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Spread the Love: Peanut Butter is Perfect for Every Meal

Posted by on February 1st, 2013

STL CN

 

Spread The Love is here, and in honor of this drive for jars of peanut butter and jelly, I’m sharing my favorite PB recipes.

Peanuts have been valued for their addition to a healthy diet since the Aztecs, hundreds of years ago.  They have a high level of monounsaturated fats and reservatrol. Peanut butter (and peanuts) provide protein, vitamins, fiber and high levels of the antioxidant p-coumaric acid.  As a kid, I grew up eating PB&J sandwiches all the time as well as my Mom’s fresh baked peanut butter cookies.  But it wasn’t until a trip to Colonial Williamsburg, when I ordered a bowl of peanut soup at an Inn, that my eyes were opened to how many different ways peanut butter can be used.

PB & B & H

peanut-butter-banana-sandwich-lgI still enjoy a traditional PB&J (although I admit to indulging in gourmet preserves now), but for the last few years I have been switching my peanut butter sandwich up to a healthier, and I think, tastier version.  I like to put a spin on a PB&J by making an open face sandwich, on toasted multi-grain bread.  Spread on whichever peanut butter you prefer (I’ve always been partial to chunky ones for the added texture), layer on thinly sliced bananas and then drizzle over some nice organic honey.  This is a really easy, super tasty and light snack or breakfast that also has the added benefit of having the combination of the whole wheat bread with the peanut butter.  Peanut butter on its own is an incomplete protein but when you combine with the wheat bread it becomes a complete protein.

1 slice multi-grain or whole-wheat bread
½ banana
2 T. peanut butter
1 T. honey

Thai Summer Salad

I really enjoy having light, healthy food that is packed with flavor, and this recipe for Thai summer salad is just that. It’s great on its own or even better with the addition of grilled shrimp or scallops.

peanut sauce Peanut Vinaigrette makes 2 ½ cups
½ cup water
¼ cup good quality soy sauce
½ cup peanut butter
¼ cup of cane sugar if you can find it, or white or brown sugar will work as well
3 T. lime juice
1 T. canola oil
S&P TT

Stir all ingredients together until thoroughly mixed.  Adjust thinness with water or peanut butter as needed, salt and pepper to taste.

Summer Salad

1 large tomato, blanched, peeled, seeded and medium-diced
4 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and medium-diced
4 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 jalapeno, thinly sliced, keep seeds in if you like it spicy or remove if desired
1 T. shaved red onion
4-5 leaves each of cilantro, basil and mint, torn into small pieces or cut with scissors

Combine carrots with a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette and allow to sit for a few minutes to marinate.  Next, add in the remaining ingredients, holding off on the herbs until right before plating.  If you are adding any shrimp or fish, you can marinate the vegetables with the dressing while the fish is cooking and then last second add the herbs before you plate and add the fish on top.  I also enjoy adding a few tablespoons of freshly toasted and chopped peanuts on top of the salad for an added crunch.

Lettuce Wraps

lettuce wrapWhile lettuce wraps have always been very popular throughout Asia – especially in Korea – it’s a dish that is finally catching on around the U.S. since it can be so versatile.  The basic premise of the dish is to have some cleaned bibb lettuce leaves, an array of vegetables, grilled or BBQ’d meat and some dipping sauce.  You can even have some steamed rice to add if you like.

For the wraps, you can use the same Peanut Vinaigrette from above, and keep it on the side with soy sauce for dipping in, and also to marinate any of the meats that you might like to grill (thinly sliced chicken or pork would work best).

1 head of bibb or butter lettuce, core removed, rinsed and dried
6 oz. of thinly sliced pork, chicken, beef or shrimp—you can use Korean BBQ sauce to marinate, the peanut vinaigrette or simply seasoned with salt and pepper, grilled till cooked through and then sliced again into smaller strips that are easy to fit into the leaves
1 cup of steamed white or brown rice
2 T. scallions, thinly sliced
3 oz. peanut vinaigrette for dipping
1 oz. soy sauce for dipping

You can also add sautéed carrots or peppers to this or any vegetables you like.  Start by taking a leaf or two of the lettuce and assemble it almost like a burrito but using the lettuce instead of a tortilla.  Try not to make it too large or it will be tricky when you try to close it up. You can choose to put the sauces in the wrap as opposed to dipping too.  The beauty of the wraps is that you can cook off a little bit of 2 or 3 different meats, lay out a nice little spread of different ingredients and let everyone in the family custom make their own lettuce wrap.

Peanut Butter Milkshake

pb milkshakeWho doesn’t enjoy a good milk shake for dessert?  This recipe is also the perfect late night snack or afternoon treat.

1 pint of high-quality vanilla ice cream
3T of peanut butter
1 cup whole milk
¼ cup crushed oreos

In a blender, combine the vanilla ice cream (or you can use chocolate if you’re in the mood) the peanut butter and milk.  Puree just until the ingredients have combined.  Add the chopped Oreos and stir with a spoon (reserve a few pieces to garnish on top if you like).  Pour into a tall water or pilsner glass and enjoy.

These are just a few of my favorite recipes that use peanut butter. Now, Philabundance wants to know yours! Share your favorite dish that uses peanut butter or jelly below for a chance to win big.

Nathan Volz is the Chef de Cuisine of 10 Arts Bistro & Lounge. For more information, please visit www.10arts.com or call 215.523.8273.

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