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Spread The Love

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Almond butter was the first to challenge the decades-long dominance of creamy and crunchy peanut butter. Now, seed butters represent a hot new trend in spreads, each offering a unique flavor and nutritional profile. This trio of no-nut spreads is worthy of pantry space:

Sesame Seed Butter

Often labeled as tahini, this spread of ground sesame seeds has a rich, smoky flavor and velvety texture. As a good source of mono- and polyunsaturated fats, it can help keep your heart strong.

Prep tip: Whisk together 3 T olive oil, 2 T tahini, 2 T water, juice of ½ lemon, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 t smoked paprika and ¼ t salt. Use as a salad dressing or a sauce for grain bowls.

Pumpkin Seed Butter

This green-hued spread has a thinner consistency than nut butters and an earthy, nutty flavor. Pumpkin seeds’ nutritional claim to fame is laudable amounts of magnesium, a mineral shown to reduce blood pressure numbers, according to Hypertension (2016).

Prep tip: Stir some maple syrup and pumpkin-pie spice into pumpkin seed butter and then stuff the mix into the crevices of celery sticks. Sprinkle dried cranberries on top for a modern riff on ants on a log.

Sunflower Seed Butter

This option has a consistency and flavor most similar to ye-olde peanut butter; it’s even available in smooth and crunchy. Nutritionwise, sunflower seed butter is a good source of vitamin E, a potent antioxidant linked to better brain functioning, according to Neurobiology of Aging.

Prep tip: In a food processor, blend 1½ C pitted dates, ¼ C flax powder, ¼ C cocoa powder, ¼ C sunflower seed butter, ½ t cinnamon, and zest and juice of ½ orange. Roll into balls for an energizing snack.

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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