I confess that historically I have not been a big fan of substitutes for nut products. Why would I want something that is designed to taste like nuts? The whole idea just generally freaked me out. I’m someone who used to avoid all spicy food because the mouth sensation was too similar to an allergic reaction and I’d melt down into a panic attack, even if I made the food myself.
I still don’t like to be surprised by spiciness, but I’m turning a corner a bit when it comes to considering alternatives to nuts. Most recently I’ve adopted sunflower seeds, which can lend a pleasant crunch and saltiness to lots of epicurean scenarios. If I confess to my new love of sunflower seeds, I really have to give credit to Sunbutter for opening my mind a bit when it comes to nut subs.
I’ve seen Sunbutter in lots of Paleo blogs over the last few years, and I generally turned a cold shoulder. I didn’t eat peanut butter anyway, so I didn’t have the PB craving that seems to cripple even the most devoted Paleo newbie. From what I hear, almond butter just isn’t the same. So Sunbutter with it’s peanut-free platform became this Paleo phenom – a saving grace for all those Crossfitters dying for a peanut butter-tasting treat.
I hemmed and hawed about trying it for a long while. Now that I’ve decided it’s on the “yes!” list, I recognize that this is both awesome and not awesome. Sunbutter is awesome because I can now make the recipes that call for it, like Paleo Pad Thai and Dark Chocolate Sunbutter Cups. And I admit I eat it regularly right out of the jar. Sunbutter is not awesome because it is freakishly addicting and not cheap. I buy the organic version because it doesn’t have any added sugar, which is an even bigger investment. So far I’ve gone ahead and accepted the financial commitment of funding my Sunbutter habit. Because it’s delicious.
And this is where I tell you how amazing it is. Seriously, amazing. If this is like peanut butter, I understand people’s mental and emotional collapse when they go Paleo and realize they just gave it up. I’m not ready to give up Sunbutter any time soon. The organic version is creamy, thick and salty, and it has this great way of getting stuck to the roof of your mouth. They also have a non-organic version (with some cane sugar added) and a crunchy offering with some whole seeds in the mix. All good.
I love Sunbutter’s allergy statement too. Although they warn you that it is “roasted on equipment which also roasts soy” (sorry soy allergy sufferers), it also says it is “processed in a peanut free and tree nut free facility.” Hallelujah! The ingredients on the organic version couldn’t be any more simple: roasted organic sunflower seed. Period. That’s it.
Fun fact: the Sungold operation is just down the road a few hours from me up in Fargo, North Dakota. Not that I know them. I don’t. They didn’t give me anything for free (but I wish they would!). I just think it’s cool that they’re up there making awesome Sunbutter.
I buy my Sunbutter all over: Amazon, Vitacost, Target (non-organic is all I’ve found there), the local co-op, and some grocery stores carry it. So it’s pretty easy to find if you look for it. It’s usually right by the peanut butter.
Check it out and let me know what you think. Any other sans-nut butters that are worth a go? And don’t say that weird soy crap, because that’s just gross.