Thrivo Guide to Nut Butters

Thrivo Guide to Nut Butters

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If you think peanuts are the only nuts good enough to spread on your toast, think again. Nut butters are having a big moment and they’re not going away anytime soon. So if you haven’t strayed far from convention and sampled the delights of creamy cashew or hazelnut butter, now’s a great time to delve in.

Despite the name, these dairy-free butters are created by simply blitzing raw or roasted nuts in a food processor until they become a thick smooth paste. (You can check out our top pick for the best food processor to create nut butters here.)

While peanut butter has been a kitchen staple for years, many commercial varieties are heavily processed to include unnecessary ingredients like unhealthy refined sugars and unsustainable palm oil. However, now more than ever you’ll find a brilliant and ever-expanding collection of natural nut butters to stock up your cupboards with.

The Health Benefits of Nut Butters

Nut butters are not just a delicious kitchen staple and versatile cooking ingredient, they also offer a host of nutritional benefits. Many nuts have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and cholesterol levels and reduce blood sugar spikes that can zap energy and lead to food cravings.

If you’re prone to sugar cravings, keep a jar of nut butter on hand. Just a tablespoon as a snack can help to ward off cravings while keeping you feeling full.

Nut butters are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are helpful for heart, blood and joint health, and vitamin E, which is essential for healthy eyes, skin and immune system. In addition, most nut butters are high in protein and fibre, along with essential vitamins and trace minerals such as copper and selenium.

Ways to Use Nut Butter

Nut butters are traditionally eaten on toast (choose a seeded, gluten free loaf for an ultra healthy option) but there are lots of ways to incorporate nut butters in your cooking; from simple snacks, to savoury sauces, healthy desserts and lots more in between.

Sweet Dishes

Usually thought of as a sweet spread, they can be added to wholesome sweet snacks and desserts and are ideal for adding a creamy texture. Try using a nut butter on your protein pancakes with a little chopped banana,

For a simple yet delicious dessert, pour a little warmed nut butter over a baked banana and finish with a drizzle of raw honey and a sprinkle of cacao nibs.

And who doesn’t love the combination of peanut butter and chocolate anything – amiright?!

Protein pancakes with banana
Get some nut butter on those pancakes for a deliciously creamy yet protein-packed topping.

Smoothies

Another way to use nut butter is to add them to smoothies for an added boost of protein and healthy fats. Almond and cashew butter make great additions to smoothies, which makes them deliciously creamy and filling enough to be a quick and nutritious breakfast option on its own.

Savoury Dishes

If you thought nut butters were only good for sweet treats and desserts, think again. They’re surprisingly delicious in savoury dishes too.

A quick way to get the benefits of nut butters into your diet is to use them instead of mayonnaise in your sandwich. Walnut, peanut and cashew butters work very well with chicken and other meats. By swapping your normal mayonnaise for nut butter it also increases the protein, fibre and healthy fat content of your lunch.

Nut butters are also great for adding to stews as they thicken the sauce a little and add a new depth of flavour that will make you wonder where they’ve been all your life.

Guide to the Best Nut Butters

Going nutty over the vast selection of nut butters available? For each of the nut butters discussed below I’ll:

  • Explain why it is good for you.
  • Discuss how to best use it.
  • Recommend an awesome product.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a good source of phosphorus, B vitamins and molybdenum, which is essential for healthy enzyme activity. With its traditionally nutty taste, peanut butter is a hugely versatile nut butter, great for drizzling into porridge, on pancakes and adding to smoothies.

It also pairs particularly well with chicken, so try mixing peanut butter with coconut milk and a dash of soy sauce for a satay-inspired savoury peanut sauce.

Tom Oliver Nutrition Peanut Butter

Tom Oliver Nutrition Peanut Butter

100% natural, 100% peanuts and 100% ludicrously tasty.

Buy on Amazon UK

Cashew Butter

Cashew nut butter contains the highest levels of monounsaturated fats, which are useful for reducing levels of bad cholesterol and high blood pressure. This type of butter has good levels of minerals such as magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and copper, which are needed to help the body use iron.

Cashew butter is known for its creamy texture and moderately sweet taste, making it a brilliant all-rounder – perfect for both sweet and savoury uses. Blitz a spoonful of cashew butter with a cup of water in a blender for instant, creamy cashew milk.

Nutural World Smooth Cashew Butter

Nutural World Smooth Cashew Butter

Made with love and care in small batches by a UK-based artisan producer, using traditional stone grinders.

Buy on Amazon UK

Almond Butter

Almond butter is one of the least calorific nut butters per serving and it contains the most fibre, while a natural prebiotic contained in the skins can help to promote levels of good bacteria in the intestines. High in B vitamins and vitamin E, this nutritionally dense nut butter is very versatile.

Made with either raw or roasted almonds, it makes for a brilliant whole food spread. Almond butter is particularly good in sweet dishes and as a topping on biscuits and raw desserts because of its natural sweetness.

Pip & Nut Smooth Almond Butter

Pip & Nut Smooth Almond Butter

A great, award-winning taste from 95.5% hi-oleic almonds – packed full of good monounsaturated fats.

Buy on Amazon UK

Hazlenut Butter

Hazelnut butter boasts high levels of vitamin E, protein and omega-6 fatty acids, and roasted varieties are known for their deliciously sweet taste. This is definitely one to try in smoothies, on pancakes and in chocolate-inspired desserts such as raw cacao brownies. Not just for sweet dishes, hazelnut butter also pairs fantastically well with lamb, too!

Meridian Crunchy Hazelnut Butter

Meridian Crunchy Hazelnut Butter

Deliciously nutty in texture and taste, made from roasted hazelnuts – and nothing else!

Buy on Amazon UK

Sprouted & Activated Nut Butters

Sprouted and activated butters are made with nuts and seeds that have been sprouted through a process of soaking in salted water then slowly drying in a low temperature oven or dehydrator. The soaking awakens the enzymes that make the nuts and seeds easier to digest and allows impurities such as phytic acid to be drawn out into the water. The nuts are then ground to create a great raw butter that can have an interesting and slightly fermented taste.

Almonds, hazelnuts, cashews and hemp seeds can all be activated before being ground into butter, but peanuts should always be roasted before being eaten.

Raw Ecstasy Activated Almond Butter

Raw Ecstasy Activated Almond Butter

Using a grinding process similar to that of indigenous people to create the smoothest, lightest and most luxuriously rawesome almond butter imaginable.
Buy on Amazon UK

Mixed Nut Butters

Almond or cashew, peanut or hazelnut? Can’t decide? Have both! If you’re torn between which nut butter to choose, try a mixed nut butter to cover all bases.

Bulk Powders Triple Nut Butter

Bulk Powders Triple Nut Butter

Artisan handmade, containing only roasted almonds, hazelnuts and cashew nuts, to ensure you get a healthy, nutritious and delicious nut butter.

Buy on Amazon UK

Coconut Butters

If you love all things coconut, you’ll be pleased to know that there are now lots of coconut nut butters, too! These spreads are a fantastic source of healthy fats, and are great to add to smoothies

Biona Organic Original Coconut Bliss, Coconut Butter

Biona Organic Original Coconut Bliss, Coconut Butter

Made from high-quality organic coconut flesh, slowly dried and gently blended into a creamy butter.

Buy on Amazon UK

Specialty Nut Butters

Looking to upgrade your standard jar of almond butter, or searching for something a little bit special? Why not try a superfood infused or spiced nut butter, instead!

With flavours including Almond & Maca, Cashew & Baobab, Hazelnut & Berries, Brazil Nuts & Cacao Nibs, the Mindful Bites range of superfood infused nut butters give you added health benefits such as boosted energy levels, lowered blood pressure and a strengthened immune system.

Mindful Bites Nut Butter: Almond & Maca

Mindful Bites Nut Butter: Almond & Maca

Velvety and indulgent, Mindful Bites superfood infused nut butters are a powerhouse of health with an explosive taste.

Buy on Amazon UK

Bulk Nut Butters

If you’re a nut butter fan and find that you can’t go a day without a few spoonfuls, you may find buying in bulk to be the best option for making sure you never run out. Luckily there are lots of suppliers who offer bulk tubs of high quality nut butters without any added nasties.

MyProtein Smooth Peanut Butter

MyProtein Smooth Peanut Butter

A natural source of healthy protein, carbohydrates and fats made from 100% peanuts with nothing else added or taken away.

Get the best deal with MyProtein Discount Codes
Buy on Amazon UK

Go Nuts with Natural Nut Butters

When looking for nut butter, be sure to look for varieties that contain only natural ingredients and no preservatives. Ideally 100% organic nuts and nothing else for the healthiest option, unless you’re choosing a superfood infused variety of course.

If you have a food processor, you can easily make your own nut butters at home – ensuring there are no hidden nasties and you know exactly what has gone into your nut butter.

Are you a fan of nut butters? Leave a comment below and let us know your favourite type of nut butter and how you love to eat it!

Last updated May 24, 2019.

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