What comes to your mind when you think of Nutella?
Childhood? Creamy chocolate heaven? Period cravings?
FEELINGS IN A JAR??????
Even if your thought doesn’t correspond to any of the ones above, it’s no question that everyone, and I mean everyone, has an opinion about Nutella. Personally, I never actually grew up eating a lot of Nutella (SHOCKER), but I remember first trying it at a party at my musical theater program when I was in eighth grade, and I fell in love. Not so head-over-heels that I absolutely needed to get my hands on Nutella, but that any chocolate flavored nut butter sounded way better than the original. Something about the combination of chocolate and nut butter is so incredible that the plain ol’ nut butter doesn’t measure. Ya feel me?
However, the ingredients statement proves evident that Nutella isn’t vegan, aka “milk”. I’m sorry, but milk…why? But that is a question I will leave towards the recipe developers of the Nutella company. Right now, let’s talk about vegan alternatives for our beloved chocolate spread. But, let’s not just stop at vegan. What if there was a vegan chocolate spread that was also nut free, sugar free, ketogenic, high in fiber, and free of any funny artificial sweetener aftertaste, because there ain’t no artificial sweeteners in this spread either!
Good ol’ friends, there is such thing. Lakanto Suntella.
Made from sunflower seeds, Lakanto released this Suntella sunflower-based (hence the name “Suntella”) sugar free chocolate spread in late March. In all honesty, I was a little skeptical about how this product came about. Can the legacy of Nutella’s creamy, thick, and grit-free texture along with its sinfully sweet and chocolate-y taste really be replicated through such a product that boasts serious some health benefits? However, since becoming a Lakanto ambassador, I knew I’d be doing a disservice if I didn’t give it a chance.
First thing’s first: ingredients. Do the components of this spread measure up to quality standards expected? Well, the first ingredient is actually Lakanto’s monkfruit sweetener, which is a natural plant-based sugar alternative that is virtually sugar free. Ingredients following are coconut oil, vegetable fiber, cocoa, sunflower seed butter, algae flour, and so forth. Nothing contains dairy, eggs, gluten, or palm oil (vegans rejoice!). There’s even an unlikely appearance by seaweed derived calcium and magnesium, which gives the spread its CRAZY calcium content!
Speaking of minerals, here is the nutritional label! Suntella is almost half the calories of Nutella for the same serving size, but has only eight grams of fat, fifteen grams of carbohydrates, and has seven times the amount of fiber and zilch sugar. Oh yes, and can we just talk about the calcium and iron content? INSANE. I could suffice my calcium intake just with two servings of this spread, which was DEFINITELY not hard for me, haha! Not saying that this should be your only source of calcium, but you won’t have to panic as much or at all if you incorporated a serving or two of Suntella. Just saying.
Upon opening the jar, on the other hand, I was a bit…….confused. I expected a creamy spread with much less viscosity. As indicated in the first shot, the spread had a solid surface with an incredibly thick texture that resembled that of a peanut butter that contains a lot of sugar, hydrogenated fats, and palm oil. However, the website highlights that the solidification is caused from an initial chilling period before being brought to room temperature, which makes sense because any food products have to be preserved for some time before shipping and transportation. After storing the jar in a room temperature cabinet for a few days and stirring the spread around every now and then, the viscosity improved immensely as shown in the second photo. Lakanto’s site also forewarns that the spread may look a little discolored or moldy due to the coconut oil, which can also be averted by the same storage technique.
Last but not least–in fact, this is definitely the most important part–we have the taste test. Does Nutella have a contender? Flavor-wise, absolutely, ABSOLUTELY. The sweetness is extremely prevalent but does not overpower the rich flavor of cocoa in the spread. In terms of texture, not quite. The spread is a lot more solid and sticky than Nutella, which feels a little more silky and spreadable. Ideally, melt the Suntella in the microwave or on the stovetop, or spread onto a hot surface such as a toasted slice of bread/bagel if you want a thinner consistency.
What I ended up doing with the majority of my Suntella is actually use it in a chocolate peanut butter hummus recipe that I created a few weeks ago! By far, it is one of the most fabulous dessert-style snacks that I have ever whipped up, and I could not have been more impressed. If you’re curious, you don’t taste ANY weird bean flavor. The next post will star the recipe and will be live in a few days!
Macro-friendly, gluten free, vegan, sugar free, keto, and high in calcium and fiber, Suntella takes the crown for being the healthiest chocolate spread on the planet. Its nutritional and physical quality is stellar, as is flavor and versatility. You feel like you’re sinning by eating out of the jar, but truth is, you’re doing your body good. What I credit Lakanto the most about this new product are several components: 1) they have managed to produce a spread that is suitable for diabetics, those who cannot tolerate sugar, and anyone on a ketogenic diet, 2) they created a high-quality formula that does not contain palm oil–an extremely controversial and environmentally detrimental ingredient, and 3) the spread itself is nut free, so anyone who cannot have Nutella can have this spread!
While flavor profile is perfect, the texture is not going to be the same way initially. Luckily, the solidified situation is alleviated within a week’s worth of settling down to room temperature and is accelerated with periodical spreading. In addition, you can only find the Suntella spread on their website for $9.99, which is around the same price as conventional sunflower seed butter or a budget-friendly almond butter. Not the most expensive, but also not the cheapest for a ten-ounce jar of spread. Be sure to take advantage of sales and discounts (you can use my code SUPERFITBABE20 to save 20% off your whole purchase online!!)!
No surprise, Lakanto has killed it once again with their Suntella! It tastes heavenly with strawberries, sandwiched in a toasted bagel, spread on a sliced banana or sweet potato, in any recipe calling for nut butter such as my chocolate peanut butter hummus, and of course, straight out of the jar on its own. Ensure that you store the jar at room temperature, NOT in a refrigerator, and mix the spread around once in a while to dissociate the coconut oil. Then again, it might be really, really difficult to last through the jar for more than a week, or maybe just for a few days. Not gonna lie, doing so proved a bit of a challenge for me.
Lakanto site: https://www.lakanto.com/