With so many severe allergies to peanuts, peanut butter alternatives are becoming more popular. While I still like peanut butter, I have found that there are some beautiful, peanut-free options out there too. These are fun for anyone who is allergic to peanuts, but also for anyone wanting to mix up their nut butter options.
Let’s start with the one thing I don’t consider to be a good option: Soy butter. We only consume soy in limited amounts, usually fermented (such as traditionally fermented soy sauce and natto). I don’t recommend unfermented soybeans as an every week staple because they have many anti-nutrients in them and excess phytoestrogens. Plus, many find the flavor of soy butter to be unpleasant.
But don’t worry. There are many other options!
Sunflower seed butter is one of my personal favorites. It’s not as sweet, but the roasted version has plenty of flavor, yet is still mild enough to use in making nut butter cookies and other similar recipes.
Almond butter is by far one of the easiest and most affordable peanut-free options out there. Almonds are sweet and mild, making it an easy transition. I’ve made mock peanut butter cookies using almond butter with great results! Part of the reason almond butter works well as a substitute for peanut butter is that it has a similar texture and thickness.
Macadamia nut butter is incredibly rich and delicious. I think it’s best eaten off a spoon, or mixed with a little fair trade cocoa powder and coconut sugar and rolled into balls. Savor it.
Pumpkin seed butter is not only a great source of zinc, but it’s also delicious! I like to make mine in a food processor with a little cinnamon, coconut oil and maple syrup – it’s really delicious when served with sliced apples.
Coconut butter: Now this is more like a dessert than a substitute for peanut butter. However, it works really well in some recipes. For example, no-bake cookies are often delicious with this butter, instead of using a nut or peanut butter. It’s kind of like using white chocolate instead of dark chocolate in a recipe.
Roasted pinenut butter is an indulgent, delicious treat that will wow the gourmet.
Pecan and walnut butters are both rich and delicious, but generally cheaper than pinenut or macadamia nut butters. They are generally thinner than peanut butter, so when using as a substitute in recipes, keep that in mind.
How to make your own nut and seed butters
Almost all of these nut and seed butters above are available to buy ready-made. But all you need to make your own at home is the nut or seed desired and a little oil and salt. Use about 1 tablespoon of oil per pound of nuts or seeds, blend well in a food processor until smooth, and salt to taste. If it seems too dry, add a little more oil (melted coconut oil works well). It’s really that simple! To jazz things up, roast the nuts or seeds beforehand, soak and dehydrate them for better nutrition, add spices and sweeteners, or mix up a variety of different nuts and seeds for a splendid, well-rounded butter.
Related on MNN: