Wellbeing with Nutrition
Nurturing the Mind and Body

I love butter made with cream originating from cows allowed to graze and eat grass!

When cows are not primarily grain fed, their meat, milk and dairy products like butter has a more balanced omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids ratio. Dairy products from grass-fed cows are also a great source of the essential fat soluble vitamins A,D,E and K in a form the body can readily assimilate.

If you're lucky enough to get unpasteurised raw butter or fermented raw butter then these will contain even more nutrients, enzymes etc, which would normally get destroyed by pasteurisation.

However, if you want to avoid animal products for health issues and/or ethical reasons then butter won't be for you. Whole food butters made from grinding up nuts and seeds like almond and sunflower is one option for a vegan butter or drizzling a little cold-pressed oils like virgin olive oil over foods.

Coconut butter made from blending dried coconut flakes is another option. But you will need a good quality blender for doing this. You can also buy coconut butter, which is a whole food butter made from blending dried whole coconut whereas coconut oil, is the fat pressed out from coconut.

Main Source of Vegan Butters

The main types of vegan-butters to buy are the margarine-type spreads, which are usually made by chemical hydrogenation or inter-esterification, a definite no-no in my book.

So what other options are there? I've been searching the net and came across 2 interesting recipes for a vegan butter.

This first recipe mixes coconut oil with a monounsaturated oil like olive oil with a little salt and turmeric for a yellow colour. I tried it and it's quick and easy to do but on the down side doesn't have the same creamy texture as butter and the oils tend to separate a bit.

The second recipe mimics the same ratios of water, fat and milk solids in butter. An emulsifier like lecithin is used to combine curdled non-dairy milk with a predominantly saturated fat like coconut and a liquid oil.  The recipe uses neutral tasting deodorised coconut and canola oil but I would probably replace the canola oil with a more traditional monounsaturated oil like cold-pressed olive, avocado or macadamia oil. Bear in mind that the flavour of the oils you choose will come out in the end result so if you use virgin olive oil, your vegan olive butter will taste of it but that's not necessarily a bad thing. So if you want a more neutral tasting butter then stick to something like a high oleic sunflower oil.

I will let you know how I get on but will need to do some experimenting first.

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