Meatless Monday – Tools of the Trade

Can I just say I love Earth Balance. This company based just outside of Boulder Colorado produces products that are vegan-friendly. Though they carry snacks, soy milk and dressings, I’ve only been able to enjoy the spreads, baking sticks and nut butter.
As you may have guessed this week’s Meatless Monday is a product review.

My biggest beef with vegan products is (that was a glaringly inappropriate yet strangely à propos reference)…they aren’t always natural. I have often opted for a vegetarian alternative to a chemically laden vegan product. The body is better able to process something it can understand and it can understand natural.

Margarine hasn’t always been natural or vegetarian for that matter. Some versions contain gelatin while the ones that don’t have often been made with the infamous hydrogenated fats. Earth Balance provides a number of different spreads using any or all of the following oils: soy, canola, olive, palm fruit, safflower and flax. My particular favourite is their culinary spread: organic coconut. This is ideal as a ‘butter’ replacement and goes well with toast, rolls and on air-popped organic corn. See product:

Organic coconut spread

To bake or not to bake with butter: that is the question. I would call myself “almost vegan” so butter (organic and processed with known and decent farming practices) finds its way into my kitchen occasionally. The vegan alternative? Earth Balance buttery spread baking sticks. I have used these to make vegan icing, shortbread cookies, rice krispie squares and pastry. Most people are shocked to learn they are not eating butter. It tastes just like the real thing! As it is oil-based, it can take on a ‘rancid’ smell when heated at too high a temperature. It is also a challenge to clean up after. Several applications of an effective and natural dish soap plus lots of scrubbing should remove the oil from your bowls and utensils. The shortening sticks are excellent too and I shall be using them to make my vegan pumpkin pie. See product:

Vegan buttery sticks

And finally, an unlikely duo: coconut and peanuts. So enamoured with Earth Balance products as I am, I jumped at the chance to try their coconut and peanut spread. I was only able to get the crunchy version and in it I found another Earth Balance product to rave about. Though it is sweetened with agave syrup, it is still great for making peanut butter sandwiches. See product:

Coconut and peanut spread

Apart from being totally vegan, Earth Balance products do not contain hydrogenated fats, artificial ingredients and gluten. Their website lists various recipes as well as kitchen and wellness tips. And to top it all off, their philosophy informs their action on social responsibility.

*And a follow-up from last week:

Vegan Strongman Sets New World Record

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