The Ingredient You Should Try In Place Of Peanut Butter

We know few things can replace the smooth (or crunchy) texture of peanut butter slathered onto toasted bagels, fresh slices of bread, or pieces of fruit like apples and pears. "What's more sacred than peanut butter?" asked U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (via The Washington Post).

Over 11 million Americans each ate at least six jars of peanut butter in 2020, according to Stastista. From classic peanut butter cookies to spicy peanut sauce, peanut butter is adored around the world; peanut butter eaters know even one spoonful can stave off hunger pangs and add a creamy texture into smoothies, oatmeals, and sauces.

Since 1898, peanut butter has been an important commercial staple. But if you don't like peanut butter, or are searching for a nut-free substitute that is both creamy and satisfying, we may have just the ticket for your culinary needs. 

An easy, nutritious swap

Mic doesn't mince words, describing tahini as "the most under-appreciated nut butter of all time," while advocating for the blended sesame seed paste to be incorporated into more recipes. Tahini delivers a nutty flavor profile and can run thick, similar to smooth peanut butter blends, but without any added nuts. For those with allergies to tree nuts, tahini can be the easy substitute you've been looking for (unless you're allergic to sesame seeds, of course).  

Nutritionally, peanut butter and tahini are pretty similar: They're both gluten-free spreads that pack healthy minerals, and you can easily find versions with no added sugar. Plus, sesame seeds contain heart-supporting B vitamins, calcium, vitamin E, and zinc (via Thrive Market). Even if you're reluctant to hand over the peanut butter completely, once you try some tahini in cookies, sauces, dressings, and dip recipes — like this avocado tahini recipe — you may change your tune.