Since making a shift towards a vegan lifestyle we get through buckets of nut and seed butters. Literally – I normally buy these huge 1kg tubs of peanut, cashew and almond butter from Meridian, and have them shipped over to us here in France, along with a few other bits from Holland & Barrett such as dried dates and unsulphured apricots and jumbo packs of oats, brown rice and quinoa.

We eat nut and seed butter daily. This week alone, we’ve used it in overnight oats, to top porridge, spread on toast, in a fabulous ‘no tuna’ sandwich filling, in pad Thai, as a sauce for baked sweet potatoes and chickpeas, and the boys love it on banana or apple slices at snack time. It is a great source of protein, calcium, magnesium and fibre

Did you know it is super easy to make? I’d half-heartedly tried in the past, but we ran out earlier this week and the natural stuff is surprisingly hard to find here; our nearest organic shop is 30km away, and our local supermarket doesn’t always have it, so instead we stocked up on tubs of organic almonds and peanuts.

Do you know what the best nut and seed butters contain? Nuts or seeds. That’s it. We can find Sun Pat and Skippy brands in the ‘world food’ aisles here, but I personally prefer my butters without added sugar, salt, stabilisers and oil unless, of course, I’ve chosen to add them in myself.

You need a sturdy blender (I have this one) and nuts or seeds. It is best to start with around 250g of your chosen nut or seed as too much and the blender motor can over heat. Simply add them to the blender and grind to a powder… then keep going! Eventually the natural oils in the nuts or seeds will be released and you’ll get a cohesive paste. I needed to stop and scrape down the sides of my blender a few times, and it is also a good idea to give the blender a rest after two or three minute bursts at high speed. I’d tried to make nut butters in the past and they hadn’t really worked, and I’ve realised the trick is to keep going past the point when you think the butter is ready – if you stop too soon you might find the butter a little on the dry side.

And that’s it! You can toast the nuts or seeds for a deeper, richer flavour, add chia, hempseeds or dried coconut at the end for crunch, add raw cacao or cocoa powder to roasted hazelnut butter to make home-made Nutella, maple syrup for a touch of sweetness, or try different combinations to make mixed seed and nut butters. I also have this spiced walnut butter recipe from 101 Cookbooks bookmarked – I think the combination of flavours sounds really interesting.

It is also worth noting that you need to be super careful when giving nut butters to little ones – we only give Noah smooth (never crunchy) butters, and I always check that any butters I’ve made don’t have any stray chunks of nuts that the blender hasn’t broken down.

Have you tried making your own nut or seed butters? What are your favourite combinations? I’d love to hear. Also, if you try making some please tag #afterhenry on Instagram so I can take a look!

Emma xx

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