Nut butter, jam, and other vegan spreads provide healthy options for animal-based products. These alternative spreads are delicious and nutritious, providing many health benefits.
However, it’s essential to ascertain whether your preferred vegan spread is vegan. In this guide to nut butter, jams, and more, we delve deeper into which products are vegan.
Which Jams are Vegan?
Fruit spread, jam, jellies, and preserves are all similar because they contain various fruit forms. Fruit spread has mashed fruit boiled with no sugar, relying on the fruit’s sugars for their sweetness. Jam contains mashed fruit and added sugar, while jellies contain strained fruit juice. Finally, preserves have the chunkiest texture because they have whole pieces of fruit.
However, jams require something to help them set and may contain gelatin. These jams are not vegan. Instead, look for jams that contain fruit pectin, a carbohydrate found in fruit that helps bind the fruit when cooked.
Whether you prefer a sugary jam, a sugar-free fruit spread, or a sweet spread made with organic fruit, the market is full of delicious choices.
Some of our favorites include:
- Bonne Maman Fig or Bonne Maman Four Fruits contains fruit, brown cane sugar, concentrated lemon juice, and fruit pectin.
- Oswald’s Strawberry Chia Smash has strawberries, organic date syrup, organic chia seeds, and organic lemon.
- Smucker’s Red Plum Jam is made with red plums, high fructose corn syrup, fruit pectin, and citric acid.
- Crofter’s Organic Berry Harvest Premium Fruit Spread contains organic berries, organic cane sugar, apple pectin, ascorbic acid, and citric acid.
Vegan Nut Butter Options
Depending on your preferred nut butter, these include several healthy nutrients, including protein, healthy fats, fiber, and phytochemicals like zinc. They also have plenty of vitamins and minerals.
From the humble peanut butter to the more delicate tahini flavor, nut butter remains a staple for most vegans. However, if you’re looking for a vegan version, you must pay close attention to the ingredients in your favorite nut paste.
Some brands use honey, collagen, whey powder, or egg whites, all animal-based ingredients. If you’re concerned with deforestation and its threats to endangered species, you also want to ensure your nut butter contains no palm oil.
You should also know that some nut butter brands contain partially hydrogenated oils. These are trans fat that decreases “good” cholesterol, so avoid any that contain these trans fats.
Healthiest Nut Butters
Almond butter – Packed with a healthy combination of protein (about seven grams per serving), fiber, and healthy fats, almond butter is the ideal snack to replace lost energy levels. It is high in monounsaturated fat, reducing LDL cholesterol while raising HDL cholesterol.
Almond butter is known to control blood sugar. It has higher vitamin E, calcium, iron, and fiber levels than peanut butter. Compared to peanut butter, it has less saturated fat and fewer carbohydrates.
You’ll want your almond butter to have no added sugar or fats, only dry roasted almonds.
Peanut butter – Affordable peanut butter contributes to all-around health since it’s a first-rate source of monounsaturated fats and vitamin E. Peanut butter is a good source of protein since it contains 8 grams of protein per serving. It also has plenty of B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and selenium.
Peanut butter remains a classic whether you love eating it by the spoonful, on bread with jelly, or incorporating it into foods or baked goods. Look for one that contains just roasted peanuts and low salt.
Cashew butter – The thinner consistency and fattier flavor of cashew butter make it ideal for use in desserts. Even though it has a lower protein content than almond or peanut butter, it’s still packed with vitamins, minerals, and polyunsaturated fats. USDA data shows that one serving provides 10% of the daily value of iron, traces of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin K.
The best cashew butter contains roasted cashews with as few added ingredients as possible.
Walnut butter – Walnut butter does not contain high levels of protein, nor is it very high in healthy fats and trace minerals. It has smaller amounts of calcium, iron, and potassium than other nut butter but is very high in polyphenols, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids. Polyphenols lower inflammation, and omega fatty acids protect the heart.
You can find 100% walnut butter from some producers, but often they are mixed with cashews or other nuts. If you’re struggling to find one containing only walnuts, you can make your own by processing 100 grams of raw or baked walnuts with salt and sugar added to taste.
Tahini – Made with sesame seeds, tahini is a staple ingredient in cuisines across the Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East, and North Africa. In these regions, tahini is added to savory (hummus and baba ghanoush) and sweet dishes (halva and cookies).
Tahini has a creamy, runny consistency with a nutty flavor that leaves a slightly bitter finish. It’s a good protein source containing healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, including copper, calcium, zinc, and iron.
The best tahini for vegans contains just sesame seeds.
Find out more about nut butter from this enlightening article from VegNews.
Chocolate Flavored Spreads and More
Nutella, the world’s favorite hazelnut and chocolate spread, contains skim milk powder, meaning that even though it contains cocoa and hazelnuts, both vegan ingredients, it’s not vegan. However, that doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy a vegan chocolate spread.
You can find vegan cocoa and nut butter commercially similar in taste to regular Nutella. Some products to try include Artisana Organics Cashew or Hazelnut Cacao Spread. You can also try nut-free 88 Acres Dark Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter and Don’t Go Nuts Soy Spread.
Reading this article from VegOut proves there’s no limit to the number of ingredients one can combine to make a delicious nut butter. Ground Up is one company that constantly innovates with limited-time flavor releases, including the Walnut & Cashew Butter with Black Pepper and Sea Salt.
Home Made Vegan Spreads
Most store-bought vegan spreads contain preservatives and other additives like modified food starch to extend the shelf life of a product. If you’re more health-conscious, you can make your own vegan spread at home using fresh ingredients.
You can make delicious hummus or baba ghanoush spreads with tahini sauce as the base ingredient. You combine this thick paste of sesame seeds, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil with chickpeas for hummus and roasted eggplant for baba ghanoush.
Or try making some vegan jam with ripe fruits such as strawberries, plums, raspberries, or mangoes. To do this, mash your fruit in a bowl, add sugar and lemon juice, and cook on low heat until the mixture thickens.
You can even make your own vegan nut butter at home with any nuts or seeds you prefer. Blanch them if necessary, toast them lightly for more flavor, then blend them with some sea salt to taste.
Making vegan spreads from scratch is easy and requires minimal cooking time. Plus, you can enjoy fresh spreads free of preservatives and other additives often found in store-bought options.
No matter which option you go for—store-bought or homemade—know that there’s an abundance of delicious vegan spreads out there waiting to be served. So try out different flavors and see
Tips for Buying Vegan Spreads
When buying vegan spreads, always make sure to read the ingredients. Some ingredients in non-vegan spreads include honey, lactose, whey powder, and egg whites.
Look for palm oil-free products; this ingredient is linked to deforestation and threats to endangered species. Also, look for gums or emulsifiers like lecithin or xanthan gum that are often derived from animals but can also be plant-based.
As always, opt for organic as much as possible since it’s guaranteed that no animal byproducts are used during the production and processing of your food items.
Finally, go for spreads with lower added sugar to enjoy your nut butter without consuming too many empty calories.
You can use vegan spreads on toast, and sandwiches, as a dip for fruits or vegetable sticks, as a base for dressings and sauces, smoothies, and baking recipes. Now that you know the best nut butter to look for, it’s time to start experimenting! Enjoy!
You don’t need to feel restricted when looking for a snack on a vegan diet. Whether you feel like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, some jam on toast, or a spoonful of nut butter for energy, there is an endless variety of products, even for those with the most discerning tastes and dietary needs.
What are the health benefits of vegan spreads?
The most commonly used vegan spreads—nut butter, tahini, and nut-free alternatives—provide essential vitamins and minerals to support overall health. They are also a great source of plant-based proteins and fats to fuel your day.
Are all vegan spreads organic?
No, not all vegan spreads are organic. However, you can look for certified organic items when shopping for these products. This ensures that no animal byproducts are used during production or processing.
Can I make my own vegan spread at home?
Yes! Making your own vegan spread is easy and requires minimal cooking time. You can make hummus with tahini sauce as the base ingredient or vegan jams with fresh fruits. You can also make your own nut butter at home with any nuts or seeds you prefer.
Try some of the recipes in this article to get started on making your vegan spreads. Enjoy!
What are some tips when buying vegan spreads?
When purchasing vegan spreads, always read the ingredients first to make sure there are no animal byproducts. Look for products without palm oil that contain plant-based emulsifiers like lecithin or xanthan gum. Opt for organic if possible and look for items with lower added sugar content. Finally, it’s important to check expiration dates before buying—especially in case of store-bought items. Enjoy!