I use nut and seed butters to replace other fats, such as regular butters / Earth Balance and oils. Why? For a few reasons:
- I think they add more depth of flavor than oils to many dishes. (Of course, nothing beats dipping a hunk of crusty bread in olive oil, so fear not, I still use oils/butter.) However, I find for certain dishes (okay, most dishes, let's be real), like Asian noodle bowls, or for salad dressings, that nut and seed butters have a deeper flavor than their parallel oil
- Nut and seed butters pack a protein punch. Oils and regular butter have 0 g of protein. Booo. See below for protein amounts in the butters I have on hand right now. All amounts based on 2 tbsp:
- Peanut butter: 8 g
- Almond butter: 7 g
- Pecan butter: 4 g
- Pumpkinseed butter: 9 g
- Tahini: 6 g
- Nut and seed butters have a wealth of micronutrients; oils contain micronutrients like vitamin e, as well, but nut and seed butters have a wider variety of these micronutrients, and often in higher amounts:
- Peanut butter: high in niacin, vitamin e, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus
- Almond butter: high in riboflavin, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese
- Pecan butter: high in thiamin, manganese, copper
- Pumpkinseed butter: high in vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese
- Tahini: high in thiamin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese
- Nut butters contain fiber (1-3 grams usually), which helps increase GI motility and fullness. Oils and regular butter contain 0 g fiber
So, due to my ravenous consumption of these nut and seed butters, it is much more economical for me to make my own. Have you seen the price of a jar of pumpkinseed butter, people? $14.50 for 12 oz?! What nonsense. I bought a 1 lb bag of pumpkinseeds at Trader Joe's for $7.
Anyway, I digress. It is indeed much cheaper to make these rarer nut butters at home. Employing my trusty Vitamix, I can easily whip up a batch in 2-3 minutes. However, for those without a high-speed blender (i.e. Vitamix or Blendtec or Ninja), proceed with caution before making nut butter. It could take you 20-30 minutes if you have a regular blender / food processor. Yes, I recall with much displeasure the first time I made a nut butter, cashew, for those curious, which took me a whopping 40 mins. Yes, I was persistent. Why I didn't give up 20 mins in, I do not know. And then I got my Vita, and life has been beautiful.
To make crunchy almond butter, set aside 1/2 cup of the almonds, and grind the rest into almond butter. Then just chop up the whole almonds and mix them with the almond butter. Crunchy bliss, ready to be slathered on some pumpkin muffins, or eaten by the spoonful out of the jar (Do it! I won't judge you. *cough* I do it every day *cough*).
Perfect Crunchy Almond Butter
Makes a 1-lb jar
- 1 lb of dry roasted, unsalted almonds
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Roughly chop 1/2 cup of almonds and set aside.
- Add remaining almonds and salt to high speed blender, such as Vitamix or Blendtec. Blend using tamper, increasing speed from 1-10. Blend on 10 for 2 minutes, or until smooth.
- Pour 1/4 of the nut butter into a jar. Add some chopped almonds. Add more nut butter, and more chopped almonds, alternating until all butter and chopped nuts are used. Then, using a spoon or butter knife, stir until combined. Your homemade crunchy almond butter is all ready!