What Is Nut Butter?
Nut butters are made by grinding up nuts into a paste, and they can be enjoyed in many different ways. The result is a creamy, luxurious and utterly moreish spreadable paste that elevates nuts to a whole new level. Depending on what type of nut you use, the texture and flavour will vary, but all types of nut butter are packed with healthy fats, vitamins and protein.
Different Types Of Nut Butter
These days, there are lots of different types of nut butters available. Personally, I think the idea of pulverising nuts into a smooth (or crunchy) paste is the greatest upgrade to nuts that's ever happened.
In most cases, each nut butter should include just blended nuts and perhaps a touch of salt. Watch out for added ingredients such as vegetable oils or emulsifiers, which are unnecessary to consume and can alter the flavour and texture of what's naturally provided for you. Some common examples of nut butter available these days include:
- Almond Butter
- Brazil nut butter
- Cashew Butter
- Peanut Butter
- Hazelnut Butter
- Macadamia Nut Butter
- Pecan butter
- Pistachio butter
- Walnut butter
You can also find types of nut butter that are flavoured or spiced with ingredients like cinnamon, honey and cocoa powder. If you can source a blend of different nuts to make unique flavour combinations, well that's just a bonus! A great example of this is an 'abc' butter, which contains almonds, Brazil nuts and cashews - yum!
Health Benefits Of Nut Butter
Nut butter is an incredibly nutritious food that provides plenty of health benefits. All types of nut butter are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and proteins that help keep your energy levels stable throughout the day.
They also contain nutrients like omega 3, magnesium, potassium, zinc and vitamin E, which may help reduce your risk of chronic diseases. Eating nut butter regularly can also improve your cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation and boost weight loss efforts.
In short, nut butter is just as healthy as whole nuts, as long as it doesn’t contain any added ingredients like preservatives or unhealthy fake sweeteners. This means you can reap the same health benefits of nuts, in a delicious and fun way!
Here's a summary of a few different nut butters and their various health benefits.
Almonds have been proven to be an important dietary intervention for a range of health issues. For instance, a wealth of research demonstrates the beneficial effects of almonds on metabolic health and weight management. Even better, almond butter is naturally rich in vitamin E, essential fats and fibre and is a healthy way to make the most of almonds, every day.
Brazil nut butter
Sure, Brazil nut butter may not be front-of-mind when it comes to nut butters, but this nut butter is full of powerhouse nutrients that support various biochemical functions. Everyone knows Brazil nuts are famously high in selenium, which is a cofactor nutrient to make thyroid hormones.
Your thyroid is integral to managing your heart rate, body temperature and metabolism. So, pretty important. And in fact, without enough selenium, this complex feedback system involving the thyroid simply doesn't work properly. That's reason enough to start enjoying Brazil nut butter! To help make it more palatable, boost it with almond butter or honey.
Macadamias, together with Brazil nuts and pecans are the lowest GI nuts and as such make the very short list of keto-friendly nuts. Including macadamia butter in your diet can confer anti-inflammatory properties, which can protect against cardiovascular disease.
Peanut butter is the O.G. nut butter we all know and love. Its biggest flex is its high protein content, with 10 (yes, 10!) different amino acids. Most notably, peanuts are high in choline, tryptophan and arginine which support the brain and nervous system, boost mood and promote cardiovascular health. Little known to most people is that peanut butter is very high in resveratrol. This polyphenol compound helps prevent a range of complex and chronic diseases, including diabetes and cancer.
This is a unique and not-so-common option in the world of nut butter. Pistachios are enviably high in vitamin B6, which is essential for reproductive hormones and also for energy production. Pistachio butter can easily be made at home, using unprocessed, whole pistachios, resulting in a deep mossy colour that’s distinctly all pistachio! This nut butter pairs perfectly with a wave or two of honey on Middle Eastern fruit toast.
Nut Butter Frequently Asked Questions
Does nut butter have butter in it?
No. Nut butter is made entirely from ground nuts, not dairy butter. It has a creamy and spreadable texture, but it does not contain any actual butter.
Is Nut Butter Good For You?
Well, yes. Nut butters are incredibly nutritious and offer plenty of health benefits when eaten regularly. They provide healthy fats and proteins that help keep your energy levels stable throughout the day. Nut butters are also a great source of minerals like magnesium, potassium, zinc and vitamin E.
Is tahini a nut butter?
Tahini is not technically considered a nut butter, as it is made from ground sesame seeds rather than nuts. It has a rich, creamy flavour with some toasty notes that work nicely in savoury dishes. Tahini packs many of the same health benefits as traditional nut butter, as well.
Does store-bought nut butter have any additives?
Yes, some store-bought nut butter contains added sugar and salt as well as vegetable oils. The best way to get the most health benefits out of your nut butter is by buying all-natural, unsweetened varieties that don't contain any additives. You can also make your own nut butter at home with a food processor so you know what's in it.
Does nut butter go bad?
Yes, nut butter can become rancid over time if it is not stored properly. It's best to keep your nut butter in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator, depending on how quickly you’ll use it. You should also make sure to check the expiration date on the package before consuming it. If it smells or tastes off, acrid or bitter - ditch it. However, with proper storage, your nut butter should stay fresh for several months.
Can You Make Your Own Nut Butter?
Yes, making your own nut butter is quite easy and can be a great way to add variety to your diet. All you need to do is roast some nuts of your choice in the oven, then blend them until smooth in a food processor or blender. You can also use raw nuts, but roasted intensifies the flavour and some of the health benefits. It can take a while for the nuts to transform through the various stages of blending, and you usually need a powerful blade in the processor to get the job done. Once you've made your nut butter, store it in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
Nut Butter: The Delicious and Nutritious Way To Enjoy Nuts
No matter how you choose to enjoy it, nut butter is an incredibly nutritious and delicious food that you can eat every day. If you're new to the world of nut butter, you're sure to find something that tickles your fancy and your taste buds. Nut butter provides plenty of health benefits and has a rich, creamy flavour that makes it incredibly moreish. There are plenty of ways to incorporate nut butter into meals, snacks, or... indulge straight from the jar. (I see you 😀 ).
How To Enjoy Nut Butter In Your Everyday Diet
Nut butters are incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed in many different ways. Try stirring a spoonful into your smoothie for an added boost of protein and healthy fats. Spread it on toast or crackers for a delicious snack, or mix it into porridge for a nutritious breakfast. Nut butter is also great for baking – try using it to make brownies, cookies or other sweet treats! Here are a couple of recipes to get you started.
10 Ways To Enjoy Nut Butter
- Spread nut butter on toast and top with slices of banana and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
- Dip apple slices in nut butter for a delicious snack.
- Add nut butter to smoothies for a boost of protein and healthy fats.
- Drizzle over pancakes or waffles for added sweetness and crunchy texture.
- Use it as an ingredient in your favorite cookies or brownies recipes to add richness and flavor.
- Make your own ice cream by blending frozen bananas, nut butter, almond milk and vanilla extract together until creamy and scoop into a bowl or cone!
- Swirl nut butter through oatmeal or yogurt for some added nutrition and sweetness.
- Make your own trail mix by mixing your favorite nuts, seeds, dried fruit, cereals and nut butters together - great as a healthy snack on the go!
- Slather it on whole wheat bread topped with sliced strawberries, raisins and shredded coconut flakes for a delicious sandwich alternative!
- Use it as a dip for fresh vegetables such as carrots, celery or bell peppers - the kids will love it too!
Chocolate Hazelnut Smoothie Bowl
This decadent smoothie bowl is a delicious and nutritious way to enjoy hazelnut butter with some added extras that boost the health benefits. This breakfast or snack idea is high in protein, healthy fats, and minerals.
- 1 cup frozen banana chunks
- ½ cup whole almond milk
- 2 tablespoons hazelnut butter
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- Toppings: coconut flakes, chia seeds, nuts and fresh berries
1. Start by blending the banana chunks, almond milk and hazelnut butter until smooth.
2. Add the cocoa powder and blend for a few more seconds.
3. Pour your smoothie into a bowl and top with desired toppings.
Peanut Butter & Banana Porridge
This delicious and nutritious breakfast will kickstart your morning with a healthy dose of protein, fibre, and essential vitamins and minerals. This is also a good entry point into experimenting with nut butter outside of ‘on toast’. All you’ll need is some natural peanut butter and ripe bananas to make this delicious porridge and you're set!
- ½ cup oats
- 2 ripe bananas
- 1 cup water or milk of choice
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- Pinch of cinnamon (optional)
1. In a medium saucepan, bring the oats, water/milk and a pinch of cinnamon to a boil. Then reduce to a low heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
2. Mash the bananas with a fork and stir them into the porridge.
3. Once everything is mixed, add your peanut butter and cinnamon (optional).
4. Serve warm and enjoy!
Vegan Almond Butter Fudge
This vegan almond butter fudge takes just minutes to make and is the perfect guilt-free treat. Made with wholesome ingredients like almond butter, coconut oil, and pure maple syrup, it's a delicious snack that's great for satisfying your sweet tooth.
- 1 cup of almond butter
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
- Dash of sea salt
- In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine almond butter, coconut oil, and maple syrup until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a tablespoon or two of water to thin it out.
- Add a pinch of sea salt and stir until fully combined.
- Pour mixture into an 8x8 inch baking dish and spread evenly with a spatula or spoon. Place pan in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes or until firm.
- Cut into squares or bars and serve.
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Wikipedia Contributors. (2023, Feb 6). Nut butter. Retrieved from Wikipedia website: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nut_butter, viewed 6 Feb 2023