Let’s talk about butters/spreads! No matter which boat you’re in, there’s a good chance you want something tasty to spread on toast or bake into cookies. Today we’re sharing options for peanut free, seed free, corn free, nut free, paleo, aip, and more. We’re also including notes on facilities and sourcing safe-for-you options.
This article will cover nut butter alternatives, peanut butter alternatives, seed allergies, corn allergy, and more.
• Paleo, Peanut & Legume Free, Seed Free
There seems to be a nut butter for just about every nut out there these days. If you’re allergic to all tree nuts, skip them all. If you’re allergic to one or some tree nuts (and are certain it’s safe to consume others), look for brands that sell a single nut option and call companies. It’s not uncommon for all tree nuts to be processed together. Spread The Love is a great example of almond butter made in an almond only facility. Wellnut Farms (walnut butter) also manufactures in a peanut free facility.
If you’re a corn allergic, you’ll need to make sure that the raw sourcing of the nuts are safe for you, and you may need to make your own at home.
Tree nuts are nuts such as Almond, Brazil, Cashew, and Pistachio. The FDA classifies coconut as a tree nut. While tree nuts and coconuts are classified differently scientifically, we go with the FDA for a few reasons.
There’s a misconception that people allergic to tree nuts can always have coconut. The Papa is allergic to two things: Macadamia Nut AND Coconut. Proof that no two people are the same.
• Paleo, Nut Free, Top 8 Allergy Free, Peanut & Legume Free
Common seed butters on the market include Sesame (tahini) Pumpkin, Sunflower, and Watermelon. One of our new favorites is Beyond The Equator Foods which has a multi seed blend butter. If you need your seed butter from a top 8 allergy free facility, Sunbutter, Beyond The Equator, and 88 Acres are great options.
Having a seed allergy can be pretty tough, and the diagnosis rate is on the rise. You’ll need to avoid these seeds, along with items such as flax and chia. Seeds are VERY common in the natural and organic world, so make sure you’re reading labels carefully.
Sunflower Oil is so common it makes me angry (can you tell I can’t have sunflower?). In addition to being in loads of products, it’s also commonly a processing aid that does not have to be disclosed on the label. Again, this is why calling companies is SO important.
Legume Butter (Peanut & Soy)
• Nut Free, Seed Free
Peanut Butter is probably what you grew up with, and what’s usually a no-go at many schools these days. The rate of diagnosis is very high in children. If you’re looking for peanut butter from a nut free facility, Spread The Love and Crazy Richard’s are both great options. Don’t Go Nutz and Wow Butter offer Soy Butters.
Labeling for both peanut and tree nut free facilities has gotten much better over the past two years. When looking at products, don’t assume that if company A makes both a nut product and peanut product they’re all processed together.
Spread The Love is my favorite example of a company that sells both tree nut and peanut items, but has two separate facilities for processing.
Peanuts are a legume, not a nut. Other legumes include soy, beans, and lentils. Soy Butter is becoming a popular peanut alternative for kids to enjoy. Like tree nuts, you may be allergic to one legume or all legumes.
For those of you with a severe allergy, when you call companies about peanut free foods, make sure you ask about cover crops. For example, the hibiscus leaves we purchase come with a warning that peanut is used as a cover crop on the same field.
• AIP, Paleo, Nut Free, Seed Free, Legume/Peanut Free
It’s tiger nuts for the win!! If you’re allergic to all nuts, legumes, and seeds, there’s still tiger nut butter as an option. Honestly, when you mix it with something else such as jam, you totally forget for a moment what you’re eating. It’s epic. Roots and Tiger Butter Co. are good options.
For Those Of You With a Corn Allergy
If you have a corn allergy, you’ll need to source your options carefully as raw materials can be corn contaminated. Some companies use corn derivatives in some of their flavors, meaning it’s on the equipment. Some companies process all tree nuts and peanuts, but have corn free equipment. It’s quite the if/then flowchart. We’ve found the best results with tiger nut butter.
Look for brands that cost more, or offer sprouted options. We’ve found in the past that these brands have better sourcing, and are much more aware of corn in the food supply chain.
Cooking & Baking Substitutions
The nice things about all of these spreads is they’re a 1:1 exchange in recipes. They all work well on sandwiches too. Other uses for spreads: Cookies, Dip, Ice Cream Topping, Power Balls, and Smoothie.
For those of you who would love to have a peanut sauce option (but can’t have peanuts), tiger nut butter and sunflower seed butter are great alternatives. While it won’t be exactly the same, your sauce will be an awesome memory, and delicious.
With a machine like The NutraMilk or a good food processor (or blender) you can also make many of these at home. If you’re into sprouted foods, you can also make sprouted butters.
The benefits to making your own spreads at home:
- You control the raw materials
- Custom flavors
- Cost effective
- Combinations you can’t get in stores (such as cashew hazelnut)
Hopefully all of this information clears the air a little bit. There’s a lot of confusion about what’s what when it comes to spreads. There are options out there for just about everyone, so go forth and have an amazing Spread & Jelly Sandwich 🙂