i, not surprisingly, enjoy making my own nut butters. while my go-to is a simple almond butter (throw some almonds in a food processor with a bit of salt and honey, and you’re good to go), i’d been curious to experiment with more creative executions. there are so many delicious nuts and seeds to use as a base, as well as spices and flavor add-ins (dried fruits, fresh herbs, etc.).
there are also sooo many ways to use nut butter, and health benefits too. it can be a substitute for dairy (cashews replace cream/cheese in raw vegan cheesecakes and sauces, for instance), or just a nice way to boost your intake of healthy fats + proteins throughout the day. i find that nuts really enhance the flavor of a meal, and often add a decadent flair. [side note: if you’re interested in the health benefits of particular nuts, i found this BBC guide to be super informative]so, in my recent experimentation, i took 5 different nuts and turned them into various butters. one came out wonderfully (i’ll get to that soon), 2 butters came out pretty good, but two of them were ..meh. for instance, brazil nut butter, it turns out, isn’t that rich in flavor (a good butter needs to feel indulgent). and my almond curry butter was weird to say the least (although provided a good base for indian-spiced chicken i made).
the real hit was the cashew butter: MINT. CARDAMOM. CASHEW BUTTER, to be exact. minty and refreshing, this is almost a creamier, sweeter version of pesto. it’s delightful, and refreshing. the recipe is below.this particular cashew butter, when thinned with water, makes an awesome accompaniment to richer, spicier dishes such as indian or mediterranean cuisine. for instance, i paired it with my nigel slater pilaf + lamb, which worked really well.
some ideas for using your own nut butter creations:
- as a boost for your morning smoothie
- as a dipping sauce or “yogurt-y” topping (when thinned with water)
- as a mix for marinades (think chicken sate – combined with soy sauce)
- a topping for toast or crackers
- a fill for your next sandwich (perhaps even with a savory jam)
- a coating for granola (melt in small pan + mix with honey and/or coconut oil)
- addition to cookies and brownies
RECIPE: CARDAMOM MINT CASHEW BUTTER yields 2/3 cup
luxurious & decadent, similar to pesto but creamier and sweeter. minty, refreshing.
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 6 sprigs fresh mint
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- 1.5 tsp honey
- 1/3 cup water
- add all ingredients to food processor.
- blend for 10-15 minutes, until consistency is creamy and light. cashews take a while to release their oils, but have faith that it will get there (and add more oil if necessary).
- combine 1 part butter with 1 part water to create yogurt-y sauce that goes really well with indian or mediterranean cuisine (anything earthy, spicy & rich).
ps – new 8tracks playlist to accompany said creations, check it out: if you’re fond of sand dunes