To put it in a nutshell (feeble joke), nuts and seeds are healthful; but I think the real question is, what types of nuts and seeds make the best butters and spreads, and why? Today is my total guide to nut and seed butters, from their flavour profile, uses, nutrition, and special tips. Also, I'll teach you how to make your own nut butter in a few simple steps that take less than 10 minutes to make! You might want to bookmark this one…
DON’T FEAR THE FAT
Most of us already know that eating fat and having ample amounts of healthy fats in our diet are a great thing for our health not the cause of heart disease, weight gain, or increased cholesterol…and if you’re still into that theory, I’ll let these studies show you otherwise: here, here, here, and reading up on my blog post The Skinny On Fat. Since we’ve all come to terms that eating healthy fats are great for our health, let’s jump right into one of the most famous healthy fats to eat…peanut butter. I've never been a big fan of peanut butter, so I presumed all nut butters wouldn't be tasty - I was wrong, there are so many amazing varieties of nuts and seeds out there that can easily be made into a butter such as almond butter, cashew butter, even sunflower seed butter - and so I'm sure you'll find one that you'll find delicious.
After you make your first homemade nut or seed butter, I promise you’ll be completely hooked. Bold statement, I know but there’s something about completely transforming a plain old nut or seed into a rich, creamy, and thick spread right before your eyes using less than 2 ingredients. Said nut or seed + a pinch of salt (choose Himalayan Pink or Celtic sea salt) if you choose.
I answered several of your questions in my article about Soaking and Sprouting about what type of nuts to buy and what about activating them (i.e. soaking and sprouting)? I always recommend purchasing nut and seed butters organic, unsalted, and raw if possible due to the fatty acids change during heating and processing; otherwise, roasted and lightly salted if those are your only options in the store. Ideally though, I want to inspire you to make these all in your own kitchen with only 2 ingredients and 1 piece of equipment! Super easy and affordable.
THE GUIDENut and seed butters can be used as a topping, a thickener in baking or cooking, binding ingredients without using eggs (for example, raw truffles - recipe to follow shortly), spreading on toasted bread, in smoothies, and so much more! Nutritionally speaking, nut and seed butters as a collective contain 6-9g protein per 2 tablespoon serving, are high in minerals, B vitamins, some contain higher amounts of omega-3’s, and all contain a small amount of fibre.
SUNFLOWER SEED BUTTER
PUMPKIN SEED BUTTER
SESAME SEED BUTTER, A.K.A. TAHINI
1 cup nuts or seeds of your choice + a pinch of sea salt. Blend in a high speed blender with nut grinder attachment and blend until smooth. Takes less than 5 minutes. If your blender needs a little help, you can add a touch of coconut oil to thin, but the oils will natural release once it’s been blended.
I hope this was helpful for you so the next time you’re making a nut butter sandwich with jam, trying one for a recipe, or wondering what flavors will go with what- you’ll know! Share below your favorite combinations of nut and seed butters and your favourite ways to use them in cooking!
Your guide to living whole and well. Emma Olliff is a Registered Nutritional Therapist, wellness expert, food lover, and advocate for healthy living!