New Kid in Town

Going nuts for nut butters


When a person needs to lose a few pounds, it’s only natural to spend an above-average amount of time looking for foods to eat that are not only healthy, but also tasty.

Recently, that quest to shed a few pounds has led me to something healthy, tasty and a bit exotic — nut butters.

What’s a nut butter, you ask? Simply put, it is a butter made from crushed nuts. Just like peanut butter is made from peanuts, nut butters are made from other nuts. If there is a nut, chances are it can be made into a nut butter.

I have to confess, I’m a bit of a nut addict. Remember the old Lay’s potato chips commercials that said, “no one can eat just one” chip? I’m the same way with nuts, especially pecans, cashews, pistachios and walnuts. And better yet, nuts are a very healthy snack — if you don’t overindulge, of course — reducing LDL cholesterol (the “bad” kind) while having a good amount of protein and fiber and also being low in carbohydrates.

After being introduced to almond butter and cashew butter a few years ago, I was visiting a supermarket recently when I found jars of walnut butter on sale. With my love of nuts and a reduced price, it was too good to pass up — which was validated after I opened the jar, stirred the contents and took my first bite. In a word, it was delicious, especially the kind flavored with banana and powdered sugar.

As you might expect, that got me curious about if there were other nut butters available. My search led me to perhaps the best place in the world to find rare, off the beaten path items: Amazon. And did I hit the motherlode — Amazon has pecan butter, pistachio butter, macadamia nut butter, hazelnut butter and even Brazil nut butter.

As a lover of all things pecan — pecan pie, butter pecan ice cream, praline pecans and even pecans straight from the shell — I had to try the pecan butter first. I found two varieties, one made of just roasted pecans and sea salt and another that was sweetened with coconut sugar. The former was great, but the second was simply amazing. While it has a thinner texture than peanut butter, pecan butter goes good on toast, bread or even straight from the jar — but not too much from the jar, as pecan butter has more than 100 calories per tablespoon.

Next up, I ordered a jar of pistachio butter — but not just any pistachio butter. This one was crunchy pistachio butter, which means even more nutty goodness in every bite. How was it? It was the salty, nutty taste of pistachios from the shell with the texture of peanut butter. For pistachio fans, it comes highly recommended. And it’s not as high in calories as pecan butter, either, at 80 calories per tablespoon.

I’m not sure which I like better — the sweetened pecan butter or the crunchy pistachio butter. But it is quite awesome to find a snack that is very healthy and very tasty despite being a bit higher in calories.

Now if I can just make sure I don’t eat a whole jar in one sitting ...

New Kid in Town