Americans’ love affair with peanut butter is slowly spreading to other nut butters and pastes as our palates are becoming more diverse and open to new creations. Perhaps one day grocery stores will have 10 nut butter machines, each grinding a different nut paste! In the meantime, if you want to explore the wonderful world of nut butters, it’s simple to make your own in a food processor with just enough oil (preferably using nut oil that is the same as the whole nut or just olive oil) to make the consistency you are looking for. You can even add spices or other flavors to design your own personal butter!
Nut butters are a tasty and healthy spread alternative for sandwiches and crackers, scones or muffins! Try pecan butter with turkey and grilled peppers, or almond butter on a salad sandwich. Hazelnut butter is gorgeous on crackers with a bit of goat cheese, prosciutto and arugula. And, you’ll never go back to a normal Caprese panini after you’ve tried it with pistachio butter made with some fresh basil!
But don’t stop with spreads, think of the sesame paste concept and make crunchy, roasted cashew butter, perhaps with some lemongrass and ginger and toss through rice noodles with some cooked prawns. Or use walnut paste to thicken a white wine sauce with chicken rather than butter! Macadamia paste mixed with wasabi and soy takes your sushi dip to a whole new level and makes it much more wine friendly too!
Got your creative juices going yet? Whether roasted, raw, flavored, crunchy, smooth or just swirled through some honey and spooned over ice cream, nut butters can bring a whole new and healthy life to old dishes. Tap your kids for ideas too – you may be surprised!
Bon-appetite! From the Nutty Chef