Have you ever asked yourself the question, “Is there a chocolate hazelnut butter or spread that is vegan?” I have. And when I previously googled it, I came up with nothing but homemade recipes for chocolate hazelnut butter spread. Hazelnuts are expensive, and I didn’t plan on making it for just a small sample. Plus if it’s fresh it also goes bad within a week and I was not about to eat the whole batch in one week.
I think everyone remembers eating Nutella as a kid, or if you live in Europe, you probably ate it or still eat it regularly. They have this serious OBSESSION with Nutella in crepes filled with fruit. Very decadent indeed… That get’s me thinking I need to make a vegan chocolate hazelnut crepe recipe soon, I’ve never had one… but for now we’re going for chocolate hazelnut butter on toast with strawberries.
Since I’ve traveled in Europe a lot and there are also many creperies in Vancouver, Canada many places I’ve seen serve crepes with Nutella and because it had dairy in it, it’s not vegan. (The crepes are also not vegan as well.) I’ve often wondered if ANY company was going to get up the guts to actually make a healthier chocolate vegan hazelnut spread without the dairy and for the longest time could not find any. I checked the health food stores in Canada and no dice. I checked a bunch in the USA as well, and just recently found 2 different brands that were dairy free! This was a surprise to me because I had been casually reading labels for a while.
Since the dairy industry has been so adept at lobbying for companies and restaurants to put milk and cheese into everything, it can be very hard to find plain chocolate ANYWHERE. Almost every chocolate and chocolate bar EVEN DARK CHOCOLATE that is manufactured in the USA contains milk fat solids. They do this because dairy is highly addicted, just as addictive as opiates are actually and it makes people eat and crave more. So they now put dairy in all of the dark chocolate to make you eat MORE. How rude!
Same goes for creamy chocolate hazelnut spreads, they put dairy in it to make it more addicting and get you to eat more. Plus it probably is cheaper to add milk to it and less hazelnuts as those are more expensive.
I started looking for vegan alternatives a while ago, but never found any until now. It’s not something I would eat regularly, but more of a treat to put on a slice of toast or a crepe or for a vegan waffle or something. You know, a healthier-than-the-original-version treat.
Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter Blend on toast with strawberries. A filling snack or treat for you or your kids.
The strawberries are nice because it makes it not too sweet and has a little tartness to it.
This little baby I found in Portland, OR at Whole Foods Market on a recent trip. I have sampled Justin’s peanut butter cups (the dark chocolate variety are vegan) and was quite impressed at their not too oily or too sweet peanut butter cups. (Christmas treat).
Here they had an entire line of natural nut butters. Including chocolate peanut butter and chocolate almond butter. Crazy! I know…
Let’s take a look at the side. Ah a nice note, it shows they are trying to make a product that is healthier than the major competitors. Who eat’s frosting for breakfast indeed? Nutella eaters that’s for sure. Here are the list of ingredients in Nutella from their website: INGREDIENTS: SUGAR, PALM OIL, HAZELNUTS, COCOA, SKIM MILK, REDUCED MINERALS WHEY (MILK), LECITHIN AS EMULSIFIER (SOY), VANILLIN: AN ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR.
Ingredients and nutritional information. It still contains some oil in the form of palm oil (saturated fat), so sad face 🙁 but at least it’s not hydrogenated and it’s one of the last ingredients on the label, not the first. It’s 90 calories and 7.5 g of fat per tablespoon. Ok good to know. One or two tablespoons max is all you should use for a serving.
Nutella comes in at 100 calories per tablespoon and 5.5 grams of fat, so it’s a little less fat than Justin’s… but Nutella’s first ingredients are sugar and oil and then it’s hazelnut taste is watered down by milk and whey. Justin’s doesn’t have sugar until the third ingredient, and oil is the third last, before vanilla and salt. If you were going to pick one that was a healthier option between Justin’s and Nutella, Justin’s would win. It definitely has more natural ingredients and whole foods in it than mass produced Nutella.
Here is Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter Blend inside. It’s quite thick. There’s no oil on top and it doesn’t look rock solid like coconut oil does at room temperature.
Here’s another vegan Hazelnut Butter. This is the first vegan chocolate Hazelnut Butter I found by New World Natural Foods, it’s from a local health food store in Bellingham, Washington. I thought they were the only brand that made a vegan hazelnut butter, so I picked it up.
Upon closer inspection though, it is fattier than Justin’s. 100 calories and 8 grams of fat per tablespoon.
They use cocoa butter instead of palm fruit oil. This butter is stable at room temperature (a saturated fat), which means it is a solid at room temperature and not a liquid. So this must be why they chose to use it in their butter.
Here is what the chocolate hazelnut butter looks like inside. It’s very solid looking and actually looks like cacao or coconut butter. If you seen these you might see the resemblance. There’s little white solid flecks in it, and this is the oil, solidified.
Here is a comparison on warm toast for you. Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter Blend is on the left and New World Natural Food’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter is on the right. Immediately I could tell the difference in the two. The one on the right melted very quickly into a liquid. Justin’s was a little harder to spread but more like a nut butter. New World Natural Food’s was more like chocolate sauce when spread.
Here it is again from up top.
So there you have it, there are at least TWO options for vegan chocolate hazelnut butter for you. Justin’s also makes chocolate peanut butter and chocolate almond butter (it is cheaper than the hazelnut butter) if you’re looking for a more affordable treat for your family.
Like I said I was mostly curious because there was a lack of vegan options for this kind of product and I remember eating Nutella as a kid. If it’s your only source of nuts for the day and you have 1 or 2 tbsps, you should be ok. If you’re still eating oils, lots of nuts and avocados and meat and dairy however, this may be a diet of too many rich foods already. Adding this on top of it won’t be healthy.
So which one do I prefer? Hands down I prefer Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Blend. I like that it isn’t too sweet, it’s a little thick, it doesn’t melt into chocolate sauce and it’s ingredients are much more natural than Nutella. For an occasional treat I like this product and they make a ton of different nut butters you can get at Whole Foods Market as well.
Have you ever tried a vegan chocolate hazelnut butter? What did you eat it with?