Rating: 4.3 out of 5 –
MaraNatha started with two entrepreneurs in 1982 who distributed dried fruit from California to local natural food stores in Oregon. They started to develop their own products along the way including small batch peanut and nut butters. The flavorful and wholesome nut butters grew such a following that the entrepreneurs decided to focus only on the nut and seed butters and so became and grew into the MaraNatha we know today. MaraNatha is one of the largest distributors of natural peanut butters without using hydrogenated oils, preservatives, or trans-fats.
MaraNatha creates high-quality delicious foods that fit into any lifestyle. The company specializes in varieties of peanut butter and almond butters with a few specialty butters like coconut butter. If you’re a peanut butter lover like me, you’re in luck because MaraNatha has seven peanut butter flavors including Banana Peanut Butter, Organic Peanut Butter, Organic No Sugar or No Salt Added Peanut Butter, Organic No Stir Peanut Butter, Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter, Organic No Stir Crunchy Peanut Butter, and No Stir Creamy Peanut Butter. Five out of seven varieties are organic, indicating the company’s commitment to pure ingredients and all of the varieties are vegan, Non-GMO verified, and small batch roasted.
If you’re passionate about natural peanut butter, MaraNatha has many options to choose from but I’m going to review the Organic Crunchy No Stir Peanut Butter today. ….mostly because I’m team crunchy all the way. 😉 Keep reading to see what I as a Registered Dietitian and my omnivore husband have to say about these plant-based nut butters.
So how does the crunchy peanut butter taste?! Like a peanut lover’s dream come true. You have to like the taste of peanuts because the peanuts are high-quality and extra roasted to create that deep peanut flavor. The peanuts are ground ultra-smooth to create a luxurious buttery-melt-in-your-mouth spread. The velvety smooth texture is interrupted with small peanut nibs for that crunch you’re looking for in a crunchy peanut butter. I like super crunchy peanut butter and this doesn’t have enough pieces for my liking. However, I appreciate that the nuts are evenly distributed (versus only on the top like some brands that I will refrain from mentioning) and the overall texture is super thick. It’s the perfect texture to spread on toast, dip with an apple, or slather on a piece of chocolate. 🙂
Before I get into the nutrition, I want to warn my au natural peanut butter lovers out there that MaraNatha No Stir Variations have organic palm oil and organic evaporated cane sugar. The MaraNatha No Stir Nut Butters aren’t as sweet as JIF or other commercially prepared peanut butters, but I like my nut butters without sugar most of the time. If that’s your jam, Maranatha makes nut butters with only two ingredients (similar to Teddie’s Peanut Butter I’ve previously reviewed): peanuts and salt. This variation is great on hearty waffles eaten as toast or just toast when I want a smidge of sweetness.
MaraNatha peanut butters have a unique super delish depth in the roast and you should definitely try the Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter if you like peanut butter at all. And if you don’t, who are you??
With only a few ingredients and one of them being a plant-based protein powerhouse (peanuts), it’s hard to go too terribly wrong! Two tablespoons of MaraNatha Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter contains 180 calories with 16 grams of total fat. Peanuts have some saturated fat, but they also have healthier polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Each two tablespoon serving has three grams of saturated fat but five grams of polyunsaturated fat and nine grams of monounsaturated fat to help prevent heart disease and promote health.
There are only 65mg of sodium per two tablespoon serving of MaraNatha Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter compared to JIF creamy and crunchy variations have double that (110-150mg sodium respectively). For the only other ingredient to be salt, MaraNatha adds a modest amount of if to deepen the flavor without compromising nutrition.
Peanuts are a legume and so we can expect some but minimal amount of carbohydrates from this plant-based nut butter. Indeed, MaraNatha Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter has only six grams of total carbohydrates with two grams of fiber to help stabilize blood sugar level and support a healthy diet. There is some sugar in this variation, three total grams per serving but this would be a great peanut butter option for anyone wanting to add protein and fiber at breakfast, snacks, lunch, or dinner without a lot of the gunk of a lot of commercially produced nut butters.
MaraNatha Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter has eight grams of plant-based protein in a two tablespoon serving. This is more than a large egg! Nuts and seeds are a great source of vegan protein (and healthy fats that can sometimes be lacking in vegan diets). Peanut butter is one of the easiest foods to add into your diet to ensure you’re getting enough protein (which you likely are). Plus, it’s a shelf-stable protein that requires no refrigeration or cooking! I like to add a dollop of MaraNatha Organic Peanut Butter to oatmeal, overnight oats, Asian sauces, baked goods, and snacks to help boost my protein intake and keep me satisfied (protein, fiber, and fat do that!) through the day.
Peanuts are a great source of iron (8% of your daily value in one serving of this peanut butter) and potassium (also 4% of your daily value in one serving). Iron in plant sources such as nuts, seeds, and legumes like peanut butter should be consumed with a source of vitamin C at the same time to help increase absorption. Instead of your standard peanut butter and jelly sandwich, use MaraNatha Crunchy Organic Peanut Butter with sliced or mashed strawberries to create an equally delish but far more nutrish sandwich!
The Non-Vegan Review
My little carrot-slaying wife loves all of MaraNatha’s nut butters, and they are really great nut butters, but I’m just not a fan. I used to really like them and I still eat them, because that’s what my wife buys, but right now I’m a big fan of the Santa Cruz Dark Roast peanut butter. I just really love the strong flavor of a dark roast peanut butter. The MaraNatha Crunchy Organic Peanut Butter tastes bland in comparison to the Santa Cruz Dark Roast peanut butter. However, I realize not everyone is going to love a really strong roasted peanut flavor, so if I just consider this MaraNatha Crunchy peanut butter on it’s own, I think it’s a high quality peanut butter. You really can’t go wrong with it. It’s organic and has just the right amount of sugar and salt to give it a great flavor. MaraNatha peanut butters are a huge upgrade from Jif, Skippy, or Peter Pan, both in taste and health aspects, but it still gives you some of that sweetness that you may be used to. Overall, don’t listen to me, MaraNatha makes great nut butters. I’m just a crotchety snob when it comes to peanut butter. Thanks for swinging by and please consider using one of our Amazon links to do your shopping. Thanks. Non-vegan husband out.
If you love peanut butter but don’t love the excessive sugar, salt and other additives in commercially produced peanut butters, try out MaraNatha Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter. With a few ingredients and a deep roasted peanut flavor, this velvety smooth (it’s seriously ultra-smooth!) nut butter is the perfect spread for toast or dip for an apple. With eight grams of plant-based protein per serving, this is a natural peanut butter you can feel good about eating and sharing with others (but you don’t have to share if you don’t want to 😉 ).