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Earth Balance Soy-Free Natural Buttery Spread

Posted on by Alisa Fleming in Alternatives - Other Dairy with 3 Comments

Rarely does being a vegan feel limiting, despite the [uninformed] majority opinion on everything that might be "lacking" from a plant-based diet. However, even I have to balk when confronted by the idea of a soy-free vegan. That protein-packed little bean seems to sneak into just about everything these days, and can be hard enough to avoid for an omnivore, let alone a traditionally tofu- and soymilk-heavy veggie diet. Politics aside, I agree that we've gone overboard with the soy additives in recent years, and it simply can't hurt to seek out more alternatives when given the option. Well, up until just a few months ago, soy-free, dairy-free folks have been plum out of luck when it comes to finding a suitable buttery spread; Absolutely nothing fit the criteria, always being based on soybean oil with a pinch of soy lecithin thrown in for good measure. Finally, demand has created supply, and Earth Balance has expanded their line of vegan spreads to include a Soy-Free Natural Buttery Spread.

Spreadable right out of the fridge, this tub-based margarine will undoubtedly be the answer to many buttery prayers. Almost indistinguishable in flavor to its predecessors, you won't miss the soy one bit here. I did feel than when used plain to top bread or toast, it could stand a good hit of salt, and was just a tad waxy while still cold, but just a few moments at room temperature will remedy that. It does melt quite quickly, so don't leave this one out on the counter in the middle of a hot summer day- You'll find a tub full of plain oil in no time at all. 

Happily, it also proved to be a perfectly acceptable margarine substitute for most baking applications as well. Creamed with sugar, flour, and spices to make a quick batch of ginger snaps, I was thrilled to see that they looked almost exactly the same as when they're made with a solid stick margarine. Although somewhat cakier than usual, owing only to the added water inherent in a spreadable tub-based spread, no one could really complain about the sweet results. Upping the ante a bit, I began to wonder- Would it be possible to make browned butter with this product? Well, why not? And happily, after a moment or two of nervous bubbling and sputtering on the stove, I found myself with a pot full of rich, nutty, amber-colored liquid, looking every bit as good as something dairy-based! Now, what to do with this fragrant fat? 

Browned butter vanilla bean cupcakes, anyone? 

Yeah, that's what I thought. Made by simply substituting my browned "butter" for the oil called for in my favorite basic vanilla cupcake recipe, this is a grown-up take on the classic that everyone could appreciate. Much more nuanced in flavor than the standard, and oh so rich, I can only imagine how fast they would fly if served instead of plain vanilla at a birthday party. Lest I ignore all of the potential this product holds for savory applications, it seemed only appropriate to try out a nifty technique that I had so far only heard of, and typically applied almost exclusively to seafood: Butter poaching. Having recently stumbled upon butter-poached radishes, I figured that I could try other vegetables as well, and settled on the humble potato for my experiment. 

Creating incredibly rich, tender slices of potato, accented with tarragon and a splash of vinegar, this is a side dish that couldn't be easier to whip up, this is a real treat eat. Too morish to make often, but appropriate for occasional splurges, I'll definitely have to try butter-poaching other vegetables now! In case you're looking for a cruelty-free and soy-free alternative to butter, look no further. This simple spread is the first that meets the criteria, and passes the taste test!

This is a third party review by Hannah Kaminsky, author of My Sweet Vegan. For more information on this soy-free, dairy-free margarine, visit the Earth Balance website.

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About Alisa Fleming

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Senior Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry. Follow me on Google+.

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Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living

3 Comments

  1. Guest Post: Sweet Potato GnocchiSeptember 18, 2012 at 5:02 amReply

    [...] 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (for lactose-free, I have read that Earth Balance browns) [...]

  2. colleenJune 7, 2014 at 5:14 pmReply

    Sadly, their margarine still contains palm oil. Will not be purchasing.

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