I adore nut butters. And I have at least a few different types in my fridge at all times. I eat a but/seed based butter every day and seem to find new random ways to use it all the time. In fact, their ultimate versatility is one of the main reasons I love them as much as I do.
I have been making my own nut butters for a couple of years now and am at a point where I experiment with a new combination every time I make another batch, throwing in pretty much any odd nut hiding in my pantry.
But my latest crush? Seed butters.
Seed butters are similar to nut butters and a super good alternative for those who don’t eat nuts, are allergic or have children who can’t bring nut products to school. And since seeds are typically much cheaper than nuts, it’s a great way to quickly whip up a nutritious spread at a very low cost.
In my experience, pumpkin and sunflower seeds make the best bases for seed butter and are great for making sweeter spread like this one. And add a touch of maple syrup + vanilla and you’ve got yourself one amazing and healthy spread, packed with good nutrition, nourishing fats and plant based protein. If you’re not ready for a full blown seed butter just yet, you can start slowly by incorporating seeds into your homemade nut butters. Simply add 1/2-1 cup of sunflower seeds to your nut butter, as they won’t alter the taste. They will, however, add bulk + some great health benefits.
And when I’m really good and have the time, I like to activate my seeds first by soaking them overnight and then dehydrating them in my oven for 10-12 hours at low heat (read about the benefits of activating your nuts + seeds here).
Health benefits of pumpkin + sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds are best known for their magnitude of healthy fats, which include essential fatty acids (omega 3 + 6 fats). But they are also a great source of B vitamins – particularly B1, B6 and folate, which are important nutrients for energy and beautiful skin. Similarly, they are also high in selenium, fibre, and a fantastic source of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant and what I often refer to as the beauty nutrient, as it promotes healthy and youthful skin. Not only does vitamin E protect our skin from free radical damage, it also helps prevent wrinkles by increasing the elasticity of our skin. Other than helping our skin, it is also great for healthy nails and hair.
Pumpkin seeds compliment sunflower seeds really well as they are higher in a different set of minerals – packing a good dose of zinc, magnesium, manganese and iron, all of which are essential for healthy energy levels, healthy skin as well as a healthy immune system. Pumpkin seeds are also known to be a great source of antioxidants, a good source of plant protein with (12 gm per cup) and nourishing mono + polyunsaturated fats.
One of the things I love most about nut & seed butters is how versatile they are. As I mentioned earlier, I use them for a lot, every day. I spread it on bread and top with banana slices and cinnamon, stuff it into a date for a satisfying dessert, use it as a dip for a square of 85% dark chocolate, mix a tablespoon or two into my smoothie, and add it to oatmeal (this is my favourite recipe). The options are endless and you can make them either sweet or savoury to suit your own preferences. I like to add maple syrup + cinnamon to my sweet varieties and turmeric, garlic powder and salt to savoury ones.
|Maple Pumpkin Seed Butter|| |
- 1½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- 2 tbsp maple syrup (or stevia for sugar free alternative)
- pinch salt
- ½ tsp vanilla powder
- 2-3 tbsp coconut oil
- cinnamon (optional)
- Place all the ingredients in a high speed food processor or powerful blender, such as a vitamix.
- Blend on high, scraping down the sides as needed, until you get a completely smooth butter-like spread (this took me 15 mins using a vitamix, but may take longer with another piece of equipment)
- Add extra maple syrup, vanilla + cinnamon (if using) to taste.
- Pour into a glass jar and store in the fridge where it keeps for up to 2 months.