Nut butters are such versatile tasty treats — delicious on sandwiches, in baked goods and atop crackers and fruit. Here, we share a recipe for a walnut butter loaded with powerful, nutrient-dense, brain-boosting superfoods.
Back in my day, peanut butter was about the only nut butter you could find in mainstream stores. But these days, new and exciting varieties to discover are everywhere. Some store-bought nut butters are super-pricey, though, and tend to contain unnecessary additives like oil and sugar. Homemade nut butter is so much better: It’s healthy, affordable and extremely easy to make. Plus, you have complete control over the ingredients list.
The basic recipe for nut butter is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is throw your preferred variety of nuts into a food processor or high-powered blender and blend until smooth. This particular recipe starts with walnuts and pumpkin seeds as a base. Then, we load it up with lots of tasty ingredients such as dried fruits and seeds to add texture, sweetness and bursts of flavor. The best part is that all the ingredients help boost mood and promote healthy brain functioning.
Pumpkin seeds: They’re loaded with antioxidants — powerful compounds that can fight the formation of free radicals, which are said to contribute to anxiety and depression. Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of tryptophan and magnesium, which promote sleep, brain health and mood regulation.
Chia seeds: In addition to their high concentration of omega-3s, chia seeds also are a great source of magnesium and tryptophan, which contribute to serotonin production and help promote relaxation and anxiety relief.
Hemp hearts: These small seeds are rich in protein, fiber and healthful fatty acids like omega-3s and omega-6s. These have anti-inflammatories and antioxidants that help protect the brain and regulate the immune system.
Dried figs: These are rich in potassium, a mineral that the nerves in your brain need to function properly. Dried figs also contain vitamin B6, which help the brain produce neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine that regulate mood.
Dates: Dates are not necessarily a brain-boosting food, but they act as a natural sweetener. Many store-bought nut butters contain refined sugars, which are known to contribute to depression and anxiety.
How to make your own walnut butter
The recipe for this nut butter is so easy and straightforward, and takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish.
2 cups walnuts, roasted
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, roasted
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 dried dates, chopped
3 dried figs, chopped
1 tablespoon hemp hearts
1 tablespoon chia seeds
If you bought raw nuts: Set the oven to 350F and roast the nuts for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and allow to cool slightly.
Add the roasted walnuts and pumpkin seeds to a high-powered blender (like a Vitamix or Blendtec) or food processor.
If you’re using a high-speed blender, blend the nuts on the highest setting for 3-5 minutes or until the butter is completely smooth. If you’re using a food processor, process the nuts on high for 10-15 minutes until the butter is completely smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
Once you’ve made the base, transfer the nut butter to a bowl and mix in the remaining ingredients. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a month.
That’s it! Enjoy this walnut butter on crackers, in overnight oats, on toast, or on fruit such as apples and bananas. Or just eat it directly off the spoon — it’s that good.
Roast walnuts and pumpkin seeds at 350F for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. (Skip this step if you purchased roasted walnuts and pumpkin seeds.)
Add roasted walnuts and pumpkin seeds to high-powered blender or food processor.
If using high-speed blender, blend nuts on highest setting for 3-5 minutes, or until butter is completely smooth. If using food processor, process nuts on high for 10-15 minutes until butter is completely smooth, scraping down sides as needed.
Transfer blended nut butter to small bowl and mix in remaining ingredients.
Store in refrigerator in airtight container for up to month.