Foods We LOVE: A Better Nut Butter
Americans adore their peanut butter. Every family I grew up with regularly consumed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Well, if it’s made from peanuts, and peanuts grow out of the ground, it must be healthy for growing kids and adults alike, right? Wrong. It’s what is added to the peanuts that is dangerous. Enter hydrogenated vegetable oil.
Hydrogenated vegetable oil undergoes processing to enhance its taste, texture, and shelf life. This process forms trans fats, which are bad for your health. Common foods that contain it: margarine, fried foods, baked goods, coffee creamers, crackers, pre-made dough, vegetable shortening, microwave popcorn, potato chips, and packaged snacks. Avoid as much as possible! Read labels! Replace these with healthier alternatives! Don’t think that just because you’re dipping celery instead of crackers it will be good for you.
Let’s just be smarter about our snacking. My Dad’s birthday was this week. 74 years young. He taught me how to snack, mostly at night (boo). I inherited his salt tooth, and the eventual wine-pairing. Instead of soap on a rope, or a gift certificate to a restaurant, this year I made a better nut butter for him. The added seeds contribute tons of nutrients. Despite their small size, pumpkin, chia, and sesame seeds are packed with essential nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber, and protein.
Lance and I have been noshing all week on this total delight with bananas, apples, honey, and seeded multi-grain toast. It’s filling and nourishing. If you don’t like almonds, try cashew butter instead. Snack well!
Better nut butter
1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/3 cup raw sesame seeds
3 tablespoons chia seeds
1 ½ cups unsweetened natural almond butter
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Heat oil and pumpkin seeds in a large skillet over medium, stirring occasionally, until oil is melted and pumpkin seeds are just starting to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Add sesame seeds and chia seeds and cook, stirring constantly, until sesame seeds are golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer seeds and oil to a large bowl and add almond butter, maple syrup, salt, and black pepper. Stir vigorously until smooth; let cool. Store airtight at room temperature.
Slightly adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine