The Ultimate Spreadable Vegan Butter Recipe

It's been four years since I posted my original recipe for spreadable vegan butter! I've made it so many times since then, and it's gradually evolved into a much improved version, so I thought I'd share it! This spread has more depth of flavour than the original recipe, and is closer in taste and texture to dairy butter. The main differences are the addition of miso and cashews, and I've left out the natural food colouring this time; it's a pale yellow anyway, but if you'd like it to be a sunnier yellow, feel free to add some colouring. You might think because of the nutritional yeast and miso that this butter recipe is only suitable for savoury dishes, but like dairy butter, you can use it with sweet things too, and just leave out the sea salt if you'd like unsalted butter.

It's not only great as a spread on toast and sandwiches, but it is amazing on corn on the cob, stirred through mashed potato, makes delicious pastry, hollandaise sauce, tossed through noodles or steamed vegetables, added to salted caramel sauce, etc. You can also use it to saute things in the frying pan, but like its dairy counterpart, it burns easily, so keep the heat low.

Ultimate Spreadable Vegan Butter

1/2 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup raw cashews (no need to soak them if you use a blender - I have a NutriBullet and it blends them until creamy)
1 teaspoon shiro miso (mild white miso)
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast (savoury yeast flakes)
salt to taste (I put in 2 pinches of sea salt flakes)
1/2 cup mild tasting vegetable oil (such as canola, macadamia, grape seed, rice bran)
1/2 cup refined coconut oil (the kind with no discernible coconut aroma - I use organic extra virgin expeller pressed)
3 teaspoons granular soy lecithin, dissolved in a little boiling water
scant 1/8 teaspoon guar gum (or xanthan gum)

Start by measuring the lecitihin into a small bowl and adding the small dash of boiling water. Stir it and leave it aside for at least 10-15 minutes until the granules have started going soft and translucent, and the mixture is thick and gloopy.

Add the lemon juice to the soy milk and set aside for a couple of minutes to curdle, then add it to your blender with the cashews, miso, nutritional yeast, salt and vegetable oil. Blend until thick, smooth and creamy without any graininess.

Warm the coconut oil until it's only just melted (microwave is fine) - a few soft lumps remaining is okay, it should not be too warm. Pour it into the blender with the lecithin and guar gum (don't overdo the guar gum - a tiny pinch - or it will have an unpleasant texture). Blend for 1-2 minutes, scraping the sides half way through.

The butter mixture will be thick and creamy, Pour it into a small container (about 400-500 ml/14-17 fl oz capacity is perfect). The emulsion can split if it's not chilled quickly, so pop it in the freezer for 30-60 minutes, then transfer it to the fridge and use once it's firm. It will be just the right consistency to spread straight from the fridge, and will keep for around a week.

Keep Your Sunny Side Up

I thought I'd share one of my favourite breakfasts with you. As far as egg alternatives go, I like this even more than scrambled tofu, and it's really easy! For want of a better name, I call it Tofu Sunny Side Up, and here are the steps...

Tofu Sunny Side Up, with sauteed asparagus, on grainy toast.

STEP ONE:
Cut three slices of firm tofu (slices about 1 cm thick). Put them in a bowl, pour about a teaspoon of tamari over them, then cover with freshly boiled water (if you don't have tamari, a pinch of salt will do). Steeping tofu in boiling water just before sauteeing makes it go nice and crispy in the pan.

STEP TWO:
Make a batch of Yolky Sauce either on the stove top or in the microwave (makes enough sauce for about 2-3 serves). I made up this sauce recipe for the yolk of my poached "egg", but it's useful in so many ways where you want a rich, eggy-saucy element (I also used it for my Salade Nicoise Royale). I've started to make Yolky Sauce with dijon rather than English mustard, for a milder flavour, but that's up to you. By the way, the sauce keeps in the fridge for a few days, so you can definitely make it ahead of time and zap it in the microwave to warm through.

STEP THREE:
While the sauce is gently cooking, saute 6-8 stalks of asparagus in a little vegan margarine or butter, adding ground black pepper and a pinch of sea salt. Set the asparagus aside once it's done - we now need the pan for the tofu. PS. Wilted spinach is a nice alternative to asparagus.

STEP FOUR:
Take the tofu slices out of the water (no need to pat them dry), add a little more margarine to the pan then add the tofu. To get it nice and crispy, you can turn the heat up a little, but not too high or it can get a tough crust. While the tofu is sizzling, season the "up" sides by sprinkling with nutritional yeast,  sea salt and ground black pepper. Check the bottoms at intervals to make sure the tofu isn't burning, then when they're crispy and golden, gently flip onto the seasoned side, just for one minute.

STEP FIVE:
Meanwhile, make the toast (two slices - and perhaps a pot of tea too!). Top your toast with the tofu slices (I cut one in half lengthwise so there are 1.5 slices of tofu per piece of toast). Arrange the asparagus on top, then spoon over a generous amount of yummy Yolky Sauce.

STEP SIX:
Tuck into the very best eggs-on-toast alternative in the whole world (in my opinion, that is)!

Serves 1-2 people.