Three Delicious Homemade Nut Butters
Perfectly balanced and delightfully flavored recipes for Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, and hazelnuts
Nuts are a linchpin of vegan cuisine: high in protein, luxurious in flavour, entirely practical in application. A scattering of cashews makes your stir-fry both a complete meal and a good time, almond butter lends instant opulence, and peanut butter on toast is a perpetual lifesaver meal.
As it turns out, not all nuts are created equal. Now, eating plant-based can be as complex or straightforward a journey as you want it to be, but generally the territory comes with a heightened awareness of our food’s origins. Keywords that might previously have flown over my head now ping in my ears — sustainability, water-intensive crops, Fair Trade, deforestation. Knowing that almond trees guzzle water and are mostly grown in drought-troubled places now gives me pause when I reach for the almond butter. Finding out the bulk of the world’s cashews are processed by women in human rights-violating conditions makes me feel uneasy about the inexpensive cashews that I would normally buy as a matter of course. And as for that one chocolate hazelnut spread: I was never a fan anyway. But the thought of how the palm oil in it contributes massively to deforestation and the death of animals leaves a bitter taste in my mouth without even opening a jar.
None of us is ever going to be a “perfect vegan.” Indeed, you might consider the ability to be closely discerning about food to be a huge privilege. That’s valid! Some of us might think we’re already doing plenty and that it’s tiring feeling wrong about everything. If this is your viewpoint I’m not judging, because I don’t know what journey has led any one person to their current meal. But I try to hold myself accountable — as accountable as I can afford to be at any given moment, and right now for me that means a little more scrutiny. It’s easy to be overwhelmed, but I remind myself that if being a drop in a bucket with no impact is really true, then why did I become vegan in the first place?