Food, Harry's Hacks, Home, Recipes, Savoury

PLANT-BASED ‘BUTTER’ / OLIVE SPREAD | 4 ingredients, staple recipe, easy & simple

Homemade 'butter' has always seemed a tad too complicated. Aside from the odd jar of good quality, small batch butter alternatives I’ve stumbled across at local stores, I’ve largely skipped using butter or butter alternatives altogether.

But, there are some foods that are just such a delight to enjoy with butter. Think soup with hot buttered toast or a delicious warm banana bread straight out of the oven. Delish!

So this year I decided to work on a recipe. After a few batches playing with different ingredients and amounts, I've settled on this one, which I am SO happy with and excited to share with you. It has a delicious olive oil flavour, is smooth and creamy, and perhaps most magical of all, it spreads easily and MELTS on your toast just like traditional butter. Unlike margarine, dairy butter and processed seed oil butter alternatives, this butter actually contains some fibre while skipping emulsifiers, preservatives, bleaches and other nasties.

It's super quick, is easy to make and stores well in the fridge for 2-3 weeks, that's if there's any left by then!

Check out the 'cooks notes' at the bottom of the page for substitutions and equipment suggestions.
Makes: About 250ml (1 cup)
Prep time: 2 minutes
Difficulty: Very easy
Equipment: High speed blender, sterilised glass jar
1 cup (120 g) cashews, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed well
1/2 cup (125 ml) melted coconut oil (deodorised or 'refined' works best, see cooks notes)
1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Before you begin, if your coconut oil is solid, melt it to a liquid (I use the double boiler method, the same way I would melt chocolate). Allow it to return to room temperature whilst still remaining liquid.  
Add all of your ingredients to your high speed blender or food processor and blend until super smooth. 

Note: If your blender or food processor has a wide base you will need to pause and push the mixture down to the bottom with a spatula intermittently, until smooth.

Pour into your sterilised glass jar and store in the fridge to set, this will take around 2 hours.
Store in the fridge for delicious spreadable 'butter' whenever you like! 

This plant-based butter should keep for 2-3 weeks. Freeze batches for up to 4 months for longer storage.

Note: I recommend popping your butter back into the fridge once you've used it. If it's left out too long, depending on the room temperature, it may melt and if it gets super warm, some of the ingredients may separate.
Serving suggestion: Hot buttered toast with homemade baked beans and a dollop of pesto. Yum! 

Coconut oil - Deodorised or 'refined' coconut oil will work best in this recipe because it has little to no flavour. I've also tried making this with regular cold pressed coconut oil but I wasn't a fan of the strong coconut flavour that dominated the 'butter'. I sourced some from an Australian brand called Every Bit Organic. They use a chemical free process that involves a filter that removes physical particles.

Cashews - I always try my best to provide ingredient swaps for my community that like to avoid nuts, or in other cases, a swap. However, in this recipe cashews are also key. Cashews, when soaked well, blend to a creamy smooth texture and have a very mild nutty flavour that is not overpowering to the olive oil. They also help the butter to set and hold together well. I haven't tried another nut but I think macadamias would work, however, it may be slightly more fibrous when blended.

Olive oil - I love the flavour of a good quality extra virgin olive oil. Not to mention the incredible health benefits of it! If you would rather skip this flavour in your butter you could definitely substitute olive oil for the equivalent measurement of coconut oil. Keep in mind that this will set more solid and may not be as spreadable.

Blender - I still use our 10+ year old Vitamix 'quiet one' that I originally purchased as the workhorse in our smoothie and raw desert caravan years ago. Because it's what I already owned and is still going strong, I don't see a point in investing in another one. If you have a high-speed blender with a narrow base, I think it could blend even better. If your blender has a wide base like mine, or if you're using something like a thermomix or high speed food processor, don't be surprised if you have to pause every few seconds to push the mixture back down the sides and repeat.

Storage - I've kept a jar of this in the fridge for a maximum of 2 weeks so far...we tend to go through it quickly as we spread it on everything from muffins fresh out of the oven to toast and banana bread. You can also freeze portioned batches if you'd like to make the recipe in bulk and store some to thaw as needed.

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