But just using peanut butter or another nut butter as a spread or in smoothies sells it short. This delicious stuff can be deployed to make sweet breakfasts sweeter, noodle dishes creamier and vegetables protein-packed. Six strategies help you to add peanut butter at every meal for more flavor and good fat.
At Breakfast: Swap It for Syrup and Butter
“It’s a great replacement for butter, cream or sugar in lots of situations,” he said. Besides using it in oatmeal, Zalben suggested adding a lump to pancake batter. “Add a scoop of our cinnamon raisin swirl peanut butter and some chopped apples, and plain pancakes become kind of cinnamon raisin apple fritters.”
Peanut butter or other nut butters can even act as a swap for syrup. Julie Fagan, the food blogger behind Peanut Butter Fingers, said she likes to use them for easy stuffed French toast. To make it, let two slices of French toast cool a bit, then slather peanut or almond butter between the slices and top with sliced bananas, strawberries or other fruit.
At Lunch: Pep Up PB&J … or Try a Peanut Butter Pizza
Or, she said, make it even more interesting and incorporate vegetables, spices and Thai flavor to create a peanut butter pizza. Simply top a pizza crust with peanut butter, cheese and vegetables commonly used in Thai cooking: bean sprouts, carrots, scallions, broccoli and chili peppers.
At Dinner: Dress Salad, Marinate Meat and Sauce Noodles and Rice
For a chili/peanut butter sauce that works over chicken, noodles or rice, he suggested combining a scoop of peanut or cashew butter with some chili paste or powder and a little vegetable oil to thin out the mixture.
Another ingredient that works well: coconut. Zalben suggested mixing light coconut milk with some peanut butter in a rice cooker for Indonesian-inspired rice.
For a peanut vinaigrette that makes salads creamy or works as a marinade or sauce for meat, mix some peanut butter with vinegar and a little water, suggested Phoebe Lapine, one of the authors of “In the Small Kitchen: 100 Recipes From Our Year of Cooking in the Real World.”
“Because nut butters have natural fats, you can thin them without using oil,” she said. Lapine’s favorite use for peanut butter, though, is the BGSK Peanut Sauce from her website, Big Girls Small Kitchen.
The ingredients are:
4 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons chile paste
1 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter, preferably natural
2/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 cup water
Green parts of chopped scallions or julienne-cut cucumbers for serving
Process the ginger and garlic in the food processor until smooth. Add the sugar to help make it smoother. Add the remaining ingredients, except the water and scallions or cucumbers, and process until smooth. Add the water. If your food processor is small, you may have to do this in two batches. Set the mixture aside for at least an hour to let the flavors meld, or refrigerate overnight. Serve over udon noodles, rice or meat.