You don’t have to be vegan to appreciate the deliciousness that is nut butter. Nut butters are also one of those rare foods that are as healthy as they are tasty. Cashew, peanut, almond, every type of nut butter comes with its own unique taste and flavor profile. This vegan staple is also one of the most versatile ingredients in your pantry. If your experience with nut butter has been limited to just spreading it on a slice of toast or eating it straight out of the jar (no judgement there), it’s time to get creative. These six new ways to use nut butter will inspire you to buy even more jars of it.
1. As A Sauce Flavoring
The sweet saltiness of nut butters makes them perfect for sauces. Nut butter will help thicken your sauce, make it more flavorful and even amp up its nutritional profile. South Asian recipes in particular are made all the better with a dollop of nut butter. Stir fries are made all the more delicious with peanut butter because they strike the perfect balance between sweet and nutty. Add cashew butter to your Indian curry recipe to transport your guests into gastronomical heaven.
2. To Make Delicious Brownies
Most brownie recipes call for butter, but nut butter makes a much better substitute. Not only is it full of healthy fats and protein, but it also gives your brownies a more interesting flavor. Melted nut butter makes a great binding agent and adds moisture to baked goods, just like regular butter does. You can use cashew butter for dark brownies and almond butter for blondies because it’s much milder flavored. If you’re using sweetened nut butter, you will have to reduce the amount of sugar you add. It takes a bit of trial and error at first, but once you get the hang of it, your brownies will be world famous.
3. In Granola Bars
Granola bars are a great quick energy fix, but beware of store-bought ones. Commercial granola is really just candy since it’s heaped with refined sugar. To make your own healthy granola bars, you’ll need raisins, oatmeal, nuts and nut butter. Nut butter not only adds to the nutrition profile of granola bars, but also works as a binding agent to hold everything together. Melt your favorite nut butter when mixing everything up and then store in the fridge to harden. You can also add dates for natural sweetness instead of unhealthy sugars.
Sweet, gooey fudge was one of the guilty pleasures of childhood, but as adults, we know how unhealthy it really is. Luckily for those of us who still crave it, there’s a much healthier way to prepare fudge. Nut butter comes in really useful when you’re making fudge because it’s naturally sweet and sticky. The basic ingredients you’ll need for healthy fudge is coconut cream, coconut flour, nut butter and dates. You can experiment with different flavors using a variety of nut butters and flavorings. You can use cacao powder with peanut butter for an intensely chocolatey fudge or almond butter with vanilla bean for a more mellow version.
Healthy cookies might sound like an oxymoron, but it doesn’t have to be. Nut butter can help you make a batch of cookies which you can eat with no feelings of guilt. Whiz up some rolled oats, coconut flour, dates and nut butter to make cookies that are high in fiber, protein and healthy fat. Each type of nut butter adds a unique flavor dimension, so there’s plenty of room to experiment. These cookies taste so good, you won’t even realize how healthy they actually are.
6. Cookie Dough
Apart from cookies, nut butters can also help you make amazingly delicious cookie dough. While you can’t actually bake it, this faux cookie dough tastes better than the real thing and is much more healthy. Since it’s packed with healthy fat, protein and vitamins, these cookie dough balls make the perfect healthy snack or dessert. To make your cookie dough that’s not really cookie dough, blend together your favorite nut butter, some canned chickpeas, vanilla protein powder and dark chocolate chips. Roll into individual balls and store in the freezer.