High Protein Mocha Sunbutter Spread (Nut-free, Dairy-free, Grain-free, Gluten-free, Sugar-free)

[This decadent-tasting spread is not only good for you, it’s high protein and allergy-friendly, too! Plus it’s vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut-free, yeast-free, and low glycemic. Suitable for all stages on an anti-candida diet.]


Nut-Free Mocha Sunbutter Spread on Diet, Dessert and Dogs

What’s the most dreaded question ever asked of a vegan? Go ahead and guess. Here are some to get you started:

  • “Wow, I guess you must really love veggies, eh?”
  • “So, are you friends with Ellen DeGeneres?”
  • “Is it pronounced VEE-gun or VAY-gun?”
  • “Wanna come back to my place and split a tofu pizza?”

Okay, so I was being a bit crafty here, since none of those is the question I’m thinking about. (But the answers to those ones are, respectively: I really do. Only in my mind. But I would dearly love to serve up some treats from my new cookbook on her show. VEE-gun, though some of us oldies still use the antiquated VAY-gun. Well. . . . okay. [That last one was an actual question posed to me many years ago on a date with Rocker Guy. The pizza was great, but too bad the relationship sucked.].

The single question, then, that is most dreaded by VEE-guns far and wide is this:

So. . . . where do you get your protein?

Mocha Sunbutter Pancakes on Diet, Dessert and dogs

[Protein-packed Mocha Sunbutter Spread on Zema’s Madhouse Gluten-Free Cocoa Teff Pancakes]

I remember being fascinated, entranced, delighted and enthralled when, in nutrition school, I first learned about all the myriad sources of protein while studying macronutrients. (Come to think of it, I was fascinated, entranced, delighted and enthralled by everything I learned in nutrition school–loved every minute of that year!).

Virtually all foods contain SOME proteins, but they are, of course, highly concentrated in animal products. What most people don’t realize, however, is that protein is also abundant in plant foods. Just take a look at this post.

In the past couple of years, I’ve been making a concerted effort to eat more bean-based protein, partly because of my osteopenia scare a while back, and partly because I love beans but just don’t think of them often enough. Pair that with my ongoing quest to find quick, easy and delectable recipes to prepare and, well, this nut butter was a natural.

Whenever I teach a program like the Candida Kick-Start or work with individual clients, I’m invariably asked about quick recipes that can be prepared in advance.  I know that making everything from scratch, as I usually do, can be time consuming; those of us who follow a whole-foods diet tend to find our own little tips and tricks over time.

Mocha Sunflower Seed Butter on Diet, Dessert and Dogs

Although I used to be the Queen of Fast Food (McDonald’s and I were practically engaged at one point), these days, my “fast” food is typically something homemade. So I was particularly delighted when I encountered not one, but two products that can help me in that area.

A few months ago, I received a huge parcel from the folks at Growing Naturals, who were kind enough to send me samples of their raw, sprouted powders along with a bag of their rice milk powder (to whip up instant rice milk!).  Their products are all organic, gluten-free, vegan, whole grain and contain a full amino acid profile. I’ve really enjoyed every one that I’ve tried, and I think the pea proteins are actually my favorites,  though I’ve got a stellar recipe in the works using the rice milk powder, too!

More recently, I was gifted a bag of Zema’s Madhouse Cocoa-Teff Pancake Mix.  This mix actually contains pretty much the same ingredients I would use at home to make pancakes: teff flour, potato starch, sorghum flour, organic flax seed meal, cocoa powder, tapioca starch, aluminum-free baking powder, organic cinnamon, hemp seeds, xanthan gum, sea salt, chia seeds.  They were light and tasty, and would be a great go-to when I don’t have time to make my own from-scratch. Well, I couldn’t resist trying out BOTH of these products–and at the same time! (see pancake photo, above).

My kitchen playtime resulted in a smooth, spreadable nut-free sunflower-mocha butter that is so good I will sometimes use it as a mid-afternoon snack just on its own (but it’s also divine on pancakes, grain-free biscuits, rice cakes, waffles, muffins–you name it). And you can whip it up, from scratch, in less than 10 minutes.

One of my mantras that I repeat with many clients is to avoid carbs on their own, and this butter works beautifully that way (and it’s A-OK for the anti-candida diet, too!). You’ll be sure to amp up the protein in your own diet this heavenly mocha spread. . . . yep, just one of the tasty ways vegans can get their protein.

Last Year at this Time: I Feel So Nourished! 

Two Years Ago: Andalusian Asparagus (gluten free; ACD Stage 2 and beyond)

Three Years Ago: Asparagus, Pea Shoot & Pea Salad (gluten free; ACD Stage 2 and beyond)

Four Years Ago: Anti-Candida Desserts: What Do You Eat?(gluten free; ACD All Stages)

Five Years Ago: Nut Roast Extraordinaire (gluten free; ACD  Maintenance)

Mocha Sunbutter Spread on Diet, Dessert and Dogs

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  1. Love the recipe! I would love to see a post on your kitchen tricks to speed things up. This is something that I personally struggle with. My blog has helped because it forces me to think the entire week’s menu through, but everyone seems to have different tricks and I would love to hear yours.

  2. This sounds delicious! I have tried many times to make my own sunflower butter, but just can’t get it to a consistency I like. I’d be willing to try one more time, though, for this recipe. 🙂
    Also, organic SunButter doesn’t contain sugar, but all of their other varieties do. Of course, the organic is crazy expensive, too!

    • Denise, as I noted above, sometimes my sunflower seeds are a bit dry, too, and then I just add a little coconut oil to help smooth them out. Thanks for the tip re: SunButter, too. Sadly, we can’t get that kind here (Toronto), so for now, I’ll be making my own! 😉

  3. Thank you so much! I have recently been working on upping my protein and keeping my carbs down (please don’t worry, I still eat over a hundred grams a day). I’m working on building muscle and eating less processed carbs to drop some fat ( I love baked things. And rice. All day) so knowing that I could add some protein powder to my nut spreads- I do pb or almond butter with white beans and a little agave- as well as cocoa powder is just awesome. I use Plant Fusion, but it does have some fructose added so not ACD friendly, I think. I like that it’s not soy based either.

    Please post freezer friendly or one-batch and remixed into different meals recipes. There are so many “Bake chicken/grill shrimp and use all week!” sorts of things that having a vegan/compassionate answer to this would be great!!

    • Thanks, Claire! I specifically chose the pea protein for that one so I could avoid grains, so I know where you are coming from. 🙂

      And I hadn’t heard of the “chicken/shrimp” line before–ha ha!! But I LOVE the idea of repurposing something a something else. . . will do!

  4. Absolutely gorgeous! That pancake picture was like, WOW! What a fabulous recipe. Thanks, Ricki.

    • Thanks, Amber! I’ve really been enjoying eating it. 🙂 And I thought of you last night while watching Mad Men. . . getting more and more ticked off at Don! And Pete! What IS it with guys on that show–? 😉

      • Hi Ricki,

        Oh I know! Pete is perhaps my least favorite character. That guy just…bla, I don’t know, I cringe when he’s doing anything (which makes for good TV though right…and good acting). And Don, yes, what is going on there? It would have been one thing if they showed some back story with Megan and why he’s hooking up with that other Lady (forgot her name), but it was just really out of the blue. That’s probably the point of it all, he does things like this and there is no reason…he just does it because he can…because he wants to. And all the while they are doing the flashbacks and it’s hard to not feel sorry for the guy and his troubled past. Arg. The show was a little easier to watch though without the multiple story lines. Looks like they wanted to introduce everything there in that season premier and now things are slowing down and they are focusing on just a few at a time. Really love this show! Great TV.

        On another note: I’ve made your black bean dip about three times now and LOVE it. My kiddos gobble it up. So delish. I will share a pic on FB later today. 🙂

        And finally, I think I found a typo in the first part of your post: “Wanna come back to my place ans split a tofu pizza?”
        Hope it’s okay to point that out. 🙂

        Have a great day, Ricki.

        Be Well,

        • Hi Amber,

          First of all, OF COURSE you should point out the typo!! (I was going to write, “HOW DARE YOU POINT OUT THAT TYPO?!!” but then thought you might not realize I was joking!) 😀 Thank you–it’s hard to catch them sometimes when you’ve been over the post so many times.

          And I have to say, I don’t really feel sorry for Don despite his past. . . he’s a big boy now with full control over his actions. 😉 What I find hilarious is how John Hamm never stops smiling when he is interviewed live–total opposite of Don!

          And finally, thanks so much for letting me know about the dip! So glad you and the kiddos love it. And yes, share that pic!

          Ricki 🙂

          • Hi Ricki,

            Ha ha, I would have laughed at that. I have a good senses of humor. I am the worst with spelling and grammar (which is why my husband looks over my posts before they go live, as I always have errors). I actually appreciate it when I get a message about a typo, I just hate having them in there. Glad I could help. 🙂

            Regarding MM:
            So you might find this interesting, but I think my profession makes me sensitive to behavior and a bit desensitized to POOR behavior. I’ve been witness to so much of it professionally, that I think Don’s behavior is accurate for what he’s been though, but then my logical self knows what is right and wrong. My clinical self says he is simply wired differently due to his past experiences, coupled with a deep self loathing over what he did in the war, all wrapped up in a cycle of manipulative, unhealthy behaviors and poor coping, with a narcissistic personality disorder cherry on top. I’ve actually talked about Don’s character with my other therapist friends and it’s funny to hear us all analyze him. But oh how I LOVE John in real life. He’s one of my favorite SNL hosts. So talented. Love him in everything – always makes me laugh. And he just rocks that Don character doesn’t he. Great casting.

            Have a great rest of your week, Ricki.


  5. Oooh, this actually has protein powder! Love it! I was expecting hemp. Aaaaand I love that you use a caffeine-free “mocha” source, for heaven knows I don’t need the buzz when I do my half-a-jar-at-11pm trick…

  6. Ricki this looks amazing! Constantly outdoing yourself 🙂 Thanks!!!!

    • Aw thanks, Davida! It’s just a quick and easy indulgence–the sunflower seeds blend up soooo creamy and rich. I may just like this better than almond butter! 🙂

  7. I would be interested in a post about eating well without spending all day in the kitchen. I agree that where do you get your protein is a tedious question – worse because of all the underlying assumptions – but I would love to answer from peas and see what people say 🙂

    • Ha ha!! That would be hilarious, Johanna. Except, you know, peas are actually a pretty good source of protein?! 😀

      • I compartmentalise my peas into dried split peas that I think are a great source of protein and then fresh green psas that always seem a bit of a dull little veggie (despite my love for them) but never think of them as a nutritional punchbag. I suspect most people feel like me about green peas and that is why I would be amused to tell them that is where I am getting my protein

  8. I learned years ago that we need very little protein in a day, and most omnivores eat way too much! You’d struggle not to get enough with a balanced vegan diet:) This sounds delicious:)

    • Christine, that was one of the big “aha!” moments for me in nutrition school, too. The World Health Organization’s daily minimum is much less than the amount most of us eat daily in North America.

  9. Oh what yumliness 🙂
    What more can I say…

  10. I eat slot of fruit but have a real hard time gettn protein in. I would love quick meals for one person
    My husband eats the sad diet I eat better I have a lot of food allergies so I fix two meals and I skimp on mine after fixin his so I grab a price of fruit or celery or something fast help would be nice. I am goin to have to try the sun butter it’s looks really good thanks for all you do!!

  11. Wow–that sounds really good! I have to say, though…I am super jealous of the free products you get sent, lol! Reason enough to start a blog, if you ask me 😉 I really want to try the Growing Natural Pea Protein–thank you for pointing it out! I love pea protein, and this brand actually looks fairly affordable!


  12. What is the nutritional value for this? Also, I am allergic to coconut oil. (learn about it in Massage school when you use for massaging and the hands become raw and swollen. Later, the Allergist confirmed it’s a nasty allergy) What else can I use instead? Thanks so much

    • Hi Thea,

      I don’t calculate the nutritional values for most recipes, sorry. I’m not sure what would work instead of the coconut oil. You could try it without and it would still taste great, but it just wouldn’t firm up as much in the fridge. If you’re okay with that, then omit the oil, or use a light-tasting liquid oil instead (such as avocado or a nut oil). Hope that helps! 🙂

  13. Hi Ricki,
    Well of course I just must comment. (Partly because I blog for SunButter and love the recipe; partly because I’m a fellow Mad Men addict.) But mostly, I wanted you to know this recipe looks delicious and I’m trying it this afternoon with the gaggle of teenagers who land here after school. I love trying new things on them and getting them to talk about nutrition (amidst their totally random conversations…). Thanks, again, for the inspiration!

    • Thanks so much, Elizabeth–so glad you like it! It’s quickly become my new favorite “butter.” I would have loved to try it with actual SunButter. . . but can’t get the unsweetened here (please pass along the message to the company!!). 😀 Let me know how it turns out for you, too. 🙂

  14. As I was reading my way down I was nervous to see what was in it, and the steps involved. Much easier than I expected! I just need to pick up a couple items and then going to give it try! Cant wait 🙂

    • Glad you kept reading, Kate! I find that nut or seed butters are all really easy to make. One of my favorite quick treats, in fact! 🙂

  15. Nut butters are usually my protein source in the morning – love them! I could probably get my niece to eat some with this recipe!

  16. I would definitely be interested in a post on your tricks of spending less time in the kitchen while eating healthy.
    Also loved the recipe, looks excellent.

  17. So excited to make this with *real* instant coffee. 😉

  18. This looks incredible! I think there is one brand of SunButter with no added sugar – I don’t know the name but I think it has a green lid. Still, making your own seems easiest!

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