So many people ask me “So what’s in nut butter? Nuts and…butter??” Hence…it’s this Wednesday’s WTF!
In a nutshell (ha!!), nut butter is made up of nuts that have been ground and blended and mashed and pulverised until the natural oils are released, resulting in a thick, creamy, ‘butter’ consistency. The more you blend the nuts, the smoother the butter gets.
You can make nut butter out of any nut or seed: almonds, walnuts, pecans, brazils, cashews, sunflower seeds etc.
You’re probably most familiar with peanut butter. And you probably form opinions of people based on their smooth or crunchy preference. (For the record, I’m smooth all the way. Go ahead, judge me. At least I won’t be the one with tiny crunchy bits stuck in my teeth.)
Why should I eat it?
- It’s got a decent protein content – about 7 grams per 2 tablespoons. Great news for vegos and vegans!
- It contains lots of healthy fats that are good for heart health, lowering bad cholesterol etc. The fat content also helps to keep you satiated, so you’re less likely to be reaching for a sugary snack later.
- It’s soooo tasty!
How do I use it?
- Spread it on toast, or use as a dip for apples, carrots, celery etc
- I like to spread nut butter on a banana for a delicious post-CrossFit snack
- Use it to thicken smoothies, and add protein and a delicious nutty flavour (it’s amazing in banana smoothies)
- In recipes to bind other ingredients. It features in my No-bake Paleo Protein Bars and Paleo Banana Bread
- Be naughty like me and eat it straight out of the jar…
Where can I find it?
- Most supermarkets sell peanut butter with the other spreads, but look for almond, brazil nut, cashew etc varieties in the health food sections.
- Unfortunately, most peanut butters on the market have a tonne of crap added to them, like sugar, vegetable oils, preservatives and ‘stabilising’ ingredients. Ick. So when buying peanut butter, look for a ‘natural’ version. The only ingredients should be peanuts and maybe sea salt.
- If you’re in the USA, you can make your own nut butter at Whole Foods. Cool!
It’s f***ing expensive! How do I make it?
It’s DEAD EASY. All you need is a strong blender. Here is my recipe from one of my early posts, ‘3 Fun Thing You Can Make With A Blender’:
For 1 jar you will need:
- 400g nuts – almonds, cashews, brazils, macadamias, hazelnuts. You can use one type or a combo (I like almond/cashew)
- a tablespoon or so of coconut oil (optional)
- sea salt (to taste)
What to do:
1. Spread the nuts out on an oven tray. Roast at 150deg for 10-12 minutes until the nuts smell nice and toasty. DO NOT go and clean your bedroom and forget about them until the smoke alarm goes off otherwise you’ll end up with a tray of small lumps of charcoal. I dare say that’s slightly carcinogenic.
2. Place non-charcoal nuts in the blender. Blend.
3. Now this is where patience is required. The nuts will grind down to meal first, then they will probably get stuck and refuse to blend (this happens to me, it may be different with your blender). If this happens, use a spoon to mash the crushed nuts down, then blend again. You may like to add some coconut oil to help it ‘liquify’. Anyway, repeat this process until the nuts finally give in and turn to smooth butter.
4. Taste, and add a pinch of sea salt if you wish. Yum!
Play around with adding other spices like vanilla, cinnamon or raw cacao. Sometimes I add some stevia to slightly sweeten it. I even once made my own “Nutella” by blending hazelnuts, raw cacao and coconut oil. SO GOOD.
*Note: if you’re strict Paleo or just legumes, be aware that peanuts are technically legumes, not nuts. So stick to other varieties of nut and seed butters.