Nut & Seed Butters, Ranked.

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Guys and gals, I’ve gone a little nutty.  Allow me to explain.

When I was a kid, I was an avid consumer of peanut butter — a connoisseur, if you will. I slathered globs of peanut butter on bread, whipping up pb & ‘nana sandwiches for school lunches; I stuck my spoon into fresh Jif jars and plopped hefty tablespoons atop warm oatmeal; I blended peanut butter with frozen strawberries and yogurt to create “healthy” milkshakes. I loved peanut butter. But, at the time, all I knew was peanut butter — heck, all anyone knew was peanut butter.  Of course, there were those kids with peanut allergies who ate soy butter — but those kids were deemed oddballs.

And then, one day, almond butter came around.  An unknown spread, almond butter rose from the trenches like a gladiator; it rose, gripping a shiny sword in its hands, from the bottom of the valley to the top of the mountain.  Almond butter went face to face with the infamous peanut butter. Before long, almond butter became peanut butter’s rival: amongst peers, it became known as the allergy-friendly, “healthier” version of peanut butter.

But were all the headlines true?  Was almond butter truly more nutritious and tastier? An important question, no doubt, but one I’ll leave for another day.

This particular discussion revolves around how almond butter opened the market for nut and seed butters of all kinds. Indeed, years ago, producers noticed almond butter’s rise in popularity and brought other nut and seed butters to market.  

Strolling down the grocery aisles in 2018, you’ll notice an endless amount of nut and seed butters to choose from. Well, folks, today I’m ranking those nut/seed butters on their taste and use in dishes. Side note: these are my taste-preferences; yours may vary.

1. Sunflower Butter

  • I daresay sunflower butter is my all-time favorite nut/seed butter.
  • Why do I love it? It’s naturally sweet, super creamy, and slightly “sunflowery.”  
  • My favorite brand of sunflower butter? Once Again!
  • How to use it? Besides eating by the spoonful, use as a PB substitute in your peanut-butter cookie recipe. Or substitute for butter in your favorite baked goods — the sweetness of sunflower butter adds a delightful touch. 

2. Coconut Butter

  • Holy cow, this stuff is addictive. It’s an insanely blissful butter.
  • Why do I love it? One bite transports you to Tahiti. But be wary — this butter is for coconut-lovers only.
  • My favorite brand of coconut butter? Artisana. Unfortunately, Coconut butter is expensive, so I only purchase it every once in a while. 
  • How to use it? As a replacement for white chocolate! Seriously, use this to make a vegan “white chocolate bark.” It’s magic! 

3. Tahini (Sesame Seed Butter)

  • Why do I love it? Tahini is unlike any other butter. It has a savory, semi-bitter aftertaste that will pinch at your taste buds (in a good way).
  • My favorite brand of tahini? Honestly, I haven’t found any brand to stand up against Whole Foods’ 365 brand of tahini. It’s creamy, runny, and easily mixable — all aspects of a high-quality tahini. 
  • How to use it? Homemade hummus

4. Peanut butter

  • Why do I love it? Peanut butter is not only loved by humans and dogs alike, but is full of nostalgia.
  • My favorite brand of peanut butter? Lidl, that little German grocery store, makes a great all-natural, organic peanut butter. Seriously — it’s made of nothing but peanuts. And it’s cheap. 
  • How to use it? If you don’t know how to use peanut butter, you must live under a rock (no offense to people who live under rocks). For a new recipe, however, try out this tomato peanut soup

5. Almond butter

  • Why do I love it? When you taste ultra-creamy, dry-roasted almond butter, you’ll experience an explosion of buttery bliss.
  • My favorite brand of almond butter? Kirkland’s (Costco’s brand!) With this brand, you get bang for your buck. Their almond butter is easy to mix and very, very tasty. 
  • How to use it? Spread on toast with a sliced banana, chia seeds, and a drizzle of agave for a well-balanced breakfast.

6. Cashew butter

  • Why do I love it? Although a bit bland for my taste, cashew butter is versatile and easy on the ol’ taste buds.
  • My favorite brand of cashew butter? Artisana’s raw cashew butter is literally unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. Although expensive, it’s worth it. Totally worth it.
  • What to use it in? Make homemade vegan cream cheese or a mac n’ cheese sauce with cashews. 

What’s your favorite type of nut butter?

Gigi Nally
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