For most Americans, peanut butter sandwiches are an integral part of their childhood. Combine it with jelly (a fruit spread, also called ‘jam’), and you have a sandwich that has been a lunchbox staple for years. But did you know that other nuts make amazing spreads too? Due to the rise in peanut allergies, many schools are now banning peanut butter in lunchboxes. This led to a rise in sales of other spreads made with almonds, hazelnuts, or macadamia nuts. Almond butter is often seen as a ‘healthier’ option than peanut butter. This is probably due to almond butter having more fiber, and less sugar and saturated fats than peanut butter. Macadamia nuts are higher in calories than most other nuts, but they do have some benefits. They are high in good fats and low in sugar. Because macadamia nuts have such a creamy consistency, it does not leave your mouth with the same dry sensation as almonds or peanuts. It also has a naturally sweet taste, but if you crave something sweeter, you can add a few drops of maple syrup.
Overall, nut spreads are a great addition to your diet. They contribute healthy fats, fiber, protein, and other nutrients!
Fruit and Vegetable Spreads
Fruit spreads are often high in added sugars. But there are other ways to incorporate some fruits and vegetables in your spreads. Avocado on toast is a popular brunch item in most parts of the world. Because of its high fat content (good fats, that is!), it spreads on bread like butter. Depending on your taste, you can just add salt and pepper, or try adding something spicier like sriracha. Other popular vegetable spreads include beetroot (cooked, cooled beetroot mixed with yoghurt), pumpkin (cooked, cooled pumpkin combined with spices) and eggplant (roasted eggplant with olive oil and spices).
If you prefer something sweeter, you can make a quick banana and chocolate spread by adding melted dark chocolate to the mashed banana. Delicious!
Legumes (such as chickpeas, beans, and lentils) are the unsung heroes of the grocery cupboard. Not only are they affordable, they are also filling and very nutritious.
Cannellini beans are naturally creamy, so they make a great spread. For a basic tasty spread, combine mashed cannellini beans with olive oil, roasted garlic, and lemon juice. If you prefer Asian flavors, you can add sesame oil, soy sauce, and sriracha.
Lentils are another healthy option. For a smoky lentil spread, combine cooked lentils with olive oil, garlic, and smoked paprika. If you like tomato-based spreads, why not add sundried tomatoes for a rich tomatoey flavor.
And if you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, a chickpea and chocolate spread is just what you need. Just blend cooked chickpeas, cocoa powder, and maple syrup in a food processor. And voila! You have a guilt-free sweet spread!
Whether you like sweet or savory, there is a spread for you! What is your favorite go-to spread?