BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

An Earth-Balanced Diet

32 Comments

Having nearly cornered the market on vegan butters, both nut- and soy-based, Earth Balance now seeks to conquer the whole buttery world. Expanding their empire exponentially in one fell swoop, those who eschew dairy can now spread it on thick with no less than three types of Mindful Mayo, plus a Coconut Spread. Specifically trumpeting the lack of soy in half of these new products, it’s clear that Earth Balance seeks to provide a little something for everyone, vegan and allergic alike.

Most groundbreaking of the bunch is the Coconut Spread. Claiming to be “perfect for baking and cooking instead of butter!” a challenge has been clearly declared and battle lines drawn. Tall promises for a humble ingredient, it does fill a niche left yawning wide open for decades, providing a soy-free option for those wary of the maligned bean. Pure white and somewhat waxy in appearance, it has no discernible scent out of the container. Solid straight out of the fridge but fast to melt, it smooths easily over a slice of hot toast, fresh from the broiler. Subtly sweet in the way that coconut naturally is, with a decent hit of salt to round out the fresh coconut flavor, a faux-butter, this is not. Don’t expect a straight butter replacement in the flavor department, as the Coconut Spread is true to its ingredients, tasting for all the world like a more spreadable coconut oil. Whether you like the flavor of coconut or not should be the deciding factor of your preference for this product.

The real question, however, was how would it bake up compared to Earth Balance’s more buttery offerings? Though I generally do not recommend using spreadable, tub-based margarines for baking, as they contain a greater percentage of water than stick-based “butters,” I gave the coconut spread the benefit of the doubt. Whipping up a simple chocolate-chocolate chip cookie, made many times over, I noticed a difference in the consistency of the dough right away. Far softer than usual, even a brief chill in the fridge did little to firm it up. Though they baked up just fine and were quite tasty, there was a marked variation in texture from the norm. Cakey rather than chewy, I would have to say that the coconut spread is not a viable direct substitute in baking, if you’re hoping to achieve exactly the same results. It will certainly work, and for those with no other option, fire up that oven by all means. I’m just not about to trade in my buttery sticks just yet.

Once my culinary nemesis but now a guilty pleasure, the Mindful Mayo couldn’t have been released at a better time. Now primed for a tasting, I was still reluctant to sample the spread in such a naked format, but I did it for you, my dear readers. Short of plunging in a spoon and eating it straight, it seemed that including it in a classic BLT would be an acceptable format for getting a good read on the flavor. Using tempeh bacon for the “B” portion of the sandwich, I made sure to really slather it on thick, as much as common sense told me not to. Thank goodness, my fears were unfounded, and it was a genuinely delicious sandwich! Thick and flawlessly creamy, you could easily stand a spoon straight up in the jar, which meant that it held up beautifully to the more hefty filling ingredients. Tangy, with a strong flavor of lemon and mustard than Vegenaise, it’s incredibly well balanced and adds serious “umph” to an ordinary bread and veggie assemblage.

Available in three varieties, I found the Organic and Original to be indistinguishable in flavor, unsurprisingly, but the Olive Oil mayo did mix things up a bit. Soy-free, whereas the aforementioned spreads are not, it’s a solid option, and one of the few available for those avoiding dairy, eggs, and soy all at once. However, I did find it a touch looser than the previous, and tangier, with a more fruity flavor as you would expect from decent olive oil. Lighter on the palate and perhaps a bit less rich, it’s a nice light option for those not as crazy about the traditional taste of mayonnaise.

Now fully stocked with three full jars of vegan mayonnaise, I had to do something to work down my excess. A simply green garlic dip easily filled that need, providing an excellent accompaniment to any party platter of crackers, veggies, or chips. Thanks to a serendipitous find of frozen garlic scapes, it took just a push of the “blend” button to churn out a gloriously emerald-hued and garlic-imbued dip.

Green Garlic Dip

6 Ounces (1/2 Package) Extra-Firm Silken Tofu
1/2 Cup Frozen Chopped Garlic Scapes, Thawed
1 Cup Fresh Spinach, Packed
1/2 Cup Vegan Mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Teaspoons White Miso Paste
Salt and Pepper, to Taste

Simply toss everything into your food processor or blender, and blitz until perfectly smooth. Pause to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, to ensure that everything gets incorporated. Season to taste, and chill thoroughly before serving.

Makes About 1 Cup

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

32 thoughts on “An Earth-Balanced Diet

  1. Earth Balance is the best! I’ve never tried their coconut variety…intriguing.

  2. I love Earth Balance butter, and although I haven’t seen the coconut spread or mayo at any of my local grocery stores yet, I certainly can’t wait to try them!

  3. Anything with garlic is a winner to me – love the recipe!

  4. Mmm that dip looks heavenly with the garlic scapes! I had no idea Earth Balance now made a coconut spread & mayo. I’ll have to check them out whenever they make it down our way…which will probably be another year or so :)

  5. Me to throw in some garlic and any food is magical. WOnderful recipe you are the vegan queen. You make vegan look so amazing.

  6. Too bad the coconut butter didn’t work as well in the cookies, it sounds delicious on some toast though :)

  7. Looks like Earth balance is definitely trying to come out with good replacement options.. some hits and some misses, but it definitely makes life simpler.. Thanks for the review ! love that garlic dip!

  8. That recipe looks awesome! I haven’t tried many other spreads but I love coconut oil in a lot of baked goods. Thanks for the info on other butter alternatives!

  9. In the scheme of things, I think coconut margarine is one of the products I don’t have to be too envious about. I still long for all your American coconut ice creams and vegan dessert products, though…

  10. So…I feel kind of awkward about this but I’ve never actually tried ANY of the earth balance products! I at least need to give their nut butters a shot…or some of that mayo for the green garlic dip!

  11. Thanks for clearing that up about tub margarine/bar margarine; there was a recipe that specifically said “not in a tub” and I couldn’t think of any reason why that would be necessary, but followed the directions. Good to know.
    How do you think the Mindful Mayo would work in your mayo chocolate cake?

    • Although the Mindful Mayo does have a slightly stronger savory flavor than the Vegenaise that I used originally, there’s so much chocolate in that cake, I don’t think you’d really be able to taste the difference once baked. I haven’t yet tried it to make sure, but I feel pretty confident that it would work there just as well. :)

  12. We are on our 2nd tub of coconut spread, haven’t yet tried it in baking and not sure if I will but I absolutely love it on whole wheat toast with Cherry Ginger Jam .

  13. Hmm that dip looks delicious!
    I wish earth balance would come overseas as well. There aren’t lots of options for a good vegan mayonnaise.

  14. It’s awesome to know that there are acceptable veg replacements that taste good. I’ll be trying that garlic dip ASAP!

  15. What crackers did you use?

  16. great review! i’ll have to keep an eye out for these products at my local hfs :) and the recipe for the dip looks divine…where on earth does one find frozen garlic scapes?

    • I just got lucky one day and happened to spot them in with all the other frozen veg at Whole Foods. It was an Indian brand though, Swad, I think, so maybe it would be available in ethnic grocery stores too….

  17. Nice! It’s so awesome how much Earth Balance has expanded their product line. But so far, I haven’t noticed the newer items anywhere. I’m going to have to look a little harder. :-)

  18. I love the coconut spread. It’s fabulous!

  19. I have yet to find a need for either a mayo or butter substitute beyond plain old olive oil and/or mix of olive and coconut oil. Do you find the coconut spread substantially better than oil or coconut butter? I trust your vegan baking mastery 10000 times over!

    • The coconut spread is definitely easier to work with in terms of measuring solid amounts, and I for that same reason I would recommend it over plain coconut oil for baked goods like cookies. The softer texture allows you to cream it with sugar like margarine or butter, whereas the oil really just has to be melted to combine. It’s not as good as the buttery sticks, but it’s better than straight coconut oil in that respect.

  20. i use their mayo for grilled cheese. it works beautifully!

  21. I’ve been curious about the EB coconut, will have to try it!

  22. Thanks for the review- very good to know! After your post on chocolate cake, I just put vegenaise in my sticky buns. :-)

  23. I just picked up a jar of Mindful Mayo today – they had me at “soy free”. I’m glad to know that you liked it. Wish I could find that coconut spread…

  24. wow…sounds scrumptiously tasty..
    new to your space…awesome space you have..
    love your presentaton..
    Am your happy follower now..:)
    do stop by mine sometime..
    Tasty Appetite

  25. Great post ;) I’m still trying to find a supplier in the uk, so far not much luck finding any earth balance (might be able to use Stork or Trex…?). Finished eating my last cake attempt for breakfast today: eating a whole cake is hard work…!

  26. coconut spread – really? YUM!

  27. What a terrific post! Your descriptions were wonderfully thorough and made me think a little bit more about lifting the veganaise/vegan mayonnaise ban off of my fridge and grocery cart. Thanks for the review, I can’t wait for more.

  28. Pingback: Tuesday Linkage

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