Taste

Almond Butter: The Facts and The Fun

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Almond butter has swept past its peanut butter competitor as the healthier alternative. Just as equally delicious, almond butter is more nutritious and can be used as a substitute for peanut butter in any of your favorite morsels. Whether you love it as a healthy alternative or for the delicious flavor, almond butter offers countless possibilities.

The Facts

Being the skinny sister of peanut butter is no easy task; almond butter tackles many health issues.  From heart disease to weight loss, almond butter can play a role in keeping your body in top shape.

Like most food products, the healthiest varieties of almond butter are all natural, meaning almonds and salt are the only ingredients.  All natural almond butter is free of added sugar and hydrogenated fats. It also is rich in monounsaturated fats, which reduce cholesterol, and calcium, potassium and magnesium, which lower blood pressure.  As if that wasn’t enough, almond butter is rich in antioxidants that help reduce oxidative stress, which prevents the body from repairing itself.

The main reason for swapping peanut butter out for its almond counterpart is you can receive the same benefits without the most common drawbacks. Almond butter contains the same protein and fiber as peanut butter and lacks the added sugar and fats. These qualities help control your body’s blood sugar, which makes it especially helpful for those
with diabetes.

One misconception many people have about almonds (and nuts in general) is that they lead to weight gain. Yes, almonds and other nuts do have a high concentration of calories, but when used appropriately as a snack, the other benefits offered far outweigh the extra calories and actually help maintain weight in the long run.

The Fun

In addition to the wonderful health benefits of almond butter, it also provides an array of delicious cooking alternatives. There are the obvious substitutes, such as using it in PB&Js, as well as more creative ways, such as using it as a sweetener in oatmeal and smoothies.  We have compiled a few of our favorite recipes incorporating almond butter, as well as a simple recipe to make your own almond butter at home.

Homemade Roasted Almond Butter

Place 4 to 6 ounces of whole almonds on a lined cookie sheet. Roast for 12 to 15 minutes on 350 degrees, stirring once to prevent burning. Place roasted almonds in a food processor and begin mixing. Allow it to run about 15 minutes until consistency is smooth and creamy, scrape sides as needed. Add any additional ingredients you wish to taste: salt, pure maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, etc.

Toast with Almond Butter, Bananas and Honey

Toast your bread. We recommend Food for Life® Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain or Rudi’s® Gluten-Free Multigrain. Spread almond butter on toast and top with sliced bananas, then drizzle with honey (optional).

Smoothie

Combine about 1/2 a cup of frozen or fresh pineapple chunks, a generous spoonful of almond butter, almond milk (we recommend Blue Diamond Unsweetened Vanilla), seeds of one cardamom pod, agave nectar to sweeten (optional) and several ice cubes into a blender. Blend ingredients until smooth.

Stuffed Celery

Cream together one package of reduced fat cream cheese and  ½ cup almond butter.  Fold in ¼ cup cranberries and ¼ cup diced and toasted almonds. Cut celery stalks in thirds and using a spatula, fill with mixture. Chill and serve.

Spicy Almond Sauce

In a large skillet, sauté ¼ chopped green onion in 2 TBS oil until soft.  Add 2 cups water, 3 chicken bouillon cubes, ½ cup almond butter, 1 TBS soy sauce, 1 TBS lemon juice, 1 tsp sugar, ¼ tsp ground ginger, ¼ tsp garlic powder, 1/8 tsp cayenne. Stirring well, bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered about 6 minutes or until sauce coats spoon.  Serve with chicken and rice or pasta. Makes 2 cups.

Almond Butter Ice Cream

Blend one frozen banana and ½ tsp vanilla extract in blender or food processor until you get a creamy consistency.  Add 1 TBS almond butter and blend again.  Scoop and serve or freeze to save for later.

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