Peanut-Free, Soy-Free, Non-Nut Butters
by Melanie Carver
If your child has a peanut and soy allergy, it can be difficult to find a safe replacement for peanut butter in your local grocery store. Some of the commercially-available options may contain an allergen you are avoiding. So to make safe sandwiches for your child with food allergies, here is a recipe to make your own pepita (pumpkin seed) butter and/or your own sunflower seed butter.
TIP: If you use one of these peanut-free recipes for your child's school lunch, you might want to label the baggie so that lunch supervisors know that the sandwich is safe for your child. I learned this tip after scaring one of my school's lunchroom employees.
Pepita butter is my favorite "non-nut butter". Pepitas are a good source of protein and iron and they have a really pleasing taste. I love to use pepitas to make non-nut butter, mock pesto, and cookies. If you are looking for an allergy-friendly source of seeds, check out Gerb's Seeds.
Pair these non-nut butters with Gluten-Free, Milk-Free, Egg-Free Sweet Potato Bread for a delicious, allergy-friendly option for "PB&J" sandwiches.
Pepita Seed Butter Recipe
4 oz roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
3 Tbsp oil (amount varies by preference)
2 Tbsp organic agave nectar (amount varies by preference)
Pour your pepitas into a bowl and check them for debris (little pebbles, etc.). Then put them into a food processor and pulse the seeds until they are ground like thick sand. Let them sit for a few minutes to allow the seeds to release their oils and then pulse them some more until they begin to stick together.
Slowly allow oil to drizzle in while you continue to "chop". I like to use the small air holes on my food processor lid to drip the oil in. I prefer canola or grapeseed oil.
I like to use liquid sweetener like agave nectar so that I don't have to use as much oil in my recipe. You can skip the sweetener if you are using this pepita butter to make pesto or cookies. Add in the sweetener after the oil and pulse again.
Test the consistency and texture of the pepita butter to determine if you want to add more liquid (oil/sweetener). Be careful not to add too much oil as it will separate from the pepitas over time. Roasted pepita butter will be a little grainy. If you use raw pepitas, the butter will be smoother and lighter in color.
Refrigerate in a sealed container. You may need to stir it before use.
Sunflower Seed Butter Recipe
16 oz sunflower kernels
1/4 cup (approx) canola or other flavorless oil
This sunflower seed butter recipe comes from my friend Maia M., who is a long-time volunteer for Kids With Food Allergies. You follow the same instructions as listed for the pepita butter above.
Melanie Carver is a Developer & Editor for Kids With Food Allergies, a division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. She is a long-time vegan and mother of two children with food allergies.