Category Archives: Dips and Spreads

Carrot Butter: A Guest Post & Recipe from Canned Time


Kel and I are back home after a lazy week in Florida where I gave myself permission to break most of my eating and exercise, um, guidelines.  I ate what I wanted, when I wanted and in whatever quantity appealed.  My pace never broke the stroll barrier and I got in some high quality pool-time where a crossword puzzle, a good book, and a bottomless soy latte were never too far out of reach.  Wait a sec – - let me loosen my belt buckle.  Okay.

So while I detox from my overindulgences – including waaaay too many hours in front of the TV watching the Jodi Arias trial on HLN (she is so freakin’ guilty) – Angela from Canned Time covers today’s post.  If you haven’t visited Canned Time yet, please head over there after you’ve enjoyed her beautiful Carrot Butter recipe (look at those carrots!).  Her photos are stunning and her recipes are healthy and creative.  Thanks, Angela!

Connect with Angela:
Canned Time

Vegan Carrot Butter - for sandwich spread or a veggie dip - from

First up, my sincere thanks to Annie for helping me so much since last fall. She is truly an inspiring, good soul who can make me laugh at life….the perfect combination.

Thanks Annie ♥

So let me premise this post by confessing that I don’t like carrots. Cooked or raw, they’ve never been a veggie that I seek out, crave or otherwise munch on. And knowing what good things are packed into these little jewels, I’ve decided to change that old habit starting today!

Vegan Carrot Butter - for sandwich spread or a veggie dip - from

Carrots are one of the best sources of carotene, a strong antioxidant, but carrots also contain other phenolic compounds that are antioxidants. Most people do not realize that numerous phenolic compounds are located in the skin of fruit and vegetables, many of which are removed by peeling prior to processing. And Carrot greens, something rarely mentioned even in the Vegan world, are rich in vitamin K, we love that right?

So I needed to find a way to not just

include carrots in my diet, but find a way to enjoy these little lovelies!

Enter: Carrot Butter

Vegan Carrot Butter - for sandwich spread or a veggie dip - from

Vegan Carrot Butter - for sandwich spread or a veggie dip - from

I made my Carrot Butter discovery very innocently last month while chatting with Somer at Vedged Out. I’d never even heard of it before and in an on-line search, I found there are as many recipes for Carrot Butter as there are Carrot colors. Sweet, Savory, Spicy. So I’d advise to pick your favorite flavor and here’s mine:

1 Cup of Sliced Carrots, 1 Cup of Sunflower Seeds, 1/2 Cup of Agave, 1 tsp. Cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. of Ginger, pinch of Sea Salt, Nut milk (up to 1/2 Cup for smoothing)

Vegan Carrot Butter - spread the nutrition, from

Steam the carrots to fork tender. Drain. Combine everything in a blender or food processor and blend, blend blend. Add in more milk if it seems too thick. I used about 1/3 cup to smooth the paste out and I let it blend for over 5 minutes until really smooth. My first batch was a little too bumpy for my taste. Transfer the butter into a sealed container and refrigerate until cool. Serve as a dip for veggies, fruit, crackers or breads. Store sealed in the fridge for a week or so.

Vegan Carrot Butter - for sandwich spread or a veggie dip - from

I think I could learn to LOVE carrots now. My next batch I’ll try a savory version with some garlic and a little tumeric. The sky is the limit here.

Vegan Carrot Butter - for sandwich spread or a veggie dip - from

I’ve found an easy and inexpensive way to add in veggies to even more of my meals with dehydrated veggie salts. Just dry out some veggies, carrots, celery, beets, onion (my favorite on fries) grind up the dried veggies and mix them into a coarse sea salt with about a 3:1 ration salt to veggie. If you’re trying to limit salt, make a 50:50 blend. Not only does this sneak more nutrition into plain ‘ole salt but it’s a great way to use up those overly ripened, maybe not so pretty veggies that still hole so many nutrients. Dry them out and grind ‘em up!

Dehydrated Carrot Sea Salt









So, I think my dislike of the wonderful Carrot is over. An inexpensive, flavorful way to boost any meal’s nutrition and taste! Thanks for the idea for the butter Somer. And much gratitude to Annie and An Unrefined Vegan for sharing and caring ♥

Vegan Carrot Butter - for sandwich spread or a veggie dip - from

You might also enjoy some similar ideas like these:
Sweet Potato Pecan Butter from Kristy at Keepin’ It Kind
Homemade Cookie Butter Peanut Butter from Averie at Averie Cooks
Carrot Crackers from Carmella at The Sunny Raw Kitchen
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Coconut Curry Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce WrapsPlant-based lunch options are few and far between in Amarillo, Texas on Sundays.  Which is why during a recent road trip we opted to go to a Natural Grocers in search of munchies.  Along with some almond butter, sweet potato chips and a bag of vegan chocolate chip cookies, I grabbed a container of Thai Coconut Curry Hummus (vegan, kosher, gluten-free and organic!) by Hope Hummus.  Boy Howdy!  It was absolutely delicious.  I’ve never seen this brand before and since I won’t be finding it in my local Walmart any time soon, I knew I had to recreate it for myself.  It makes a great dip but it’s even better as a sandwich spread. (And it sure beats a meal at The Big Texan, home of the *free* 72 oz. steak.)

In a huge world of deliciously-creative and beautifully-photographed vegan food blogs,the site Vegan Richa is a stand-out.  I’ve been lucky enough to get a little bit acquainted with the force behind this blog and today I want to say thank you to Richa who turned out to be my Valentine this year as part of a vegan food swap.  Lucky me and oh the goodness!  Lovely spices, quinoa chivda, chocolate, Biscoff Spread (something I’d been eyeing for ages) and lots of other thoughtful goodies.  Here’s an Instagram shot:

Goodies from Richa

One year ago today: Pumpkin-Carrot Cake-Ginger Pancakes
One year and one day ago today: Stealing from Friends: Double Chocolate Chip Cookies w/ Blueberries

Sharing this recipe on Healthy Vegan Friday on Veggie Nook!

Coconut Curry Lettuce Wraps
Makes a boatload

1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp. coconut milk
1/4 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut soaked for a few hours in 1/2 cup water (do not drain)
1 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp. maple syrup
juice of 1 lime
1 heaping tbsp. tahini
2 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded
1 tsp. dried onion flakes
1/2″ nubbin ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. curry powder
big handful of fresh cilantro

big, fresh romaine lettuce leaves
shredded carrot
shredded zucchini
sliced English cucumber
pickled ginger
sesame seeds

In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients (except the lettuce, carrot, zucchini, cucumber, ginger and sesame seeds) and process until smooth.  The flavor of this spread develops over time so it’s best to make this ahead and store in the refrigerator for a few hours.  It has a bit of a kick to it, so lessen the amount of jalapeno if you like.

When ready to serve, generously coat the lettuce with the coconut curry spread and top with the carrot, zucchini, cucumber, ginger and sesame seeds.

Spread Ingredients

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VeganMoFo: Sunflower, Pepita & Hemp Seed Bread Spread

Sandwich w/ SpreadLunch can present problems.  I’m usually starving by noontime, but I don’t want to spend a lot of time preparing anything – and unless there are leftovers waiting in the refrigerator – a meal from scratch is the only option.  That’s why a spread like this is worth its weight in gold.  It’s quick and easy to prepare, is mighty tasty and very satisfying.

I poached the idea from Feeding the Healthy Vegetarian Family, by Ken Haedrich, but changed it up when I saw that I would have to toast the sunflower seeds and then let them cool.  Lunch was due in 30 minutes.  So I decided to do the raw thing; and instead of all sunflower seeds, I foraged in the cupboard for pepitas and hemp seeds.  I also cut back on the amount of tahini and added miso paste for richness and saltiness.  Top with sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, red onion, avocado and/or sprouts.

Sunflower, Pepita & Hemp Seed Bread Spread
Makes a couple of cups

1 cup + 1/4 cup raw, hulled sunflower seeds, divided
3/4 cup + 1 tbsp. pepita seeds, divided
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp. hemp seeds, divided
2 tbsp. tamari
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. white miso
1/3 cup tahini
1/2 cup water
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 celery rib, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp. white ground pepper

Set aside 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, 1 tbsp. pepitas and 1 tbsp. hemp seeds.  In the bowl of a food processor, combine all of the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Stir in the reserved seeds.

Spread on whole grain bread and top with your favorite veggies or use as a dip.  The spread thickens as it sets.

Seeds, Lemon

Sandwich w/ Spread 2

Vegan MoFo

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VeganMoFo: Cranberry-Date Quick “Jam”

Relish in JarsThree ingredients (four if you count the water). One small saucepan and about 20 minutes of your time. That’s what I call jammin’ MoFo-style.

Cranberry-date Quick “Jam”
Makes about 2 cups

1 8 oz. bag fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup dates, roughly chopped
1 tbsp. chia seeds mixed with 1/2 cup water

In a small saucepan, combine the dates and the cranberries. Pour in a 1/4-1/2 cup water and cook until the cranberries start to break apart and soften. Turn off the heat and stir in the chia seed/water mixture. Pour everything into a blender and process until it reaches the consistency you like – I made mine pretty smooth. Set aside to cool – and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use. (This mellows over time, but is pretty tart – which I like – but do sweeten it to your tastes.)

Jam on Toast

Jam in Jar


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Smoky Pesto Cashew Cheez

Cheez SandwichA mere few weeks ago I was all hot for coconut butters.  Now I’m onto nut cheez.  The original recipe for this came from The Complete Guide to Vegan Substitutions and called for roasted red peppers and jalapenos.  I made a batch nearly straight-up (reduced the olive oil) true to the recipe and was just blown away by the flavor.  (When it’s still hot, it smells uncannily like diary cheese.)  It’s by far the best-tasting nut cheez I’ve ever made.  I’ve got a thing or two against commercial vegan cheezes but still felt like I was missing out, so this recipe is a great addition to my list of vegan staple items.  Slap a slice or two of this stuff between some red chile tortillas, grill – and you will be a very happy camper indeed.

The second time I made it, I thought pesto would be an ideal “add-in” instead of the jalapenos and red peppers.  It makes for a beautiful little loaf of healthy, reduced fat vegan cheez.  Totally worthy atop homemade crackers or melted between crunchy-soft bread.  Making cheez at home is not a cheap option – a 1 oz. bag of agar flakes is about $6.99 and cashews are pricey as well, but a little of this cheez goes a long way and last time I looked, my homemade stuff didn’t have any ingredients I couldn’t pronounce (or tons of oil, either).

Smoky Pesto Cashew Cheez
One big ol’ loaf or 2 smaller rounds

1 oz. agar flakes or powder
3 cups water
2 cups raw cashews, ground into a fine powder
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4-1/2 tsp. Liquid Smoke
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. onion flakes or powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
~1 cup quick, oil-free pesto (recipe follows)

Pesto Cashew Cheez on Board


Quick Oil-free Pesto

2 cups fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
dash ground black pepper

Make the pesto:
In a food processor, pulse the basil, garlic and pepper until finely chopped.  Remove from processor and set aside.

Make the cheez:
Clean and dry the bowl of the food processor and grind the cashews. Either lightly oil a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan or use medium-sized ramekins to get round cheezes.  One loaf pan is perfect for this recipe, but if you go smaller, you will need more than one pan or dish.

In a medium-sized sauce pan, bring the 3 cups of water and agar flakes to a boil and keep the mixture at a nice, rolling boil for 5 minutes, whisking often.  Meanwhile, add the remaining cheez ingredients – but not the pesto or the water/agar – to the food processor.  Process until everything is combined and you have a thick paste.  When the agar mixture has boiled for 5 minutes, remove from the heat and immediately whisk in the cashew mixture.  It will start off rather chunky, but will melt into the agar.  Once it’s all whisked and smooth, quickly dump in the pesto and stir only one or two times.  You don’t want to fully incorporate the pesto – you’re looking for streaks and lumps.

Quickly pour the cheez into the prepared pan(s) or dish(es).  Pop into the ‘frige and allow to firm up.  Once the cheez is firm, you can remove it from the pan(s) by running a knife around the edges.  Serve sliced, as is, or use in quesadillas or grilled sandwiches.

Cheez on Board

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Miso-Ginger Soup with Lettuce Veggie Cups & Two Dipping Sauces

Miso-Ginger Soup

Lettuce CupsThe first time I made this simple miso soup, I was home alone and suffering from a bad cold.  All I wanted was soup (a little sympathy wouldn’t have hurt, either), but I didn’t have the desire or energy to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  Miso was the perfect solution.  Quick, easy, comforting and healthful to boot.  You can make it as fancy or as simple as you like.

The veggie wraps come nearly unchanged from a terrific recipe in Moosewood Restaurant New Classics.  The biggest revision I made was to ditch the egg roll wrappers (I’ve never been able to successfully wrestle those rascals, anyway, and the ones available to me aren’t vegan) in favor of crisp lettuce.  I also omitted the cooking oil.  The sauces are a result of my tinkering with several different recipes.

If you participated in the recent Virtual Vegan Potluck, wanted to participate or if you’d just like to keep current on the what’s happening, please Like our new Facebook page dedicated to the event.  We’ve posted all of the links to the wonderful recipes from everyone who did participate – please visit and check it out!  You can also keep in touch via the Potluck Twitter handle, @veganpotluck.  Thank you!

Miso-Ginger Soup
Serves 4-6

2″ piece of ginger, peeled and microplaned (or finely minced)
6 cups water
Red Miso, White Miso Paste3-4″ piece kombu
4 tbsp. white miso
3 tbsp. red miso
1 tsp. tamari or soy sauce
2 scallions, chopped + additional for garnish
fresh cilantro, chopped

Other add-ins, if desired:
cubed silken tofu
thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps
grated carrots
buckwheat noodles

Put 6 cups water in a large saucepan.  Add the kombu and the microplaned ginger.  Gently heat to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.  Remove kombu.  If using add-ins, put them into the soup now and simmer for a few minutes, just to slightly soften the vegetables. (I cook the buckwheat noodles separately and just stir them into the soup at the end.)

Whisk in the miso and the tamari.  Do not let the soup boil.  Cook for about 30 seconds.

Divide soup among 4 or 6 bowls and garnish with additional scallions and cilantro, if desired.

Lettuce Cup in Hand

Lettuce Veggie Wraps
Serves 6 or more

2 oz. bean thread noodles
vegetable broth for cooking
2 cups green cabbage, grated
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced or microplaned
1 cup carrots, peeled and grated
1 cup red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

Medium-size head red lettuce or your favorite tasty green

Soak the bean thread noodles in warm water until softened, about 15 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat a couple of tablespoons of vegetable broth and saute the cabbage for about 5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms, garlic and ginger and continue to saute for another 4 minutes.  The mushrooms should be soft.  Add the carrots and bell pepper and cook an additional 5 minutes or until carrots and pepper are hot, but still have a nice bite.  Remove from the heat.

Drain the bean thread noodles and cut into 4″ lengths with scissors.  Add them to the vegetables along with the scallions, soy sauce, vinegar, basil and cilantro.  Stir to combine.

To serve, place a generous spoonful of the bean thread mixture onto lettuce leaves.  Dip.  Consume.

Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin Sauce

2 tbsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos
2 tbsp. tamari
1 tbsp. vegetable broth
1 1/2 tbsp. black bean garlic sauce
2 tsp. white wine vinegar
1 tbsp. molasses
1 small clove garlic, microplaned or finely minced
1/4 tsp. chile garlic paste
dash ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and dip to your heart’s content.

Chile Garlic SauceChile-Garlic Sauce

1 tbsp. tamari
1 tbsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos (or additional tamari/soy sauce)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. white vinegar
3 tbsp. vegetable broth
pinch crystallized stevia or maple sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced or microplaned
2-3 scallions, sliced

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and let sit for about 30 minutes.

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Banana-Chai Buttermilk Waffles with Cocoa-Coconut Butter

Waffle, Close UpHave you signed up yet for the Virtual Vegan Potluck??  It’s easy to do – just visit the VVP page to get the details, then send me an email at [email protected] or leave a comment letting me know you’ll be participating and to what course you’ll be contributing.  I’ve added a Board to my Pinterest page for the event and will pin a photo from each blog that signs up for the event.  You can find me at:  I’ve also added an Events page on Facebook here and you can also keep track of things at An Unrefined Vegan’s Facebook page.  While I’m at it, you can find me on Twitter at @AnOlive.

So far 25 bloggers from all over the planet have signed on – thank you!  Thanks also to Lidia at VeganBloggersUnite! for posting about VVP today – and – thanks to those who have Tweeted about it, mentioned it on Facebook or have written about it on their blog.  I really appreciate your help in spreading the word.  I’d love to get 100+ (gulp!) to participate, so if you are so inclined, please invite other food bloggers to join in.

Phew, okay.  It’s Monday morning and in my household, waffles help ease the sting of the first day of the week.  I pop frozen homemade waffles in the toaster oven and for the time it takes us to consume them, it’s Sunday morning redux.  Especially if they are chai-infused waffles.  (Yep, chai again.)  If you didn’t know by now, I just adore the complex and rich warm flavors that are “chai.”  This time I’ve created a waffle around the flavors of cinnamon, anise, cardamom, cloves, a tiny smidge of black pepper all complemented with roasty banana flavor.  And then I topped the waffles with homemade cocoa-coconut butter, but the usual waffle-toppings would work just dandy, too.

Banana-Chai Buttermilk Waffles with Cocoa-Coconut Butter
Makes 3+ 8″ waffles

1 cup spelt flour
1/3 cup oat flour (I used regular oats and processed them in a food processor)
1/2 cup almond meal (I used the meal left over from making almond milk, dried and processed in food processor)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. powdered stevia
1/4 tsp. anise seeds (ground in coffee grinder)
1/4 tsp. powdered cardamom
2 pinches ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp. egg replacer + 6 tbsp. water (whisk together until frothy, then let sit for a minute)
1 large, very ripe banana, mashed
1 1/2 cups vegan buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Cocoa-Coconut Butter

Combine the flours, almond meal, baking powder, salt, baking soda, stevia and spices in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg replacer, banana, buttermilk and vanilla extract.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until the dry ingredients are just moistened.  Let the batter sit for about 15 minutes.  (Turn the oven on to 200F so you can warm the plates and keep the cooked waffles crispy – and heat up the waffle iron, too.)

Lightly spray waffle iron with cooking oil and ladle on the batter.  Cook for about 4-5 minutes and gently remove waffle and place on oven rack to keep warm while you prepare the rest of the waffles.

Top with a dab, slab or slice of Cocoa-Coconut Butter and your other favorite waffle toppings!

Coconut-Cocoa Butter

Chai Waffle w/ Butter

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Cocoa-Coconut Butter

Rounds of Cocoa-Coconut Butter

This post demonstrates the part of my personality which can become obsessive.  When I find something I’m interested in, I beat it to death.  Then inevitably I lose interest and move on to the next thing.  Right now, I’m obsessed with making vegan butters.  Since I really try to limit my intake of “added” fats, this is not a good obsession.  However, so far Kel and I have been able to restrain ourselves to slivers of this amazing stuff, so I don’t feel too badly about straying.  Let’s hope something comes along that takes my mind off of butter.  Something that is a whole lot healthier.  Something like seven days of celery sticks.

The basic recipe for this comes from the site mentioned in an earlier post.  All I did was blend in a little cocoa and a little sweetener.  Chocolate coconut butter is available commercially (I have a jar of it in my pantry called Cocoa Bliss by Artisana), but what fun is that?

Using a silicone ice cube tray or silicone mini muffin pan makes freezing and removing the butter very easy.  I got the ice cube trays from, then remembered that my mom had given me a mini muffin tray many years ago so I dug that out of the cupboard as well and gave it a go.  Obviously this butter can be used directly on toast or pancakes or waffles (upcoming post…) – but I think it could also work deliciously when making chocolate-based cookies, muffins or breads – instead of regular vegan butter.

Before I share the recipe, I want to thank Dudette Here!!! (the Dudette abides…) and Gabby at The Veggie Nook for giving my blog Versatile Blogger Awards.  Just…awesome!  Thank you, thank you!

Cocoa-Coconut Butter

1/4 cup + 2 tsp. soy milk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/8-1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/4 tsp. soy lecithin granules
1/4 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tsp. agave nectar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. + 1 tsp. refined coconut oil
1 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil

In a small measuring cup, whisk together the soy milk and cocoa powder until thoroughly combined.  Whisk in the salt and apple cider vinegar and let sit for 10 minutes.

Melt the coconut oil in a small measuring cup.  It’s not necessary to completely melt it down – some small solid bits are okay.  In the bowl of a food processor, add the melted coconut oil, canola oil, soy milk mixture, soy lecithin granules, xanthan gum, agave nectar and vanilla extract.

Process for 1 minute, then scrap down the sides and bottom – sometimes the soy lecithin granules get stuck near the blade.  Process for an additional minute, then carefully pour the mixture into the molds.

Chill in the freezer for at least one hour before removing from molds.  Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Butter in Mold

Green Ice Cube Trays

Cubes of Butter

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PB2: Powdered Peanut Butter

Open Bag of PB2When I started researching stocking my pantry, I ran across a reference to powdered peanut butter.  Images of astronaut food and hikers came to mind, but the idea of having a very shelf-stable product appealed to me.  And then I read a description of what reconstituted peanut butter tasted like.  I’d sooner help myself to a bowl of wet cement.  I mean, I’d be happy to have it during a nuclear winter, but, I wasn’t tempted just yet to load the pantry shelves with it.  So I gave up on that particular idea and decided to stock up on the jarred variety instead.  Its shelf life is pretty decent and in our household, there would never be a problem of rotating the jars – we consume the stuff too fast.

And then PB2 brand powdered peanut butter was profiled in my April 2012 issue of Nutrition Action Healthletter that gave it a rave review and I knew I had to give this product a try. had a deal where you could get the regular peanut butter powder, plus a peanut butter-chocolate powder and a small bag of peanut butter “thins” for what seemed like a reasonable price – it’s not a cheap way to buy peanut butter, however.  (Whole Foods sells it or you can purchase directly from the company.)  I just got the products a few days ago.  Since I’m always on the lookout for ways to reduce artery-clogging fat from our diet, these powdered products were especially appealing – because they have less calories from fat than jarred peanut butter (16g of fat in 2 tbsp. of the jarred natural peanut butter I currently use compared with 1.5g for the same serving size of PB2.  Wow.).  The amount of sugar (1g per 2 tbsp. – the same as the jarred stuff) is pretty decent.

The powders come from Bell Plantation (they also sell peanut oil) which has a pretty impressive website with tons of recipes and detailed nutritional information about their products.  Here’s part of why this product would be appealing to people like me who are trying to eat healthier and who are cutting down fat in their diets:

…our special process removes 85% of the fat calories without the chemicals typically used in producing reduced fat foods. Something else you won’t find in PB2 is preservatives.

Bag of Cocoa PB2

So I spent the morning messing around with the powders and my camera.  The powder smells good and has a nice, soft consistency.  It was quite easy to stir together and it smoothed out nicely.  The finished product looks just like what you’d scoop out of a jar.  I even added roasted peanuts to one batch.  The chocolate version was thinner than the peanut butter one, but adding a little bit more of the powder thickened it up.  If you’re wondering about the (tiny!) peanut butter cookies/crackers, I found them ridiculously sweet.  I might turn them into a pie crust base, however.  Peanut butter chocolate creme pie??

Chopped Peanuts

Roasted, chopped unsalted peanuts.

PB2 w/ Roasted Peanuts

PB2 with roasted peanuts.

This is all well and good, right?  But does it taste like wet cement?  Happily, no.  Not even close.  However…I also didn’t detect a whole lot of peanut butter flavor.  Eating it made me want to scoop up a big spoonful from my jar of peanut butter and snarf it down.  As for the chocolate peanut butter, it was kind of the same issue.  Not much chocolate flavor, not much peanut flavor.  And there was just something…off about the texture of both spreads.  Obviously fat adds flavor and it adds creaminess.  Is PB2 acceptable?  Yea, sure.  It is great to have in the pantry and certainly for traveling it would work quite well.  And if one is looking to shave fat calories… Will I use it every day?  No.  Despite my love of peanut butter, I keep consumption to a minimum, so I’m not too worried about the fat content.  What I really want is delicious, nutty peanut butter.

I am curious about baking with it.  As I mentioned, Bell Plantation has a whole heck of a lot of recipes on their site.  It’s probably worth baking with both products – or trying them in smoothies – for a more complete taste test.  What do you say, fellow food-bloggers?  Want to see if we can come up with some delicious recipes using these products??

PB2 Equation

2 tbsp. PB2 Powder + 1 tbsp. water = peanut butter

Cocoa PB2 Equation

1 tbsp. water + 2 tbsp. chocolate PB2 Powder = chocolate peanut butter

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Curried Garbanzo Bean Dip/Sandwich Spread

Garbanzo Bean Dip

Based on a simple red lentil spread from The McDougall Quick & Easy Cookbook (by John & Mary McDougall), I changed it up a bit with garbanzo beans and poked around the refrigerator looking for good things to add – like cilantro, fresh ginger, red onion and garlic.  Serve as a dip with fresh vegetables, baked chips or warm, whole wheat pita – or use as a sandwich spread loading on cucumber slices, greens, sprouts and juicy tomatoes.

Curried Garbanzo Bean Dip/Sandwich Spread

2 15 oz. cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1/4+ vegetable broth
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. coriander powder
pinch kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1″ piece fresh ginger, minced or grated with a microplaner
2-3 slices red onion
large handful of fresh cilantro

Whirl everything together in a food processor, scraping down the sides a few times, until it’s the consistency that you like.  Add more vegetable broth (or water) if it seems too thick.

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