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Saturday, March 11, 2017


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IMPORTANT: See my update on this spread at  The updated version includes a soy-free version and both the soy and non-soy versions are more stable and firm. I have added just a small amount of coconut oil so that it firms up. (Refrigerated, the non-soy version is softer than the soy version, but not runny. Refrigerated, the soy version is similar to a tub margarine in consistency. Frozen, both are firm and can be scraped with a knife to use on toast, etc.)

Some of you may know that I devised a palm oil-free (and coconut oil-free) vegan "butter" (which I call "Buttah") back in 2012.  I devised it as part of my plan to eliminate palm oil from my diet for environmental reasons and also for the animals harmed in the growing worldwide industry. You can see all about it here and the printable recipe is here. Buttah is a solid "butter" which can be used in baking and as a spread or for cooking. Though I use it sparingly, we love it and it has been a hit with vegans and omnivores alike.

Here's the "but" part-- Buttah is made with oil and cocoa butter (organic and steam-deodorized so that it doesn't smell like chocolate).  It only needs a small amount of cocoa butter compared to liquid oil (which makes the fat profile healthier than most spreads). But cocoa butter, and especially organic and fair trade cocoa butter, is getting more and more expensive and the steam-deodorized organic block type that I have purchased in the past is getting hard to find.  With our low Canadian dollar, it is really expensive!

I have some of that cocoa butter left and I will use it for Buttah to use occasionally in (and on) special baking.  (I use frozen oil, and much less than most recipes call for, in my pie crust.) But I wanted a spread for toast or pancakes, and no commercial vegan spread that I can find does not contain palm oil or a derivative or two.  (NOTE: Because we try to keep our fat intake reasonably low, we don't always use a butter-type spread on toast, etc.  Often, we simply use low-sugar jam or my low-fat "Corn Butter", or a low-fat vegan "cheesey" spread of some sort.  But, sometimes a thin film of "buttery" goodness is a good thing. This spread contains 82 calories per tablespoon compared to about 100 for dairy butter or earth Balance.)

I prefer not to use coconut oil, despite the craze for it, because of the saturated fat (no, I am not convinced that saturated fat is good for us!). (See this article and this one.) but the important this is that, when the "developed" world goes crazy for a particular product, it often has a huge impact on the farmers who raise it, the soil and other aspects of the environment, deforestation, loss of habitat for indigenous species of animals, etc., without any real improvement in the lives of the producers on the ground. This is the certainly case with palm oil, which now replaces hydrogenated fats in so many items worldwide, as well being used in cosmetics, cleaning products, etc.  And now there are harmful effects being seen from our addiction to avocados-- for more about this issue see this article, and this, and this, and this, and lastly, this one.

Anyway, back to the recipe in question-- one day it occurred to me that I should try the old method (which I believe originated with Seventh Day Adventist vegans many years ago) of making a vegan mayonnaise by drizzling oil into some soymilk while blending, then adding the appropriate seasoning. Evidently, the natural lecethin in the soymilk enables the oil and soymilk to coagulate into a creamy, spreadable mass.  I had made this in the past, but now use my very lowfat vegan mayo, which can be made with only 1/4 cup oil for a slightly-over-2-cup batch, or with 1/4 cup of certain nuts instead of extracted oil.

So, I tried it, adjusting the flavoring, of course, and adding a bit of liquid lecethin and vegetable gum powder to make it less apt to separate. Well, it worked and I have made it a couple of times since.

This spread is a.) inexpensive, b.) quick and easy to make, c.) keeps well, and d.) tastes yummy, with a good mouthfeel. I have not tried making it yet with anything but soymilk (which is what we use almost all of the time), so I'm not sure if it would work with other plant-based milks, simply because only soymilk contains the lecethin that seems to be the key to thickening this product. However, with the added lecethin and vegetable gum (guar or xanthan), that I included to keep it it from separating, it just might work out with another fairly creamy plant-based milk or perhaps something like So Delicious Original Coconut Creamer (which is not sweet).  Let me know if you try it before I do!

Printable Recipe

Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Servings: 24 Tablespoons

This is an inexpensive, delicious and easy-to-make butter-y spread to use on bread, toast, muffins, etc., in sauces on and cooked vegetables.  It is not firm enough to use in place of butter or solid margarine in all baking-- though it might work if it was frozen first and used quickly.  Note on March 14, 2017: Yesterday I used this spread in place of butter or margarine in a coffee cake (one leavened with baking powder, but I see no reason why it wouldn't work in a yeasted coffee cake as well) and I could see no difference in the result.
I have not tried making this with a non-soy milk yet, but plan to soon. (See text above recipe.)
NOTE: Butter contains 102 calories per tablespoon; Earth Balance contains 100 calories per tablespoon; this recipe contains 82 calories per tablespoon.

1/2 cup soymilk (I use Silk Organic Original-- have not yet tried it with homemade soymilk; see text above.)
1/2 Tbs soy or sunflower lecithin
1 cup neutral tasting oil
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp guar gum or xanthan gum

Pour the soymilk and the lecithin into the blender container and place the cover on it, with the central cap off.  Turn on to Low speed and pour a thin stream of the oil slowly into the milk until all of it is used up.  Add the lemon juice, salt and guar or xanthan gum. Increase the speed of the blender to High. Blend for a short time, just until it thickens to the consistency of a very thick mayonnaise.

Use a small silicone spatula to scoop the mixture into a shallow glass refrigerator container or a butter dish.  Scrape as much of it out of the blender container as you can. Smooth the top.  Cover and refrigerate for several hours before using. This can be frozen and used when partially thawed. It can also be re-frozen.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per 1 tablespoon): 84 calories, 84 calories from fat, 9.4g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 41.3mg sodium, 7mg potassium, less than 1g carbohydrates, less than 1g fiber, less than 1g sugar, less than 1g protein.



patricium said...

Thanks for this recipe! I've just been thinking about a replacement for the coconut oil/soy milk butter-like spread I make. My partner's cholesterol is higher than we'd expect from a vegan diet, so we're wanting to cut down on the coconut oil. I substituted cider vinegar for lemon juice, and added a bit of vegan lactic acid powder to match the flavor profile of our previous spread, and that worked out well. Now it's just a matter of getting used to the idea of a spread that looks like mayonnaise instead of butter. ;-)

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Patricium... See the newer version here: To make it firmer, I used 1/4 cup coconut oil and 3/4 c.oil.

patricium said...

Yes, I saw your update earlier today! That will definitely be my next batch.