There are some ingredients we expect to have in our kitchen. Cooking oils, spices, and butter are some of the core items we reach for no matter what meal we're preparing. If you're curious about a plant-based diet, or just want to reduce your animal consumption, you might already be familiar with options like tofu and nut milks. But when it comes to replacing butter, what are your options? Perhaps surprisingly, there are a growing number of plant-based butters on the market.
Chickpea butter is the latest innovation in plant-based butter. The brand, FabaButter, uses aquafaba to make their vegan butter. What is aquafaba? It's the liquid that comes in a can of chickpeas. It's used in a number of plant-based cooking hacks. For example, as an egg replacer in baking.
And now, it's apparently the secret ingredient to a really wonderful butter alternative. FabaButter is made by Fora Foods and originates in Brooklyn. Even the way they make the vegan butter is sustainable. The aquafaba comes from their hummus leftovers. Other ingredients for the dairy-free butter include coconut oil, coconut cream, sunflower oil, and seasonings. The coconut is likely what gives the right amount of fat, while the chickpeas are responsible for the creaminess.
So, how can you use this vegan butter? In theory, you can substitute it directly into any recipe as you would use traditional butter.
Because it has a fat content similar to traditional butter (coming in at about 84 percent), you can spread, melt, or soften it easily for both baking and cooking. You can even brown it, as its smoke point is 450 degrees.
If you're curious about trying this vegan butter, you can find it on eataly.com for about $7.49 USD per 15-ounce tub. You can also order it directly from forafoods.com. If you're in the New York area, you can buy it at Eataly Markets, which will soon carry the product nationwide.
Other popular brands of plant-based butter include Earth Balance, Nutiva, and Miyoko's Kitchen, which you can find at your local grocery stores or online, depending on your region.
It's also possible to make your own chickpea butter at home. A popular recipe is Nina's Vegan Aquafaba Butter, which ran on the Washington Post, and calls for about 3 tablespoons of aquafaba, about one third cup of coconut oil, one tablespoon plus one teaspoon of an additional oil, a bit of salt, and two thirds teaspoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.
You can add turmeric to give the "butter" a richer yellow flavor, as well. In terms of oil, if you use a virgin coconut oil, you will likely taste the coconut. For your secondary oil, canola or olive oil are popular choices.
Whether you're looking to try an entirely plant-based diet or are just curious about some easily made substitutions, starting in the kitchen is an easy way to live a more sustainable life. And when products are readily found in the store, or made with ingredients you already have on hand, these eco-friendly choices become long-term habits.