Starting the new year with a whole new health plan? Vegan butter is something worth considering. A healthier alternative to regular butter, vegan or plant-based, dairy-free butter is often derived from olive, avocado, coconut, palm kernel oil, or a combination of oils. The plant oil is then combined with water with the help of emulsifiers. Salt is added to enhance the flavour, as are other flavouring agents. “It has less saturated fats compared to regular butter. It carries less risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. This is a perfect substitute for baking as well as cooking that helps to stay fit and healthy,” says Amit Kumar, culinary head, L’Opera.

Why vegan

“Most people probably made an educated and conscious choice to swear off meat and dairy altogether. Health, weight management, food allergies are some reasons why people are turning to veganism,” says Sanjay Kumar, executive pastry chef, The Leela Ambience Convention Hotel.

Eat it right

Chef Hitein Puri of Café Staywoke, encourages playing with commonly available herbs and spices. “Get as creative as you like with flavourings like fried garlic, parsley, coriander, kasuri methi. Best way to try it would be over a parantha or a sourdough toast,” he suggests.

Be advised

Although going vegan is considered a healthier lifestyle alternative, nutritionist Shikha Mahajan, cautions, “Plant butters are often higher in monosaturated fats, lower in cholesterol and can add interesting flavours to your meals. However, they are often high in Omega-6 which can cause inflammation and for many people this is less than ideal as most of us get way too much Omega-6 and not enough Omega-3 in the diet. Moreover, while better for the environment, the plant-based alternatives are almost always highly processed so not the healthiest option. There is also often the chance of allergens like nuts or gluten mixing in so anyone with allergies should better make their own or avoid it.”



Almond flour and cashew milk butter by chef Deepankar Arora

Whisk 125ml cashew milk and 2tsp lemon juice in a bowl and allow to sit for 5 minutes or until it thickens and starts curdling. Blend this liquid in a blender with 300ml deodorized coconut oil, 80ml avocado or canola oil, 80g almond flour, 2tsp nutritional yeast, salt to taste and a pinch of turmeric. Put it in a container and refrigerate until use. Can be used for upto 3 weeks if refrigerated.

Coconut-turmeric vegan butter by chef Hitein Puri

Heat 108gm coconut to smoking point and let it smoke for not more than 1 minute or until the coconut aroma mellows down and a sweet flowery aroma takes over. Set aside to cool. Mix 54g vegetable oil, 30g almond milk, 2g salt and 05.g turmeric and keep in the fridge for a few minutes until it firms up a bit. Once set, whip with an electric whisk for 2 minutes until fluffy. Store in a container. You can also deep freeze it or store in the fridge for upto 2 weeks.

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