However, there are many other nutritious and tasty nut butters from which to choose.
A nut butter is a spreadable paste that is formed by grinding nuts. Nutrition levels can vary, but all nut offers protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.
Nut butters are high in calories, so portion control is important. In addition, some commercial brands have added salt and sugar, so be sure to check the ingredient label.
Now, let's take a look at some varieties of nut butters.
Walnuts are packed with healthy omega-3 fats, so walnut butter has the highest amount of omega-3 fatty acids of any other nut butter. It has a dense, nutty taste that is earthy and slightly bitter.
Walnuts are good for the heart and for the brain and may help fight inflammation in the body.
Other nutritional benefits are B vitamins, protein, manganese, copper, molybdenum, biotin, and monounsaturated fats.
With peanut allergies on the rise, almond butter has become an increasingly popular alternative choice to peanut butter. It has a similar creamy texture to peanut butter and has a pleasant slightly sweet taste.
Almond butter is usually lower in sugar content than peanut butter and does not contain hydrogenated oil. In addition, almond butter has more healthy monounsaturated fat per serving than peanut butter has.
Other nutritional benefits of almond butter are B vitamins, vitamin E, copper, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, monounsaturated fats, protein, and fiber. Another plus is the fact that almond skins contain a natural prebiotic that helps maintain the "good" bacteria in our digestive systems.
Soy Nut Butter
If you are accustomed to creamy nut butters, soy nut butter may take some getting used to. Made from lightly roasted soy nuts, this nut butter has a grainy quality.
Developed for people with peanut butter allergies, soy nut butter is similar to peanut butter in its protein and carbohydrate content. Other nutritional benefits are B vitamins, vitamin E, calcium, and fiber.
Peanut butter is a taste favorite among nut butters for good reason. It has a nutty, sweet flavor that pairs well with many other foods, including both the sweet and the salty.
Other nutritional benefits are B vitamins, copper, protein, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, and vitamin E.
Cashew butter is slightly lower in fat and protein content than either peanut butter or almond butter, but it has a creamy texture and a savory taste. It is best when used in combination with other ingredients or as an addition to soups and smoothies.
Other nutritional benefits are copper, protein, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and both mono and polyunsaturated fats.
Also called tahini, sesame butter is an ingredient in hummus and many sauces and dressings. Tahini contains no sugar, so you may want to combine it with a flavored yogurt or a fruit spread for more flavor.
Sesame butter has a slightly bitter, nutty taste and a creamy texture. It has the highest calcium content of most nut and seed butters.
Other nutritional benefits are copper, manganese, phosphorus, iron, zinc, magnesium, selenium, protein, and fiber.
Sunflower Seed Butter
If you have a tree nut allergy, sunflower seed butter may be for you.
This peanut butter alternative has a rich nutty taste that is not as sweet as almond butter or cashew butter. It works well as a dip for crunchy vegetables.
Other nutritional benefits are B vitamins, copper, vitamin E, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, healthy fats, protein, and fiber.
Riding a wave of popularity right now, hazelnut butter is made from crushed hazelnuts. Hazelnut butter is often blended with chocolate, and it is a main ingredient in Nutella.
Hazelnut butter has more than twice the amount of vitamin E as peanut butter and is higher in cholesterol-reducing monounsaturated fat than peanut butter.
Other nutritional benefits are protein, calcium, iron, and vitamin E.
Pumpkin Seed Butter
If you are looking to boost the amount of zinc in your diet, look no further than pumpkin seed butter. It has the highest zinc content of any other nut butter. It also has a slightly sweet, earthy flavor that is especially apparent when the seeds have been toasted.
Other nutritional benefits are manganese, phosphorus, copper, magnesium, iron, healthy fats, protein, and fiber. Pumpkin seed butter is best when mixed with almonds or walnuts.
How to Make Nut Butter
Nut butters are surprisingly easy to make. A general rule of thumb is to take one cup of nuts or seeds, add a pinch of sea salt and then blend in a high-speed blender with nut grinder attachment until smooth.
Most nuts and seeds release their natural oils when they are blended. If necessary, add a small amount of coconut oil to thin the paste for a spreadable consistency.
The process takes about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the strength of your food processor. You may need to scrape the sides of the food processor once or twice during the blending. The nut butter is ready when it is smooth and creamy.