Zel's Vegan NutGourmet

Zel Allen Goes Nuts for Good Health


Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on December 9, 2011

It must be in my genes to tinker with a recipe. It frustrates my sweet, perplexed husband who tells me the recipe is perfect just the way it is. Still, I tinker, either to improve the flavor, the texture, or the health benefits.

In this case, my effort was to see if I could eliminate the olive oil from the previous posting of Garlicky Chestnut Butter and reduce the fat and calories. My concern was whether the chestnut butter would still retain its awesome flavor?

Mission accomplished with success! In this second version, the process is the same but the oil is gone and replaced by water. The result is a lighter, creamier chestnut butter with wonderful flavor. Of course, the fresh chestnuts I used are naturally sweet. I ordered them from two chestnut growers: Girolami Farms and Correia Chestnut Farm, both located in Northern California.

The recipe is super easy and shows off fresh chestnuts at their best. The chestnut season is very short. Most groceries won’t have them available beyond Christmas or New Years. Next trip to the market, buy some fresh chestnuts, cook them using the step-by-step directions below the chestnut butter recipe, and enjoy a luscious, sweet, buttery spread.

Garlicky Chestnut Butter #2

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

1/3 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup water
1 1/4 cups cooked and peeled coarsely chopped chestnuts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 small sprig parsley

1. Combine the onions, garlic, thyme, and 1/4 cup of the water in a skillet and cook and stir over medium-high heat for about 3 to 4 minutes or until the onions are softened. Add a few tablespoons of water as needed to prevent burning.

2. Transfer the mixture to the food processor, add the chestnuts, salt, and the remaining 1/4 cup of water and process for 1 or 2 minutes until smooth and creamy. Spoon the Garlicky Chestnut Butter into an attractive serving bowl, garnish with the parsley, and provide a spreading knife.


  1. Nancy DeVries said

    Well, I just signed up to receive your blog and it cost me some money! Your chestnut butter sounded soooo good that I ordered some chestnuts (Allen Creek Farms still has some and is running a Christmas special but you have to order this coming week!) and a chestnut knife. Can’t wait until they arrive. Thank you for the info!!!

    • nutgourmet said

      Hi Nancy, So sorry my enthusiasm has cost you a bundle! Warning! That little bowl of chestnut butter IS ADDICTIVE! My honey and I enjoyed it on our bread tonight. It was so flavorful and went divinely with the savory soup I made. Please do let me know how you like it and if my cooking and peeling instructions were helpful. Because I’m the author of The Nut Gourmet cookbook, I want to maintain my good reputation for reliable recipes. The Garlicky Chestnut Butter will be in my new book that will be coming out in 2012, so the blog will contain a few previews of the goodies in the new book.

      • Nancy DeVries said

        Will report back as soon as I make it. Let’s see – if they ship on the 12th (Monday), I should have it on Wednesday or Thursday. I have Friday off so expect a reply from me on Friday!! Your instructions looked fantastic! I typically make macadamia nut butter, but can’t wait to try the Garlicky Chestnut butter! Thanks again!

      • nutgourmet said

        Hi Nancy,

        I’ll be on vacation from Dec. 14th to the 29th. But please do share your results. I’ll be in the Philippines and might be able to get a wi-fi connection to check in. I can almost taste that yummy chestnut butter now.


  2. Nancy DeVries said

    Have a wonderful time on vacation!

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