Note that the packaging of Earth Balance Organic Culinary Spreads was updated to these new square tubs, but the buttery product inside remained the same. So though my pictures below show the round tubs, the texture and performance are still as shown!
Years ago, Earth Balance descended upon the dairy-free market as the first mainstream vegan butter alternative that didn’t contain trans fats. Today, they are still the clear leader and charging ahead with new products at a rapid pace.
Tasting Notes on Earth Balance Organic Culinary Spreads
Not long ago I reported on their first soy-free, dairy-free alternative, and now I’m happy to share their “next generation” margarine, otherwise known as Earth Balance Organic Culinary Spreads.
The first option isn’t brand new, but it’s still pretty darn awesome. This Earth Balance Organic condiment is another soy-free gem, and made with beloved coconut oil. Coconut is one of the few plants that is rich in saturated fats (lauric acid, which is now being boasted as a “healthy” saturated fat), giving it a more decadent mouth feel than most vegetable, seed, and nut oils.
If you are looking for a pure coconut product, then straight coconut butter is what you are seeking. But for a more direct margarine/butter alternative, this Earth Balance spread is perfect. The flavor of the Coconut Spread is pleasant, lightly salted, fairly rich, and relatively mellow. It is just a little bit different from the other margarines in taste. It is hard to describe why, so I suggest giving it a test for yourself.
Even with the softer blend of oils, it doesn’t scoop quite as smoothly as other tub margarines when cold. But once it warms up, this spread is actually softer than butter or margarine. When I used a hand mixer to make cookie dough, the dough quickly became “whipped” – still scoopable, but much creamier and softer than I expected from cookie dough. When needed, a quick chill in the fridge firms it right back up!
And yes, it works brilliantly in recipes. These Vegan and Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies baked up beautifully and were loved by all…
For a savory test, I dolloped the Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread on these Roasted Carrots and Parsnips once cooked. My husband DEVOURED them and is now a converted carrot and parsnip fan.
Sweet Cinnamon Spread
Unlike the Coconut Spread, this culinary spread is based on palm oil followed by soy oil. Yes, unfortunately for those of you with soy allergies, these next two culinary spreads do contain soy! They are organic and non-GMO, but I was still surprised that Earth Balance didn’t stick with their coconut formula.
However, the Sweet Cinnamon culinary spread tastes amazing! It has a darker brown hue thanks to the generous infusion of cinnamon and is surprisingly sweet, even though there are just 3 grams of sugars in a tablespoon. We never got the chance to trial it in recipes, as my niece Kylie sequestered it for her homemade whole wheat bread. She had it on toast nearly every day until the entire tub had vanished, and proclaimed that she would be harassing me for more.
Garlic and Herb Spread
When tasted straight, this Earth Balance Organic spread has an intense, slightly salty, garlic flavor with generous flecks of herbs. But when trialed as a finishing touch on rice, the flavor melted away. It left us with a bigger craving for garlic. The flavor was also too mellow on corn, but we found that it did shine on toast! It made delicious garlic bread with ease.
I had mixed feelings about it on popcorn. The flavor was divine, but because it melts more like butter, it was a little gloppy for drizzling. Straight coconut oil tends to disperse better. But, because it is more “butter-like” in consistency, I think it could work quite well in savory recipes that call for butter or margarine. Consistency-wise, this is also the softest and most spreadable of the culinary spread lot.
The Facts on Earth Balance Culinary Spreads
Price: $4.99 per 10-ounce tub
Certifications: Earth Balance Organic Culinary Spreads are Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified. They are labeled as gluten-free and vegan, but we did not note any certifications for these.
Dietary Notes: By ingredients, the Earth Balance Organic Culinary Spreads are vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, peanut-free, and tree nut-free. The coconut version is also soy-free. Nonetheless, check with the company on their manufacturing processes for all varieties if potential allergen cross-contamination is an issue for you. Processes and labeling are subject to change at any time for any company / product.
For More Product Information: Visit the Follow Your Heart website at www.earthbalancenatural.com.
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Versatile dairy-free margarine
The dairy-free margarine industry has stepped up a notch with these new spreads. The Coconut is a delicious soy-free option that works like a dream in recipes. The other two flavors do contain palm oil and soy oil (instead of coconut), but add more spreadability and delicious “finishing” ingredients.