done!

Ingredients for raspberry iced tea

Making raspberry iced tea is simple: no need to simmer a raspberry syrup on the stovetop! You’ll simply blend the berries with water and sugar, then add them to tea and chill. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Frozen raspberries: Frozen berries are much more economical than fresh, and the flavor is great. Feel free to use fresh if you have them!
  • Lemon: fresh citrus accentuates the sweet tart berries
  • Sugar: sugar is necessary to balance the flavor here, otherwise it’s overly tart
  • Black tea bags: Black tea has the best flavor here. Keep in mind it has caffeine, but only about half the caffeine level that’s in a cup of coffee.
Raspberry Iced Tea

Tips for straining the raspberries

The main part of this raspberry iced tea that requires effort is straining the raspberries. Because raspberry seeds make unpleasant floaties in a drink, you’ll want to remove them as part of the process. Throw the berries in a blender with water, lemon juice and sugar, then blend until a puree forms. Here’s what to expect when you’re straining:

  • Use a fine mesh strainer. You want to remove all the seeds here, so a fine mesh strainer is key for getting a smooth syrup-like texture.
  • Use a spatula to gradually force the syrup through. It will take longer than you think! But keep forcing it through with a spatula until all the seeds are removed.
Raspberry Iced Tea

Garnishing the drink

If you’re using this raspberry iced tea for entertaining or parties, the garnish is where it’s at! Add some additional raspberries or lemon slices to the pitcher or each glass. Colorful straws also add a fun element: we like these striped paper straws.

Tip: If you don’t want to buy more raspberries, save out a handful for the garnish from the 2 cups you’re using for the pitcher. (Saving out a few doesn’t hurt!)

More types of iced tea

Iced tea is ideal for entertaining: we love it in the summer for cookouts and barbecues! Here are a few other iced tea ideas in addition to this raspberry iced tea:

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Raspberry Iced Tea

Raspberry Iced Tea


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 to 9 cups

Description

This fresh raspberry iced tea is bursting with tangy flavor! It’s easy to make with real berries, ideal for casual sipping or entertaining.


Ingredients

  • 8 cups water, divided
  • 6 black tea bags
  • 2 cups frozen* or fresh raspberries (8 ounces), plus more for garnish
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • ¾ cup sugar

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan, heat 4 cups water to a simmer. Turn off the heat and add the tea bags. Allow to steep for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place the raspberries*, lemon juice, sugar and 4 cups water in a blender and blend until smooth. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, using a spatula to push the liquid through (discard the seeds; this takes a few minutes to complete). 
  3. When the tea is steeped, remove the bags and pour it into the bowl with the raspberry water. Allow to cool until room temperature, about 10 minutes.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a pitcher and refrigerate at least 2 hours before drinking. Stores for up to 4 days.

Notes

*We prefer frozen berries because it’s much more economical and the flavor is great. Feel free to use fresh if you have them! If you’d like, save out a handful of the berries for garnishing the pitcher before blending.

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Tea
  • Cuisine: Tea
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Raspberry iced tea

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Cucumber Lemonade

This cucumber lemonade is zingy and refreshing: perfect for summer! This green veggie adds the cooling vibe of spa water.…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This cucumber lemonade is zingy and refreshing: perfect for summer! This green veggie adds the cooling vibe of spa water.

Cucumber Lemonade

Cucumber is great in salads and sauces…but an even better use for this green veggie, in our opinion? In drinks! Here’s one that’s absolutely perfect for summer: Cucumber Lemonade! The vegetable adds a cooling, vegetal finish to any drink that’s reminiscent of spa water. Combine that with the zing of the lemon, and it’s the ideal drink for sipping on the patio for a summer barbecue. It’s easy to make: here’s how it’s done!

Ingredients for cucumber lemonade

Cucumber lemonade is simple to whip up using a blender for bringing out the flavor of this green vegetable. Blend the cucumber with sugar, then mix it with lemon juice to form lemonade. You can use any type of cucumber you have: a standard cucumber or English cucumber. English cucumber is typically our preference for salads because of its thin skin and lack of seeds. But you can use a standard cucumber here if you peel and remove the seeds: so either works! You’ll need:

  • Cucumber
  • Lemons
  • Sugar
Cucumber Lemonade

How to make cucumber lemonade (basic steps)

Making homemade lemonade is easier than you think! the only time consuming part is juicing the lemons. Here are a few notes on the process, or jump to the recipe below for quantities:

  • Juice the lemons. Using a press juicer is the quickest way to juice lemons: it gets out the most juice and saves your fingers from tiring out from squeezing. The next best choice? A handheld citrus juicer.
  • Blend the cucumber, sugar and water. Give it a whiz in the blender.
  • Strain it with a fine mesh strainer! This removes any sediment that might float on the top of the surface of the lemonade.
  • Mix the pitcher. Mix the cucumber syrup with lemon juice and water in a pitcher. That’s it!

For the garnish

Serving this cucumber lemonade for a party or entertaining guests? It’s nice to add a few garnishes to the glass to make it look festive. Here’s what we like to do:

  • Cucumber slices: Add a few cucumber slices to the glass or pitcher; you’ll need to buy an extra cucumber for this.
  • Lemon wedges: Lemon wedges or wheels also look lovely in a glass or pitcher!
  • Colored straws: It’s all about the presentation! We like adding these striped paper straws to glasses.
Cucumber Lemonade

Variations on cucumber lemonade

Want to add a spin on this cucumber lemonade? Here are a few ways to step it up:

More lemonade flavors? Try Ginger Lemonade, Mint Lemonade, Strawberry Lemonade, Raspberry Lemonade or Watermelon Lemonade.

More cucumber drinks

There are many of ways to add this green vegetable to drinks, from cocktails to water! Here are a few ideas you’ll love:

This cucumber lemonade recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Print
Cucumber Lemonade

Cucumber Lemonade


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings

Description

This cucumber lemonade is zingy and refreshing: perfect for summer! This green veggie adds the cooling vibe of spa water.


Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups fresh squeezed lemon juice (7 to 8 large lemons, plus more for garnish)*
  • 1 cup peeled and seeded cucumber (1 large cucumber, plus more for garnish)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (or coconut sugar)
  • 6 cups water, divided
  • Ice

Instructions

  1. Juice the lemons. Peel the cucumber and remove the seeds with a spoon (if using an English cucumber, you can skip this step).
  2. Add the cucumber, sugar and 2 cups warm water to a blender and blend until smooth. Strain the liquid through fine mesh sieve into a pitcher, using a spatula to push the liquid through (discard the pulp; this takes a few minutes to complete).
  3. To the pitcher with the cucumber mixture, add 4 cups cold water and the fresh squeezed lemon juice. Add a few handfuls ice and serve. If desired, garnish with extra cucumber slices and lemon wedges. 
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: Lemonade
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Cucumber lemonade

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

El Diablo Cocktail

The El Diablo cocktail is a must-make tequila drink! It’s sweet tart and spicy, starring black currant liqueur, lime and…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

The El Diablo cocktail is a must-make tequila drink! It’s sweet tart and spicy, starring black currant liqueur, lime and ginger beer.

El diablo cocktail

Here’s a highball that immediately shot to the top our favorite tequila drinks: the El Diablo cocktail! This one flies under the radar, but take one sip and you’ll become a new convert. Bold berries, zingy lime, and spicy ginger complement the bite of the tequila in a way that’s indescribable. You’ve just got to taste! Since it’s a highball drink, it’s as easy as pouring the ingredients into an ice-filled glass.

What’s in the El Diablo cocktail?

The El Diablo cocktail is a highball drink made with tequila, crème de cassis (black currant liqueur), lime juice, and ginger beer. The drink was invented by Trader Vic in the 1940’s, a restaurant owner considered the grandfather of Tiki drinks (he invented the Mai Tai and others). The first reference to El Diablo was in his 1946 book called “Trader Vic’s Book of Food and Drink” where he claims it as his original recipe.

The first recipe for this drink was a highball built right in the glass, but modern versions indicate to shake and strain. Our version goes back to the original (because, why dirty a cocktail shaker?). Here’s what you’ll need for the El Diablo:

  • Tequila reposado
  • Crème de cassis
  • Lime juice
  • Ginger beer

The use of ginger beer may remind you of another famous highball cocktail: the Moscow Mule! The El Diablo is similar to a Mexican mule, but adds creme de cassis.

Creme de cassis
De Kuyper is an inexpensive brand of crème de cassis that’s widely available

What is Crème de Cassis?

Is it worth grabbing a bottle of crème de cassis for this recipe? We give an emphatic yes. Though of course, this is the ideal cocktail to make after you’ve purchased a bottle for a Kir Royale. Here’s more about this liqueur:

  • Crème de cassis is a dark, sweet liqueur made black currants. It’s made in Burgundy, France and first became available in 1841.
  • How much does crème de cassis cost? It’s an inexpensive liquor: you can find a 750 ml bottle for as low as $10. We like the brand Drillaud.
  • What cocktails use creme de cassis? It’s most popularly used in the Kir Royale where it’s paired with champagne. Also try it as a Cassis Spritz (substitute it for Aperol in an Aperol Spritz), or substitute it for Chambord in a French Martini.

Want a substitute for crème de cassis? You can use Chambord (black raspberry liqueur) or crème de mure (blackberry liqueur).

El diablo cocktail

Tips for the El Diablo cocktail

The El Diablo cocktail is fast and easy: and you can build it right in the serving glass! Here are a few tips for making this quick drink:

  • Build it right in the glass. Many modern recipes recipes indicate to shake and strain this drink. But why spend the extra effort? Make it as a traditional highball cocktail, right in the glass (that’s the way Trader Vic’s original 1946 recipe indicates).
  • Use tequila reposado. The vanilla and oak notes from aged tequila reposado add just the right sophistication to the flavor. Use an inexpensive to mid-range reposado here (save the premium stuff for sipping). If all you have is tequila blanco, it works too!

More tequila cocktails

Of course, we all love a great Classic Margarita. But there are so many more great tequila cocktails to try! Here are a few more tequila drinks to put on your radar:

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El diablo cocktail

El Diablo


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink

Description

The El Diablo cocktail is a must-make tequila drink! It’s sweet tart and spicy, starring black currant liqueur, lime and ginger beer.


Ingredients


Instructions

  1. Add the tequila, crème de cassis and lime juice to an ice filled highball glass.
  2. Top with the ginger beer and stir gently. Serve immediately.

Notes

*To convert to tablespoons, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: El diablo cocktail

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Quick Chickpea Tacos

These chickpea tacos are a fast way to dinner! This crowd pleaser pairs a flavorful filling of garbanzos with guacamole,…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

These chickpea tacos are a fast way to dinner! This crowd pleaser pairs a flavorful filling of garbanzos with guacamole, pico and slaw.

Chickpea tacos

Here’s a dinner idea for when you’re not sure what to cook: Chickpea Tacos! This plant based recipe does heavy lifting with a short cook time and big flavors. Garbanzo beans might not strike you as a taco filling (and honestly, Alex was a little wary here). But they make a flavorful filling coated in cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika, punched up with a hit of zesty lime. Throw it all in a tortilla with guacamole and toppings, and this fast weeknight dinner is done in 20 minutes. PS, it’s plant-based, too!

Elements in chickpea tacos

Need dinner ideas for tonight? These chickpea tacos are designed as a workhorse recipe to get quick, nourishing food on the table fast. We love recipes like this: simple to whip up and full of big flavors. (In fact, we wrote a whole book about it!) These

  • Red cabbage
  • Carrot
  • Chickpeas
  • Spices: cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, kosher salt
  • Olive oil
  • Lime juice
  • Sour cream (or cashew cream or omit for vegan)
  • Guacamole
  • Pico de gallo
Chickpea tacos

Making the chickpea filling

The chickpea filling in these tacos is loaded with savory spices to make these legumes sing! It’s possible these tacos could convert people who are chickpea wary, but this recipe is intended for chickpea lovers (like ourselves!). Here are a few notes on what makes the filling work:

  • The blend of spices is similar to a fajita blend. Make sure to find smoked paprika: its subtly smoky flavor brings an essential nuance.
  • Sour cream adds necessary richness. The chickpeas taste a little dry without a little more richness like a standard taco filling. For vegan, try vegan butter, cashew cream, vegan yogurt or vegan sour cream as a stand in. You can omit it, but it evens out the texture.
  • Fresh lime seals the deal. The hint of citrus takes it up a few notches.

You may have extra chickpeas left over after eating these tacos, depending on how many you add to each taco. Store any leftover filling refrigerated for up to 3 days. The recipe makes 3 cups of filling, which can stretch to 8 to 10 tacos.

Guacamole is required

Texture is everything when it comes to a taco. For these chickpea tacos, you need extra gooey, creamy elements to balance out the chickpeas. A smear of guacamole on the taco is required here, before you add the chickpeas.

You could substitute other creamy spreads or sauce (like refried beans), but we think zingy, creamy guacamole works best under these legumes. For quick meals we like to purchase it, but you can also try our homemade guacamole.

Chickpea tacos

Sides for chickpea tacos

When it comes to quick weeknight meals, often we skip sides for these chickpeas tacos (they’re pretty filling!). But if you’re looking for something simple to serve alongside, here are some ideas:

More chickpea recipes

These chickpeas tacos are a great way to use the mighty garbanzo bean! Here are a few more chickpea recipes you might enjoy:

This chickpea tacos recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

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Chickpea tacos

Chickpea Tacos


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 14 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 to 10 tacos

Description

These chickpea tacos are a fast way to dinner! This crowd pleaser pairs a flavorful filling of garbanzos with guacamole, pico and slaw.


Ingredients

  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon each chili powder and smoked paprika (or paprika)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, divided
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream (or vegan butter or cashew cream), plus more for serving if desired
  • Guacamole (required!)
  • Pico de gallo or fresh salsa, for serving (purchased)
  • Fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Make the quick slaw: Shred the red cabbage and shred the carrot. Place them in a bowl with 1 tablespoon lime juice and 2 pinches of kosher salt.
  2. Cook the chickpeas: Drain and rinse the chickpeas, shaking off as much water as possible. Combine spices and salt in a small bowl. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the chickpeas and spices and sauté, stirring frequently, until warm and the chickpeas are evenly coated, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon lime juice and the sour cream and cook 1 more minute until warmed through and tender.
  3. Warm the tortillas: Warm and char the tortillas by placing them on an open gas flame on medium for a few seconds per side, flipping with tongs, until they are slightly blackened and warm. (See How to Warm Tortillas.)
  4. Assemble the tacos: Add a generous spoonful of guacamole, spoonfuls of chickpeas, slaw, and pico de gallo. If desired, top with sour cream (or cashew cream) and/or fresh chopped cilantro. Store any leftover filling refrigerated for up to 3 days.
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Chickpea tacos

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

This chocolate peanut butter smoothie is made with healthy ingredients but tastes like a milkshake! Ideal for mornings or a…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This chocolate peanut butter smoothie is made with healthy ingredients but tastes like a milkshake! Ideal for mornings or a sweet treat.

Chocolate peanut butter smoothie

Need a healthy sweet treat? Try the Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie: made with good-for-you ingredients but tastes like a milk shake! We can’t resist smoothies that taste like dessert, like our Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie and Peanut Butter Smoothie. Put them together and you’ve got this one! It’s rich and chocolaty, but made with bananas, oats and honey. Blend it up for busy mornings or afternoons where you need a quick pick-me-up: it even doubles as a healthy dessert!

Ingredients in this chocolate peanut butter smoothie

This chocolate peanut butter smoothie relies on just a few good-for-you ingredients to make magic in the blender. Make it with milk or the non-dairy milk of your choosing. You can even make it with coffee (more on that below!). Here’s a run-down of the easy ingredients you’ll need:

  • Frozen bananas: This is the only step you’ll need to do in advance! Slice and freeze them on a baking sheet for at least 1 ½ hours. Or you can buy frozen bananas!
  • Old Fashioned oats
  • Cocoa powder or Dutch process (dark) cocoa powder: we prefer dark; more on that below
  • Peanut butter
  • Milk of choice (dairy, oat, or almond milk) or coffee: coffee adds a fun variation, much like this Coffee Smoothie! You can also add half milk, half strong coffee or espresso.
  • Honey or maple syrup
  • Ice
chocolate peanut butter smoothie

Dutch process vs standard cocoa powder

Use whatever cocoa powder you have on hand for this chocolate peanut butter smoothie. But we like it best with Dutch process cocoa powder, aka dark cocoa powder! This type has been treated with an alkali to make it pH neutral, which gives it a darker color and milder flavor. It makes the flavor ultra chocolaty: which we love!

Step it up with shaved chocolate

Serving this chocolate peanut butter smoothie as a treat? Top it with a sprinkle of dark chocolate! You only need about 1 tablespoon, and when you stir it in it makes for tasty chocolate chunks in each sip. It’s optional, but a fun way to take it up a notch! Then add a drizzle of peanut butter to take it over the top.

chocolate peanut butter smoothie

Ways to add more protein

This chocolate peanut butter smoothie has a decent amount of protein from the peanut butter, but we’ve tried to use just enough to get great flavor without loading on calories. Here are a few other options for adding protein:

  • Chia seeds. You can add plant-based protein and fiber with chia seeds: 2 tablespoons chia seeds adds 4 grams protein and 11 grams fiber.
  • Vanilla or chocolate protein powder: Protein powder works well too! We use this protein powder that has natural ingredients and a flavor that’s not too artificial. Just remember to dial back the maple syrup or honey, because protein powder adds sweetness.

More sweet smoothie recipes

Looking for more smoothies that taste like a treat? Here are a few more you might enjoy:

This chocolate peanut butter smoothie recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Chocolate peanut butter smoothie

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2 small smoothies

Ingredients

  • 2 medium frozen bananas (sliced and frozen on a baking sheet for at least 1 1/2 hours)
  • ¼ cup Old Fashioned oats
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder or Dutch process (dark) cocoa powder (we prefer dark)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 cup milk of choice (dairy, oat, or almond milk) or coffee*
  • 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • ¾ cup ice
  • For the garnish: 1 sprinkle chopped dark chocolate (optional), 1 drizzle of peanut butter

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until creamy and frothy, stopping and scraping down the sides as necessary. Resist the urge to over blend: blend until it just comes together. Taste and add the additional ½ tablespoon sweetener depending on the sweetness of the bananas.
  2. If desired, top with 1 tablespoon chopped dark chocolate (it makes for a nice mix in but it’s totally optional). Serve immediately or store in a covered jar in the refrigerator for 2 days.
  • Category: Smoothie
  • Method: Blended
  • Cuisine: Smoothie
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Chocolate peanut butter smoothie, chocolate smoothie, chocolate peanut butter banana smoothie, healthy chocolate peanut butter smoothie

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Mocha Frappe

The Mocha Frappe is a frozen coffee drink that’s so easy to whip up at home! All you need are…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

The Mocha Frappe is a frozen coffee drink that’s so easy to whip up at home! All you need are 4 ingredients, plus ice.

Mocha Frappe

You don’t need to venture out of the house when you’re craving a frappe: try this sweet and frosty homemade Mocha Frappe! It’s as easy as 4 ingredients, ice, and a blender. This one comes out fluffy and chocolaty, with a subtle bitter coffee finish. It’s irresistibly sippable and takes just 2 minutes to blend up. Usually we tend toward more classic coffee drinks…but this one is just too good!

Ingredients in a mocha frappe

A frappé is a frozen coffee drink of blended instant coffee, sugar and water or milk. It was invented in Greece in the 1950’s by Dimitris Vakondios, who worked for coffee company Nescafe. So it’s no surprise the classic frappé was made with Nescafe instant coffee! A similar drink at Starbucks is the Frappuccino: it’s sweeter and creamier and made with espresso.

This mocha frappe recipe takes inspiration from the classic, and adds a twist of chocolate similar to the drink you can find at McDonalds. This one tastes better, in our opinion! It’s sweetened just enough, and it’s chocolaty and frothy. Here’s what you’ll need (or head to the recipe below):

  • Instant espresso powder
  • Milk
  • Sugar
  • Cocoa powder
  • Ice
Mocha frappe

The magic ingredient: instant espresso powder

The important ingredient in a frappe? This mocha frappe uses instant espresso powder. It’s ideal for a frappe because it adds coffee flavor without watering down the drink. We tried a few variations with coffee, but instant espresso powder brought just the right bitter flavor. Espresso powder is key to get that mocha flavor (since a Mocha is made with espresso, not coffee.)

The instant espresso powder we used was Delallo brand, but there are lots of other great brands out there. Side bonus: you can also use it for desserts, like tiramisu! Often chocolate cake recipes call for espresso powder because it brings out the chocolate flavor (like this chocolate zucchini cake).

Mocha frappe

Toppings for a mocha frappe

It’s not necessary to top a mocha frappe with whipped cream: and we’re not huge sweet coffee drink people, so we typically don’t. But it does make it look so much more festive! Here are a few options for toppings:

  • Whipped cream: Homemade whipped cream is infinitely better than the store-bought stuff; and easy to make, too
  • Chocolate sauce: It’s fun and festive with a little drizzle
  • Chopped or shaved chocolate: Chocolate shavings also look great
  • Sprinkles: Why not?
  • Festive straws: It’s all about the presentation! We like these striped paper straws.
Frappe

Variation: vegan and dairy free

Want to make a vegan or dairy free mocha frappe? It’s easy: just use oat milk instead of dairy milk! Oat milk is our ideal for coffee drinks because of its creamy texture and neutral flavor. We much prefer it to something like almond milk or soy milk. But feel free to use whatever non-dairy milk you prefer.

What to do for the topping? Make Vegan Whipped Cream! It’s easy and comes out perfectly fluffy (you just have to think ahead a few hours).

More coffee drinks

Love making coffee drinks at home? Here are some of our top coffee drinks and espresso drinks to make:

This mocha frappe recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Mocha frappe

Mocha Frappe


Description

The Mocha Frappe is a frozen coffee drink that’s so easy to whip up at home! All you need are 4 ingredients, plus ice.


Ingredients

  • ¾ cup milk (or oat milk for dairy free)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar*
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 cup ice
  • Whipped cream (optional)
  • Chocolate sauce, to drizzle (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place the milk, sugar, espresso powder and cocoa powder in a blender and blend a few seconds until combined.
  2. Add the ice and blend until creamy. Top with whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce, if desired.

Notes

*The flavor comes out pleasantly sweet. If you prefer very sweet coffee drinks, feel free to adjust the sugar to your taste.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Blended
  • Cuisine: Coffee

Keywords: Frappe, Mocha Frappe

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.