When I was growing up we ate a lot of margarine. We didn’t have a lot of money and butter was more expensive than the no-name margarine at the grocery store, plus there was a lot of bad press about how butter was clogging all of our arteries back then. Sugar was good. Fat was bad. This was the middle of the no fat movement and rice cakes and all those no fat products that tasted awful. Eventually, scientists figure out that many things like butter and olive oil can contain healthy amounts of fat and we moved back to butter and other fats.
Now we are in a different type of movement, away from animal products altogether, aka Veganism and vegetarianism. Research has shown that it takes way more land to produce a similar amount of oil/fat from animals than getting it derived from plants. Either way, vegan eaters aren’t going anywhere. Trader Joe’s does a great job of catering to vegans and I expect that to continue for a very long time.
Because we are trying to eat more vegan products, I decided to take a deep dive into Trader Joe’s Vegan Buttery Spread. Right away I noticed the large rectangular block, instead of the sticks of butter that we normally get in this country and I turned over the block and sure enough it read “Product of Germany”. Having lived in Germany for a while, I know that they take their butter very seriously and when I lived there the butter was so much better than any butter I had had in the USA, it was shocking. It’s great you can find these European kinds of butter in the USA these days, but that wasn’t always the case.
But this is kind of a different animal. Trader Joe’s has come out with a butter substitute. They call it Trader Joe’s Vegan Buttery Spread A Butter Alternative. Basically what it is is a form of margarine, aka hardened oil at room temperature. It says right on the package that it can be substituted 1 to 1 for butter and I don’t doubt it.
When you open the package it looks like a high quality yellow-ish colored butter. It looks like an exact replica of butter so it easily passes the look test.
The first thing I did was make a piece of toast to see how it would spread and taste. After my toast popped up, It was softer than I expected but not so soft that your knife just slips through it, but softer than butter at fridge temperature, which I like because it’s much easier to spread on a piece of toast. After leaving it out on the counter for a while, it became softer still but didn’t melt into a puddle as I had feared.
I spread it on a piece of toast and it melted right away, just like butter would. I tasted the Trader Joe’s Vegan Buttery Spread and it tasted like butter. I smelled it and realized that I think I know how they did it. They added that fake buttered popcorn flavor called Diacetyl. Mostly it comes from milk products but there are some processes that produce it without animal fats, like fermentation. So, I am sure there is some food chemistry trickery going on here, but either way, it tastes so close to butter that you could fool just about everyone.
The only other thing I did with it was make some eggs and it performed just like butter. Melted and foamed like butter and my eggs tasted like they always do.
I put my Trader Joe’s Vegan Buttery Spread on a piece of some Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Italian Bread just for kicks!
I have not baked with it yet, but I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work just like butter. I am not sure I would make croissants with it, but I definitely would make banana bread or cakes with it without hesitation.
I am not a vegan, but only play one on this blog, but I would not hesitate to buy this again. It’s $3.99 so it’s the same price as other butter in the dairy aisle of similar quality. I was so impressed by this I am going to give it 9 bells!
Servings: about 18,
Serv, size:1 Tbsp. (149),
Amount per serving: Calories 100,
Total Fat 11g (14% DV), Sat. Fat 7g (35% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholest.
Omg (0% DV), Sodium 85mg (4% DV), Total Carb. 0g (0% DV), Fiber
0g (0% DV), Total Sugars 0g (Incl. 0g Added Sugars, 0% DV), Protein
0g, Vit. D (0% DV), Calcium (0% DV), Iron (0% DV), Potas. (0% DV),
INGREDIENTS: OIL BLEND (COCONUT OIL, SUNFLOWER OIL, CANOLA OIL),
SHEANUT BUTTER, WATER, SALT, SUNFLOWER LECITHIN, FAVA BEAN
PROTEIN, CITRIC ACID (ACIDULANT), NATURAL FLAVORS, BETA
CAROTENE (FOR COLOR). CONTAINS COCONUT, SHEANUT.
DIST. AND SOLD EXCLUSIVELY BY: TRADER JOE’S, MONROVIA, CA 91016
PRODUCT OF GERMANY • SKU# 71782