Katie's Healthy Bites: Make Your Own Nut Butters

FNM-AppleMoon-427.tif

FNM-AppleMoon-427.tif

Food stylist: Stephana Bottom

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2010

Hearst Communications Inc., 2010

I love peanut butter! If you're a fanatic like me, you'll love how quick, simple, creative and healthy making your own nut butters can be. Homemade nut butters are preservative-free and packed with heart-healthy fats. They are a versatile ingredient that's both filling and delicious. Smear these nut butters on a cracker, a slice of apple or crusty whole grain bread or blend it into your favorite recipe.

The How-To

Step 1: Pick Your Nut

For the best flavor, choose a raw version. Save money in the bulk aisle of your grocery store. Here are some varieties to get you started; use one type or mix and match for a combination of flavors.

  • Peanuts (actually a legume)
  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Pistachios
  • Macadamia Nuts

Step 2: Roast The Nuts

Enhance the true flavor by arranging your nut(s) of choice in a single layer on a baking sheet and roasting them in a 350 degree F oven for 5-10 minutes or until golden brown and aromatic. Be diligent as they can burn quickly!

Step 3: Make it Creamy

Add your roasted nuts and a few tablespoons of mild vegetable oil (try canola) to your food processor.  Turn it on and blend!  Be sure to wipe down the sides once in a while to get a consistent final product.  How long your process your butter will depend on the texture (creamy to chunky) you want.  Add a little water to thin it out if you don’t want to go overboard on the oil.

Step 4: Season and Serve

You can keep it simple with a pinch of salt, or go completely natural and savor all that nutty goodness.  If you are feeling a bit daring try some of these tasty add-ins that will turn your nut butter from simple to superb.

  • Cinnamon
  • Chili Flakes or Cayenne Pepper
  • Melted Chocolate
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Cumin
  • Maple Syurp
  • Tamari

Step 5: Serve it Up

Snack on your creation with fruit or crackers, or try one of these easy recipes:

TELL US: Have you made your own nut butter?

Katie Cavuto Boyle, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian, personal chef and owner of HealthyBites, LLC. See Katie's full bio »

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