Smooth and Creamy Soaked Vanilla Maple Almond Butter (Vegan)

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If I told you today’s almond butter recipe was the best almond butter I’ve ever eaten in my life, half of you would be skeptical, and the other half wouldn’t care. Actually, I’m projecting. I only know that if I were you, I would be skeptical, or I wouldn’t care. I tend toward the cynical.

A collage of photos showing various steps to making a soaked vanilla maple almond butter.

But in all my analyzing, I’ve found that we who tend towards disbelief are actually the once highly hopeful; it’s just that at some point, we put those high hopes into something (politics, people, friends, projects, ideas), and that something let us down.

So then, rather than being let down again, we disbelieve; we say, “prove it”; we try to control what can hurt us by being highly choosy about what we let in. I get it. I do it.

But the only problem with walling all new things out is that you miss some legitimately good new things. When you lock up your heart against hurt, you lock it up against love, too, like C.S. Lewis said. You lose out on hope!

And, to bring it back to the almond butter, the thing is that I actually made and tasted this almond butter with my own hands and tastebuds, and I would swear to you it was the best almond butter I’ve ever had, even though I know that’s not quite proof (and I’ve eaten a lot of almond butters).

A collage of two photos showing close ups of crunch almonds and whole vanilla beans.

Believe me or not, I say this almond butter has two key things going for it: (1) It’s soaked, for easier digestion and (2) It’s flavorful like a hurricane, coming at you with its salty, sweet taste in a way that makes you want to eat it on its own, standing at the counter with a big spoon. (And we have.)

Back to Butter: A Traditional Foods Cookbook (via Amazon)

The method for creating this soaked vanilla maple almond butter comes from the new book, Back to Butter: A Traditional Foods Cookbook – Nourishing Recipes Inspired by Our Ancestors, written by the duo behold Organic Spark, a traditional foods blog.

Traditional foods are the kinds of food you hear a lot about when you follow Weston A. Price or Sally Fallon or read The Maker’s Diet, which you’ve probably heard us mention before. In a more subtle, less didactic way, they’re also the kinds of foods you hear us talking about or see us eating here.

Shanna Mallon holding the Back to Butter cookbook.

At their most basic, traditional foods are exactly what they sound like—foods that have stood the test of time, not just from my grandma to me, but from ten or twenty generations ago. They’re historical foods, foods that are naturally rich in nutrients and prepared in ways that help your body digest them.

While some of the other resources about traditional foods are lengthy and complicated, Back to Butter is laid out in a pretty basic, user-friendly, easy-to-understand way, with two main sections:

The traditional foods pantry (section 1) and traditional foods recipes (section 2).

We like this because it feels so approachable, no matter what your level of familiarity with traditional foods might be.

Overhead view of a food process full of soaked vanilla maple almond butter on a dark wooden background.

If you want a fuller understanding of why unrefined fats like coconut oil are so amazing, for example, this book will help. If you want detailed instructions for making homemade yogurt or soaking grains, this book provides the formulas.

As an example, today’s post features Back to Butter: A Traditional Foods Cookbook – Nourishing Recipes Inspired by Our Ancestors‘s method for soaking nuts. We used raw almonds.

There’s nothing hard about the process, but, like a lot of traditional foods recipes, it does take time—24 hours to soak and 24 hours to dehydrate.

An impatient person like me (yes, impatient and cynical!) finds it best to spend the five minutes prepping the nuts at each point in the process and then forget about them in my mind—no more thoughts about nuts!—or I’d drive myself nuts (ha! get it?).

Top down of a mason jar full of soaked vanilla maple almond butter on a dark wooden background.

After the nuts are done, you can eat them as they are or pureé them in a food processor like we did for my favorite almond butter to date. Flavored with fresh vanilla beans and a kiss of maple syrup, it is salty, savory, sweet, and addictive.

Bourbon Vanilla Beans via Amazon

ps. Are you wondering why soak nuts in the first place? To reiterate the point about traditional foods, one thing we consistently see in ancient cultures is that they knew to soak their nuts and grains.

Soaking breaks down anti-nutrients in these foods that not only make it harder for them to be digested but also inhibit the way the body can process their nutrients.

A collage of two photos showing a close up of the almond butter and another with celery.

Just as you’ve heard us say that many people who have a hard time digesting store-bought bread and/or gluten do okay with sourdough and/or soaked ancient grains like einkorn, so too many people who struggle with feeling weird when they eat nuts do better when they soak them first.

As stated in the book, our ancestors might not have realized why this practice was so helpful, but natural instinct about how they would feel as a result led them to make it a habit.

Crunchy Almonds

Adapted from Back to Butter by Molly Chester and Sandy Schrecengost

Top view of raw almonds soaking.

Almonds drying on cookie sheets.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw almonds
  • 1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large glass bowl, combine nuts, apple cider vinegar, salt, and enough filtered water to cover the nuts by 2 inches (5 centimeters). Stir to dissolve the salt. Cover the bowl with a lid or a plate, and set it in a warm place (i.e., 75F/24C) for a full 24 hours.
  2. After 24 hours, turn oven or food dehydrator to 150F/66C, or your oven’s lowest setting (in our case, this is 175F). Rinse the soaked nuts in a colander, discard the soaking water, and spread the nuts in a single layer on two baking sheets. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt, to taste (feel free to taste!).
  3. Dry almonds in oven or dehydrator for at least 15 and up to 36 hours. Back to Butter recommends 24 to 36 hours for almonds if you’re using the 150F temperature, but ours were done sooner, probably because of the higher temp in our oven. You know the nuts are done when they are no longer moist at all and crunch nicely upon biting. Test several to make sure there’s uniform doneness.
  4. Store nuts in an airtight container in the freezer or refrigerator, or use them in the vanilla maple almond butter listed here. 
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Overhead view of a food process full of soaked vanilla maple almond butter on a dark wooden background.

Smooth and Creamy Soaked Vanilla Maple Almond Butter


  • Author: Shanna Mallon
  • Prep Time: 2 mintues
  • Cook Time: 2 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 2 cups 1x

Description

Beyond the digestive benefits of this almond butter, it’s also delicious, as in, the most delicious almond butter I’ve ever had. Nutty and salty while also sweet, kissed by vanilla and maple syrup, it’s as good on raw celery as it is eaten on its own, by the spoonful.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (273 g) crunchy almonds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 vanilla beans

Instructions

  1. Place almonds, coconut oil, and maple syrup inside a food processor. Slice the vanilla beans down the centers vertically and use a spoon to scrape out the insides; add them to the food processor.
  2. Turn on the motor and process the mixture. After a few minutes it will turn into a rough ball, but let it keep mixing. It will separate and stick to the sides of the bowl and eventually become smooth, in about five minutes total.
  3. Taste and adjust as you like, adding a bit of salt or a little more maple syrup, etc. Serve on toast, with celery, or however you like your almond butter.
  4. Store almond butter in an airtight container and refrigerate. Note that it hardens slightly when cold.

  • Category: Nut Butters
  • Method: Blending
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Keywords: nut butter, almond butter, vegan, soaked grains, soaked nuts

Looking for more homemade spreads and nut butters? Love chocolate? Consider making our Nutella-inspired hazelnut chocolate spread!

Photos by Shanna Mallon, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on March 12th, 2014. Last updated: July 3, 2019 at 12:23 pm.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

Most of the staff at Foodal are not medical professionals and this article should not be construed as medical advice. Foodal and Ask the Experts, LLC assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet, or using supplements or manufactured or natural medications.

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About Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.

25 thoughts on “Smooth and Creamy Soaked Vanilla Maple Almond Butter (Vegan)”

  1. I’e not come across the practice of soaking nuts before but it makes total sense. And combined with vanilla and maple syrup? Yes!

    • I know, right? I want to be more disciplined to do this regularly. It’s not hard, but it takes a little planning… like a lot of things with traditional foods.

  2. What a lovely thought: ‘when you lock up your heart to hurt, you lock it up to love also’.
    And this almond butter really does look pretty damn good…

  3. oh man! i really need to try this soon! it looks delicious…and thanks for the reminder about soaking nuts. i’ve been avoiding them all together due to digestive upset, and have been missing them and meaning to try them again after soaking, but it hasn’t been on the top of my priority list. i just need to think of it like you, prep and forget, or else i’ll get too impatient. 😉

  4. Shanna! I’m still too lazy to soak nuts – i mean, 24 hours to soak and another 24 to dehydrate sounds soooooo long! That’s 2 whole days just to eat nuts! I’ve read about the benefits of soaking, but right now, I haven’t gotten the patience to do that yet. But i will, one day. Btw, I loved your deduction of CS Lewis’ quote. Locking our hearts against hurt, and hence locking our hearts against love. Good point to ponder upon..

    love,
    F.

    • Ha! I’m sure most of the world would agree with you. ; ) Like I said in the post though, it’s totally a fix-it-and-forget-it kind of thing.

  5. I definitely want to try the “Smooth and Creamy Soaked Vanilla Maple Almond Butter.” I have only made almond butter almonds and salt and haven’t thought about making it another way. This peeked my interest.

  6. After all I’ve read about soaking, I am never quite prepared enough and then too anxious to have said grain or legume to do it. I need to! This looks so simple and awesome. I go through so much nut butter, it’s time. Always love a good CS Lewis quote 🙂 Ps thanks for your comment today about what whole foods are. I am so sensitive to those sorts of comments because I know everyone has their own definition of what is healthy, and I don’t want to subscribe to any particular side of that coin. I agree, cheese and butter aren’t pumped full of unrecognizable things! They ARE real foods! Anyway. End of rant and thank you 🙂

    • Sara, Haha! That commenter blew me away! Like, is whole food synonymous with vegan all of a sudden? What! I love your very whole-foods-focused site and the way it celebrates real foods that aren’t made of things we cannot pronounce or recognize, and I’m always so thankful to read about the latest thing you’re making, not to mention what’s going on with you guys. Thanks for stopping by to comment here!

  7. I’m in the habit of making my own nut butters, but I’ve never thought to soak the nuts first. Going to give this a shot- it would be great to have on hand for some friends who feel a bit off after eating nuts. Interested to see if it helps! Now I’ll just have to plan a day to not use my oven for anything else… 😉

    • Nicole, Yes! That is exactly the thing! I will say though that we pulled out the nuts for an hour or two to bake something we needed, then returned the oven to the low temp and put them back inside. Everything still worked, so there’s that. : )

  8. oh my goodness. I am over the moon excited for this! It sounds delicious, and I plan on spreading it on everything 🙂 Thanks for the wonderful recipe!!

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