If salmonella or life-threatening allergies have you looking for a nutritious, tasty alternative for peanut butter, here are five of the best all-natural substitutes.
The recent salmonella scare has more consumers than ever seeking a healthy, quick and easy replacement for that old standby, peanut butter. Whether you’re looking for a salmonella-risk-free alternative to use in baking, or a sandwich substitute for a child with serious peanut allergies, read on for the five top options to use every day in sandwiches, recipes, and more instead of peanut butter.
Almond butter is a natural substitute for peanut butter. The sweet almond is high in protein, vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, copper and fiber, and relatively low in other carbohydrates. Research suggests that almonds are helpful in lowering cholesterol levels and supporting heart health. Many natural health regimens prefer almonds to other nuts because they cause less acidity in the body.
Almond butter has a milder, less salty and less complex taste than peanut butter. Most peanut allergy sufferers can eat almond butter with no reaction.
Cashew butter is a popular substitute for peanut butter because it has the most similar taste of any natural substitute. However, some peanut allergy sufferers do react to cashews.
Cashew butter is rich in protein, copper, magnesium, and phosphorus. Cashews contain less fat than most other nuts, most of it healthy oleic acid like that found in olive oil. Cashew butter has a rich, sweet flavor like peanuts and is easy to switch into sandwiches, cookies, and other food in place of peanut butter without much of a change in flavour.
Sunflower Seed Butter
Sunflower seed butter is not as sweet as PB or many nut butters (such as cashew or almond), but the slightly heavier flavor can be masked with jam or honey and its health benefits easily overrule that consideration.
Sunflower seeds are high in protein, fiber, antioxidants vitamin E and selenium, B vitamins, copper, zinc, folate, iron, and phytosterols, which may lower cholesterol. Sunflower seeds are also high in linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid.
Soy Nut Butter
Soy nut butter is promoted as an ideal peanut butter substitute for those with tree nut allergies, since the soy bean is completely unrelated to peanuts. Soy is considered a complete protein, unlike other beans, and the flavor of soy nut butter can be made to closely imitate peanut butter.
Soy is high in omega fatty acids, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin K, phosphorus and zinc. However, soy allergies in themselves are fairly common, and there are some concerns about the health impact of soy, when consumed on a regular basis.
Hummus is a paste made mostly from chickpeas and tahini (sesame seed butter). Frequently served as a savory dip or spread, it can be used with jam in sandwiches in place of peanut butter, although a milder hummus works better than the spicy ones that are also available.
Chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) are a good source of protein, fiber, zinc, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and folate. Some people with peanut sensitivity are allergic to beans, including chickpeas, so this option won’t work for everyone.
These are a few of the best natural alternatives to peanut butter that are widely available in supermarkets and grocery stores. Plenty of other nut and seed butters are available, depending on your taste and on specific allergies.
Almond Board of California, “Nutrition Benefits,” AlmondsAreIn.com, accessed February 20, 2009.
George Mateljan Foundation, “The World’s Healthiest Foods: Cashews,” WHfoods.com, accessed February 20, 2009.