I became hooked on almond-butter when I realized how easy (and delicious) it was to grind my own at my local Whole Foods. It quickly became a key part of my breakfast: a toasted English muffin with almond butter and a drizzle of local honey. I thought nothing could be better, until I bought a Vitamix and discovered how easy it is to grind my own nuts and seeds. I started with almond butter, but before long became infatuated with sun butter. Sunflower seeds are so inexpensive to buy in bulk, and when I grind the roasted seeds (with just a little added salt, olive oil, and a touch of honey) the resulting sun butter is nothing short of divine. Forget what I said about infatuation – I’m obsessed with it.
The only tough part about making nut butter is scraping every last bit out of the blender. I quickly came up with a way around that – I scooped out most of the sun butter, then made a smoothie before washing the blender. This way I had a nice nutty base for my smoothie and my Vitamix was a quick and easy to clean up.
As much as I love the sun butter, I thought it would be fun to try something new, so today I threw together a mixture of nuts and seeds and ground it up into a mixed nut and seed butter. It was completely different – a great melding of many different flavors, that can be modified however you like and depending on what you have on hand. I skipped peanuts, for the most part because their flavor is so strong and familiar I find they overpower almost anything else in the mixture.
I bought some nuts and seeds roasted, some roasted and salted, and some raw. I soaked the raw nuts and seeds (I’ve read they make them more digestible), then dried them on a cookie sheet in my oven on the lowest setting (170F for my oven – I’d go lower if it were an option) until they were dry and a bit crisp. Depending on the mixture you use, you may not need much added oil (or even any). I don’t measure, but add oil a little at a time until the texture seems right. I like my nut butter pretty firm. If you prefer it more liquid, add more oil. The honey is optional, but I find that just a little brings out the flavor of the nuts.
Place in your Vitamix wet container (or food processor or other high-power blender):
- 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup hazelnuts
- 1 cup almonds
- 1 /2 cup pistachios
- 1 cup cashews
- 2/3 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup flaxseed
- 1/2 c. toasted sesame seeds
Blend, using your tamper to push the nuts down, until the nuts have turned into a paste. Add a little at time until the desired consistency is reached:
- light olive oil (or mild tasting oil)
Add a drizzle of honey (1-2 tsp.) and sea salt to taste if desired, then blend.