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You Won't Believe It's Not 'Buttah'!

Updated: Oct 31, 2020

'Buttah'. Yup, that's the way they say it in northern New England, where they are challenged in pronouncing the post-vowel 'R'. When I went full on whole-food, plant-based, finding a suitable substitute for butter was a challenge. And, even now, I still haven't found a substitute for the golden stuff when it comes to the classic pastry dough that I use for my french-style Galettes. I was on a mission to find something to put on morning toast, though.

Enter chickpeas. Hummus. I can't tell you where the epiphany came from. Desperation drives innovation, perhaps? Suddenly, it was so simple that I couldn't believe that somebody hadn't already 'discovered' it, and yet, if my posts to the Forks Over Knives Facebook group were to be believed, I was the originator and discoverer. Group members were clamoring for a 'recipe', and as you might have noticed, I don't willingly do 'recipes'. I cook 'on the fly', with recipes serving only as a launch pad. Inspiration. The beginning of a jazz riff.

That said, my Chickpea Buttah serves as a worthy stand-in for the yellow, calorie and fat-laden stuff. It's simple to make. Very inexpensive. And, very 'customizable'.

Stuff you need: A food processor. A can of chickpeas, drained of the Aquafaba which you should reserve. Some miso. Some maple syrup. Some Nooch (Nutritional Yeast). Some ground Flaxseed. And, maybe some granulated shallots (or onion), and some French-inspired herbs (if you've got 'em) like Tarragon, Thyme, Chervil, Basil, White Pepper, Dill.

Having drained your chickpeas, toss 'em into the food processor and start making a 'paste' of them. Add a drizzle of maple syrup and the reserved Aquafaba to 'loosen' it up enough to be spreadable. Add a dollop - yes, that's the official term for a small clump resembling a teaspoonful - of miso. Process some more. Now, if you're going for that subtle 'je ne sais quoi' (literally: "I don't know what", or something that is difficult to put into words) quality, add just a soupçon (a hint) of the granulated shallots or onion, and the herbs. Yup. That's my French lesson for the day.

Slather it on whole grain bread, or your fresh baguette 'normale' from the boulangerie across the street ... you have one of those, oui? It's grand underneath some homemade jam, or (shush! don't tell!) under some dairy-free hazelnut/cocoa spread (aka Nutella, Nocciolata et al). Oh, yeah. That's a wonderful late night indulgence.

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