Nut butters are a staple of my diet, and for good reason. They are a tasty, easy source of protein for the discerning vegetarian or vegan, and now come in all sorts of blends, flavours and brands. You might not have discovered the wonderful world of nut butters, so I hope this deep dive into their many wonderful varieties inspires you to try something new. 

Peanut butter is a classic that most people will have come across. I prefer mine crunchy and loose: none of that dense, cloying stuff. My favourite brand is Pip and Nut. I buy it by the kilogram, and it does not contain palm oil, which is something to watch out for when buying nut butters. Palm oil has been linked to deforestation, so it’s best to keep your conscience clean. I use peanut butter for everything: for baking moreish flapjacks; as a satay sauce dressing for salads; or to rub into vegetables before roasting. It really is my go-to ingredient. 

Although I’ve never really been a fan of smooth peanut butters, smooth is generally the only option for other nut butters. This isn’t too much of an issue, as these butters tend to be thinner than peanut, so don’t need the crunch for contrast. Cashew butter has a light, dainty taste so won’t hold its own against stronger flavours, but is lovely swirled into your porridge, topped with berries. Pistachio is a delight, although quite difficult to get your hands on. But it is definitely worth it for its unique taste. If you can get past its slightly alarming neon green colour, it is stronger than cashew but less overwhelmingly nutty than peanut. My favourite of the nicher nut butters has to be almond. Because it is not as popular, it is quite a bit more expensive than peanut, but you will be rewarded. It has that intense nutty taste (which is a positive for me) but is something a bit different in its texture and consistency. 

Nut butters are also incredibly easy to experiment with by adding different flavours to the blend. No, I have never tried chilli nut butter, although I am intrigued by the premise of sweet and spicy. But I found the marmite peanut butter a terrible Frankenstein’s monster of two things I love separately (and that should stay this way). However, I have found one experimental nut butter that I adore, which is the Yumello salted date almond butter. Yes, it’s as good as it sounds. The rich nuttiness is contrasted with the caramel of the dates and deep umami. It’s sweet and salty and just waiting to be slathered onto bread or just eaten from the pot (which is impossible to resist doing). It’s everything you’d want in a nut butter. Any haters of nut butter, I implore you to try this. For those wishing to get out of a boring peanut butter rut, this is the revolution for you. 

The other incredible thing about nut butters is that you can easily make them at home. I’ve experimented with trying to make almond butter before, and lost patience with my very old blender, so the nuts didn’t have enough time to turn into butter. Despite my not-quite-successful attempt, I am told it is quite simple to do and I hope to persevere with it in the future!

Nut butter, whether shop-bought or homemade, is a worthy addition to any student’s kitchen cupboard. Why not experiment: add in chocolate or dates, or even chilli! Whatever your heart desires, there is a nut butter out there for you.