Sometimes, you just need a good PB+J.
Does anyone else hear me on this?
Seriously, though, I’ve been craving PB+J all week. I have no idea why, but when that craving hits, you know it won’t leave you alone.
However, I don’t keep peanut butter in the house. Why? Because most peanut butter options on the market are loaded with oil, salt, and sugar. Many also use palm oil which is horribly cruel to orangutans and harsh on the environment too. And why do most companies feel the need to add sugars and salt? I don’t understand this.
Peanut butter should include one ingredient: ground peanuts. That’s it.
Yes, I know natural peanut butter exists, but if you’re like me, those 2 tablespoons that come in a single portion end up tempting you to eat much more than just one serving at a time. In fact, jarred peanut butter used to be a huge trigger food for me and though I love it, foods high in fat like nut butter don’t settle so well with my stomach.
Natural nut butter can also be pricey, but thankfully, I figured out a way to make my own peanut butter, make it low fat without weird ingredients, and actually save money too.
But plain peanut butter … why stop there?
Why not go for a natural, homemade Vegan PB+J Spread while I’m at it? I have the same “issues” with finding a healthy (naturally) sugar-free jam just like I do an oil-free nut butter that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
So, instead of using sugary jams, let’s use some real fruit … isn’t that what jam and jelly should be made of?
For this recipe, I used my favorite, favorite dried fruit: organic dried figs. These babies are like candy, I tell ya! Soak just a few of them in a bit of water overnight and they turn into this naturally sugary dream that’s also high in fiber, potassium and believe it or not, they’re lower in sugar than most all other dried fruits such as dates and raisins (though I like those too).
All you need to do is blend your soaked figs (or you can use raisins or dates if you like), a touch of water, and some ground, defatted peanut powder which is just whole peanuts that have had the oil removed. But please … don’t use the PB2 brand. It has refined white sugar and added salt that you don’t need for this nut butter spread to be delicious.
Go with a brand that only has ground, defatted peanuts or roasted peanuts on the label (see this one by JIF below says just Roasted Peanuts). This clean ingredient profile just means the peanut powder is higher in protein, fiber, and nutrients than peanut butter with a higher fat content and peanut powder is easier to digest (at least for me).
Check this out: For 3 tablespoons of plain peanut powder you’re only getting 2 grams of fat but also 8 grams of plant-based protein plus iron, B vitamins, magnesium, and some fiber too. Compare that to 2 tablespoons of regular peanut butter which has 16 grams of fat and 190 calories.
I used the JIF brand of powdered peanut butter that I got at Walmart, since it’s one of the cheapest brands ($3-$4) with the best flavor (super rich peanut taste), and it has NO additional ingredients.
The chocolate flavor of this powder has added sugar like other brands of peanut powder, but the plain peanut powder by Jif (pictured above) doesn’t have any added sugar. It’s even free of genetically modified ingredients.
So, if you’re going to choose low-calorie options like peanut powder, real food is the best way to do it: don’t buy the processed and refined low-calorie snacks. Try making your own with healthy ingredients like I’ve done here in this recipe. It’s so easy!
You can whip up this recipe in just a couple minutes. I made mine in my Vitamix S30 which is a dream at small jobs like this. It blends the nut butter extra fine, but you could probably use a regular blender or you could just use a food processor.
Process your ingredients a few seconds in your machine of choice, and then scoop into a jar to keep in the fridge for the whole week. If you want your spread ultra creamy, blend for a few extra minutes, or if you want a bit of chunk to it (which is delightful with pieces of real fruit!), then use my directions below.
Spread your Vegan PB+J goodness on your favorite whole grain bread (I like Ezekial sprouted grain bread since it is flour-free and oil-free) or dollop your Vegan PB+ J spread in some oatmeal, a smoothie, or whatever the heck else you want to!
The whole jar of this spread is only 2 grams of fat, has 8 grams of protein, and is under 200 calories.
So, how does it taste?
JUST LIKE PB + J!!!!!!
This spread is so rich and creamy, naturally sweet, easy to digest, and it leaves you feeling great hours later on. You can also use the peanut powder in a smoothie or muffins, and feel free to try the figs in my Fig ‘n’ Apple Pie Spice Muffins or your favorite energy ball recipe in place of dates.
- 3 Tablespoons Ground, Defatted Peanut Powder (plain with no added sugars or salt)- I used JIF brand plain
- 4 large dried figs (I used Fruit Bliss brand) or sub in 4 dates of 1/4 cup organic raisins if you want
- 3 tablespoons cold water
- Soak your figs overnight in enough water to cover or at least 30 minutes before you make this in warm water.
- Drain the figs
- Add the figs and water to your blender or food processor. Then, add the peanut powder.
- Blend (or process) for at least 20 seconds until you get a smooth, beautiful spread. My Vitamix only took about 10 seconds, so you may need less time depending on the machine you're using.
- Spoon into a mason jar (small 4 ounce jar) and top with a lid.
- Keep in the fridge for up to 1 week or use right away throughout the day or to share with friends and family.
- *I would not suggest keeping this over 1 week or in your pantry since it has no preservatives (a good thing) but if you just want a single serving you could easily use 1 tablespoon peanut powder and 1 dried frig with 2 teaspoons of water to test this recipe out for a one-serving deal. I have a feeling you'll be making more though:)!
What’s your favorite way to combine PB + J flavors? Give me your ideas for how you’d use this Vegan PB + J spread … I want to hear them!:)