Homemade vegan chai for an afternoon pick-me-up on Meatless Monday

No one's saying you have to go meatless just because it's Monday -- but as incentive to join the growing movement, every week we're offering an animal-free recipe.

Beat the heat with a spiced drink with a little hit of caffeine to keep you going. This recipe (inspired by The Joy of Vegan Baking) uses coconut milk and assam breakfast tea to create a smooth-tasting, homemade treat that's cheaper than splurging at a coffee shop.

You will need:

2 1/12 cups water 1 teaspoon cardamom 6 whole black peppercorns 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 2 whole cloves 2/3 cup nondairy milk (we like coconut or almond) 4 teaspoons granulated sugar 3 teaspoons loose assam tea 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Bring the water, cardamom, peppercorns, ginger, cinnamon and cloves to a slow boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Turn down the heat to a low simmer and let work for ten minutes. 2. Add the milk and sugar and heat back up to a quick simmer. 3. Add the tea, stir thoroughly and turn off the heat. Let steep for four to five minutes. Use a thin tea strainer to remove the peppercorns, cloves, tea leaves and other detritus. Serve warm or chill and then serve over ice; this makes two decent-sized drinks.

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