As an alternative to peanut butter, try this easy and inexpensive recipe using healthy, protein packed sunflower seeds. They are power packed with health benefits. Sunflower seeds contain high levels of vitamin E, choline, betaine, and phenolic acids. Vitamin E may protect against cardiovascular disease, lignans may protect against some cancers, and choline has been shown to play a role in memory and cognitive functions. They are also among the best foods you can eat to get cholesterol-lowering phytosterols. It is important to use raw sunflower seeds for this recipe. The best place to buy them is in bulk section in your supermarket or health food store.
Another ingredient in Homemade Sunbutter is grapeseed oil which contains high levels of essential fatty acids. Grapeseed oil is among the highest in heart-healthy linoleic acid and among the lowest in saturated fats. These high levels of linoleic acid are useful in lowering blood cholesterol levels. Containing no cholesterol and no sodium, grape seed oil has a light, nutty taste which brings out the flavor in many foods. Proanthocyanidins found in grapeseed oil, contain a higher level of antioxidants than either vitamins C or E.
The last ingredient in this recipe is Stevia, which is optional but it enhances the flavor of the recipe. You could substitute a little bit of honey or agave nectar if you'd like. Stevia is a type of plant that has very sweet leaves. Stevia extract can be 300 times sweeter than sugar so start with just a little and sweeten to taste. Stevia has been shown to have no impact blood sugar levels. It is a very low-calorie sweetener, however it has not yet been approved by the FDA and is sold as a supplement. It can be found in the health food section of your supermarket or at a health food store.
Homemade Sunbutter 2 cups raw sunflower seeds
3 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
Stevia, honey, or agave nectar to taste (optional)
In the oven, on a cookie sheet, lightly toast the sunflower seeds until lightly browned. You may have to take them out and stir them up a few times. Keep a close eye on them. It doesn't take long for them to brown and you wouldn't want to burn them.
Transfer the seed to a food processor and grind into a powder.
Add the grapeseed oil one tablespoon at a time and process to a creamy consistency. This will take a while. You should let your food processor rest a few times and scrape down the sides to keep things moving.
Once you have a creamy consistency, give it a taste. You can choose to add a sweetener at this time or be done.
Use this recipe in place of peanut butter in any recipe. Try it on celery or bananas for a healthy quick snack. I'd love to hear how this recipe turns out for you. Please feel free to e-mail me. Feel free to contact me if you would like to receive my free monthly health and fitness newsletter with exercise advice and recipes via e-mail.