Technically, you only need one ingredient to make nut butter—ground nuts. But that bores taste buds big time and requires superhuman strength to stir. So the majority of food manufacturers doctor the stuff up with sugar and salt for taste and oils to make it spreadable. And, of course, the quality and quantity of these add-ins make or break what starts off as a clean food. Still, that’s nut butter circa 1999. Today, store shelves are stocked with products that contain cleaner ingredients—coconut oil in place of sketchy soybean oil, for example—and come in dozens of dessert-like flavors, from bourbon-spiked peanut butter to almond butterinfused with crystalized ginger. Plus, every nut you can think of—cashews, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, macadamias—now comes in spreadable form.
So, what's next? Boosted nut butter—blends bulked up with ingredients like pea protein, green tea, and South American superfoods. Here are four things you need to know about the newest wave of ABs and PBs, plus eight products you’ll want stocked in your pantry ASAP.
Good ol’ peanut butter packs seven to eight grams of protein per two tablespoon serving, which isn’t too shabby. Still, Earth Balance bulked up its new Protein Peanut Blend with pea protein to deliver nine grams of the muscle builder per serving, while Buff Bake Cinnamon Raisin Protein Peanut Spreadpulls in whey protein for backup and offers 11 grams of protein per serving.
2. They’ve got some sexy ingredients, but they might set you back $30 a jar.
Even if you’re more likely to buy bags of spinach and frozen blueberries than you are to buy into the hype surrounding exotic superfoods, these bourgie nut butters will make you do a double take because they’re almost too pretty to eat. JEM’s organic sprouted almond butter offerings include Cinnamon Red Maca, which is touted to boost energy, and Superberry Maqui Camu, which gets a boost from two types of antioxidant-rich berries native to South America. The kicker: A 16 ounce jar of either is $30. Similarly, Rawmio’s organic Superfood Spread’s got goji berries along with almonds, hemp seeds, coconut sugar, and Himalayan pink sea salt but a tiny six ounce jar will run you $12.95.
By now you’ve probably heard the buzz—a company called Steem is selling caffeinated peanut butter. A two tablespoon serving delivers 170 milligrams of caffeine, roughly the same amount you’d get from two cups of java. For anybody looking for less of a jolt, Crazy Richard’s Pure PB+ is a caffeine-, sugar-, and salt-free PB that contains decaffeinated green tea extract for a milder energy boost. Stir the powdered version into your favorite morning smoothie for just 50 calories per serving, or grab the to-go version, the PB Burst.
And finally, some good news for nut butter purists! Popping up alongside the fanciest jars on supermarket shelves are some impressively simple products: Nuttzo’s Crunchy Power Fuel has everything but the kitchen sink—organic roasted cashews, organic roasted almonds, organic roasted brazil nuts, organic roasted flaxseed, organic roasted hazelnuts, organic roasted chia seeds, organic roasted pumpkin seeds, and sea salt—but no added oil or sugar. Still, the seriously satisfying spread doesn't taste bland or feel chalky in the mouth like some no-added-anything nut butters do. Crazy Richard's Pure PB has just one ingredient: peanuts that have been pressed to remove oil. The powdered product contains just 50 calories per two tablespoon serving and can be added to smoothies and baked goods for a protein (six grams per serving) and flavor boost.
This article was originally published by our partners at Eat Clean.
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