Butter is right at the heart of so much cooking. Especially when it comes to European, South Asian and American food, you can’t go very far without butter. Whether you are cooking your vegetables in it, putting it into a sauce or just spreading it over your morning toast, the food world really does revolve around this delicious fatty substance. So it’s a great relief for us vegans that butter is no longer the domain of those who consume animal products. Vegan butter is here, and it’s here to stay.
Dairy-free butter really is a wonder. So here’s a useful description of all things plant-based butter!
What is Vegan Butter?
What exactly is vegan butter then? Well it’s a plant-based, dairy-free butter that uses oil derived from plants rather than dairy milk. It has a very similar texture to dairy butter and can (just like its dairy counterpart) be used in all sorts of ways around the kitchen.
How is Vegan Butter Made?
Typically, vegan butter is made by combining a plant-based oil with water. Vegan butter uses all sorts of oils, each lending the dairy-free butter a different taste and texture. Vegan butter uses oils as varied as avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil and palm oil. Some plant-based butter even uses a combination, creating unique and delicious products.
Some vegan butters also use nuts such as cashews. The nuts are blended, leading to a deliciously creamy vegan butter.
Why Use Vegan Butter?
Well, first up vegan butter is a much healthier option. Plant-based oils tend to have a lower fat content than dairy milk. By going for a vegan butter instead of a dairy butter you are cutting fat out of your diet. So it’s a huge health win.
And then of course there are all the other fantastic benefits of eating vegan. You are looking out for the environment and for the welfare of your fellow animals. Add to the mix the fact that vegan butter is straight-up delicious and it all starts to become a bit of a no-brainer. Why wouldn’t you use dairy-free butter?
Some Great Uses for Vegan Butter
Ok, so how do you use the stuff? Well, it’s a lot like dairy butter.
First up, it’s a great base for your dishes. If you are looking for a type of fat to fry your vegetables in, then look no further than plant-based butter. Throw it into a pan and then add your chopped onions, garlic, carrots and celery and you have the perfect base for risotto, pasta sauce or curry. The delicious flavour of that plant-based oil will infuse through your dish.
Then of course you can spread it over your toast. Maybe you want toast with vegan butter, or maybe you want to top your vegan butter toast with some jam or marmalade or a nut butter. Either way, it’s a great option.
It’s also a great addition to mash potatoes. Chuck in a big spoonful and you’ll get yourself a really smooth and delicious mash. In fact, it works great on all kinds of potatoes. Whether you’re having a gratin with some vegan cheese, or a baked potato with some beans, it’s always good to have a vegan butter on hand to add depth to that dish.
It also makes for a great sauce. Melt down some vegan butter and add a little salt and a little olive oil and you have something truly delicious to drizzle over your cooked vegetables or your vegan pasta dishes. Truly a magnificent way of using vegan butter.
Our Top Five Brands of Vegan Butter for Vegan Recipes
Ok so now you know the uses, here are our top five brands of vegan butter for all your favourite vegan recipes. Different types of vegan butter are good for different purposes. Our advice? Go out and explore!
1. Vitaquell - Organic Dairy-Free Sunflower Spread
With no gluten, soy or GMOs, this vegan butter from Vitaquell is about as natural as it gets. Using sunflower oil to create a spreadable and versatile vegan butter with absolutely no added sugar or preservatives.
This vegan butter is also packed with added vitamins, such as vitamins E, A, D and B12. All really important for us vegans.
2. Vitaquell - Extra Omega Organic dairy-free Spread
With lemon juice and a touch of salt, this dairy-free butter from Vitaquell is ideal for toast and sandwiches. With all that beautiful flavour, this is a vegan butter that speaks for itself. Made using a blend of sunflower oil, canola oil and a gluten-free wheat germ oil, it’s a great source of Vitamin E and Omega 3, so your vegan butter moment can be a healthy moment too.
3. Suma Wholefoods - Soya Spread
This Soya Spread from Suma is light and soft and can be used in all the same ways as a dairy butter. It’s free from hydrogenated fats and it’s created in a nut-free environment.
Suma Wholefoods is a cooperative company based in the UK that puts sustainability right at the top of its list of priorities, so when you choose a vegan butter made by Suma Foods like this Soya Spread, you are investing in a company with its heart in the right place.
4. Mergulo - Cashew Nut-But*er
So the vegan butter they’ve been cooking up over at Mergulo is really quite something. This Cashew Nut-But*er is a cashew vegan butter with the creamiest of textures. By combining coconut oil with cashew butter they have created something truly stupendous.
And what’s more, it comes in totally sustainable, plastic-free packaging.
It also comes in three different flavours. You’ve got the Original Cashew Nut-Butter. Then you’ve got the Dark Salt Cashew Nut Butter. Come on, who can resist a salted vegan butter? And then you’ve also got the Garlic & Herb Cashew Nut-Butter, with all the garlic-y, butter-y goodness you could dream of.
Created by a trained chef, Mergulo is a really exciting plant-based company making waves in the dairy-free butter world. Get involved before everyone else does.
5. Biona - Organic Spread with Extra Virgin Olive Oil
With no artificial flavourings and nothing but the finest organic ingredients, this Organic Spread with Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Biona is a fantastic vegan butter. It has no trans fats, so this dairy-free butter really is the healthy choice to start your dairy-free butter journey with! Enjoy it on a fresh sourdough toast to really let the extra virgin oil speak for itself.
To sum things up
So there’s the lowdown on all things vegan butter. With all that choice out there, and all the benefits of keeping it vegan when it comes to your butter, there really is no reason not to opt for a dairy-free butter. It’s delicious, it’s healthy and it just goes so well in all sorts of cooking.
So whether you are spreading it on your morning toast or adding it to your sauces and vegetables, plant-based butter should always be on hand in your kitchen. A simply irresistible vegan essential. Enjoy!