Nut Butter UniverseHave you been hearing about the multiple health benefits of nuts and wondering how to get more of them into your daily food intake? Are you a nut-lover who is concerned about allergies, fat and calorie content, and/or adhering to a special diet? Do you—like me—practically have an addiction to nuts and want validation for eating some every day?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, then Nut Butter Universe: Easy Vegan Recipes with Out-Of- This-World Flavors is for you. Vegan chef, cooking teacher and food columnist Robin Robertson’s extremely userfriendly cookbook features more than 100 all-vegan recipes that call for a variety of nut and seed butters. It is “brimming with creativity, great flavor, and decadence” and “provides an enchantingly delicious culinary opportunity,” writes plant-based dietician, nutritionist, author and talk show host Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT in the book’s foreword.

Nut butters can provide a basis for many international and vegan dishes, and can also be used as a replacement for oil, butter, or shortening in baking, in addition to providing delicious, flavorful richness to sauces, dressings, spreads, or marinades. And, explains Hever, “Overall, nuts are lower in arteryclogging saturated fats and do not contain nefariously problematic trans fatty acids or dietary cholesterol… (and) are an excellent source of healthy plant protein (that) helps provide essential amino acids. The preponderance of information suggests that consuming a moderate amount of nuts and seeds…has significant health advantages, particularly when the serving of nuts replaces the calories from somewhere else in the diet.”

So we have plenty of reasons to dig into such recipes as Handcrafted Granola Sunflower Bars, Pumpkin-Pecan Soup with Pecan Butter Croutons, Cold Noodle Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce, Almond Mashed Potato Cakes, Quinoa and Black Beans with Cashew Queso Sauce, Chocolate-Hazelnut Panini Sandwiches, Pistachio Butter Biscotti, Peanut Butter Cups. There’s even a recipe for Peanut Butter Doggie Treats, along with beautiful fullcolor photos, helpful indexes, nutrient and conversion charts, separate lists of the gluten-free and soy-free recipes, and— of course—recipes for the basic nut butters, creams and “cheese” sauces.

More good news: the various nut and seed butters in the recipes are virtually interchangeable with each other (for those with allergies). It’s time to “think outside the jar!” Gotta run now—I think I need to go make some Too-Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge…