Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Almond Butter

Did you know that one of the health benefits of almonds is to lower bad cholesterol?

I was just reading an article about it a couple days ago. I was excited to find that out because lately I have been experimenting with nut butters of all kinds; cashews, pecans, almonds...

Nut butters have changed my cooking style for the better, I would say, to a higher level of health. You see, I try to stay away from dairy products (and I'll tell you why in a minute) and nut butters are a fantastic substitute. They almost taste like butter or cheese, they have a similar creamy, rich, full body kind of texture.

One of the reasons I choose to limit my dairy intake is the antibiotics and pesticides you find in all of the animal products these days. Another reason is that dairy has been linked to many different ailments like: acne, asthma, eczema, gastrointestinal disturbance, high blood pressure and many many more...So, I just prefer to stay away from it.....whenever possible anyways.

Don't worry about the calcium, there is plenty of other places you can get it from. Think about all the leafy greens, many nuts and seeds, sea vegetables, sprouts, many grains etc.

Almonds are also a leading source of vitamin E and magnesium and offers protein, fiber, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and iron. Also, almonds (and other nuts) contain phytochemicals, which are plant chemicals that may provide powerful protection against heart disease, stroke, and other chronic diseases.

I don't really have a particular recipe. I just soak the almonds overnight. The next day I put them in my foods processor until pureed (add a bit of olive oil - careful with the olive oil, you don't want the strong olive flavor to take over- and water if too thick). I then season the almond butter with what ever I have on hand. You can use; shallots, garlic, sea salt, cayenne pepper, fresh herbs....anything really.

What I really love about nut butters is their versatility. Use them as a spread on crackers or in your sandwiches instead of cheese. Include them in your salad dressings. I love to use them for sauces, they are a wonderful thickening agent and add a wonderful flavor to your sauces. Your guests will think you used some heavy cream.

Try it and leave me a comment to let me know how you liked it!