I go nuts about this blog series because it allows me to share with you practical techniques and flavor combinations to create amazing food but without sacrificing a ton of time or ingredients. These “recipes” are how I cook most days of the week and I’m so happy to share with you easy ways to include more plant-based goodness on your plate. These posts are designed to be a guide, so feel free to change things up! If you don’t have an ingredient, skip or substitute or start with less and add until your taste buds are content.
This week we’re celebrating one my absolute favorite foods that I go nuts for every. single. day. You might say I’m obsessed or nutty. But that’s my jam. You butter believe it. Hahaha – are you picking up the food puns yet? If nut, let me help you out – I’m talking about my favey fave peanut butter. This post happens to drop on National Peanut Butter Day (well, it didn’t just happen – I totally planned it! 😉 ) but only because this nutrient dense economical protein source deserves all the positive attention it can get.
But here’s the thing, a lot of the peanut butter (and peanuts) people are buying have hydrogenated oils and sugar added (not so beuno). The good news is that you can buy or make your own natural peanut butter without all the fillers. I say fillers because you’re going to think it has a higher price tag, but in reality the other ones just add inexpensive ingredients that cost more on your health over the long run. There are a lot of great options out there, but my favorite peanut butter is Teddie Peanut Butter (affiliate). It’s a drier roast but it complements a juicy apple perfectly and swirls into curries with decadence. I buy the three pack on Amazon every few months because teddie’s is most likely only found on the East Coast. If you’re not an Amazon shopper, check out your local grocery or health food store for a peanut butter you enjoy without added oils and sugar. Plus, a lot of grocers are now offering freshly churned nut butters which is equally fantastic.
Before we get to the recipes, note that if anyone in your family has an allergy or intolerance to peanuts, try these recipes with almond butter or sun butter for an equally delicious treat! I’ve tried almond and sun butter in the first two with equally delish results.
This Asian inspired concoction of goodness makes an appearance on our dinner table ALL the time because it’s literally fail proof. It can easily be modified if you like things spicier or milder. To get started, cut up about two to three cups of raw vegetables (onion, broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, spinach (add this last if adding), yellow squash, garlic, etc). Begin to heat a large sauté pan on medium and add vegetables with a dab of olive or coconut oil. Once vegetables begin to soften, add one cup peanut butter of choice, three to four tablespoons of soy sauce or liquid aminos, about four tablespoons of water to thin it out as needed (start with two and work your way up – you could use only soy sauce but I find it gets too salty for my liking), three to four tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (or rice wine vinegar), a spoonful of brown sugar, and crushed red pepper flakes to taste. The mixture will start out chunky and separated. As the sauce begins to warm, it will blend together evenly. Cook until vegetables heated through and pour over cooked rice, noodles (even spiralized veggie noodles), or eat on its own with your choice of protein (I really like tofu or tempeh here). Your taste buds will thank you and you’ll wonder how something so delish could be so simple and fast!
These make the perfect mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. The possibilities here are endless and the wild part is that I have made SO many varieties for SO many different people and I have yet to find someone who doesn’t love them. They are that adaptable. If you need some flavor inspiration, check out Bless this Mess as she gives you eight different flavor combinations and lots of inspiration. If you don’t want a ton of one flavor, I like to make half batches bases with different flavor add-ins. It’s the best of both worlds!
Today, I’m giving you my favorite go-to blend with only 4-5 ingredients you likely have in your pantry right now. Trust me, this has been our go-to while traveling with few foods/ingredients! In a medium bowl, add 1 cup of dry oats (feel free to play around with old fashioned and quick cooking combinations!), a couple large spoonfuls of peanut butter (1/4cup), the same amount of honey (or try maple syrup!), a few spoonfuls of unsweetened shredded coconut or cocoa powder (or both or neither!) and a dab of chia seeds (optional). Mix all of these ingredients together until well combined and sticky. If it’s not sticky, add more goop (nut butter or honey/maple syrup). Keep in mind that if you’re not using 100% maple syrup, it will be less viscous and you may need to add more nut butter or do a dab of honey. Use a spoon or scoop to form mixture into small cookie ball in your hand. Tip: use a small square of parchment paper in your hand to prevent a sticky goop of a mess. Roll and repeat until mixture bowl is empty. If you plan on eating immediately, I like to place in the freezer to speed up the “solidifying” process. Otherwise, store in the fridge for a full week (if they last that long!)
African Peanut Soup
As strange as tomatoes, peanut butter, and greens sound, there is something SO decadent but so cozy about this combination. I first saw a recipe for a similar soup in my very first pressure cooking cookbook back in 2010 and although it intrigued me, the combination was so unfamiliar that I was too nervous to make it for another 3 years (easy). Crazy, right?! Don’t make the same mistake I did – this soup uses basic pantry ingredients with a few fresh flairs to make it a perfect weekday meal and you’ll be wondering how you’ve lived without it. If you like spicy foods (like me), be liberal with the garlic and ginger otherwise use less. Note: this recipe is an inspiration from Lorna Sass’s Cooking Under Pressure, Cookie + Kate, and Pinch of Yum who all add their own spin.
Heat a dab or two of olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat and add one onion (chopped), three to four cloves of garlic (minced), a tablespoon of freshly minced ginger, and one chopped jalapeño (or use siracha and add once veggies are cooked or completely omit). Sauté until soft and fragrant. Most African soups include sweet potatoes. I can take it or leave it personally. If you want to use, add 2 large peeled and cubed sweet potatoes here and cook for a few minutes before adding can of coconut milk and two to four cups of vegetable broth. Note: use two to three cups of broth if you are using a can of diced tomatoes. Use three to four cups of broth if you are using ½ cup-ish of tomato paste. I give options because the tomato paste will result in thicker stew like consistency, especially if you add sweet potatoes. If you like thinner soups, use the canned tomatoes or skip the sweet potatoes. So many options – choose which one sounds the best to you and know that it’s a good choice. 🙂 Reduce heat to simmer and cook until potatoes are soft. Stir in ½ cup to ¾ cup peanut butter of choice (I never measure here and probably error on more). Also stir in a mess of greens (kale, collards, chard, or spinach). If you don’t live in the south, a mess of greens is few handfuls or a small bunch. 😉 Once greens have wilted and everything is creamy, serve and enjoy! Topper options: chopped peanuts, hot sauce, sliced jalapeno, cilantro, sprinkle of curry powder, or additional salt/pepper. Enjoy until your heart is content and savor every morsel of goodness!
Because sometimes in person visuals are better than reading text, I post a video with one of the easy recipes (hint: it’s the soup!). The video can be viewed on my Facebook page tomorrow. You get to see how it’s done and I get to eat it up 😉 haha – that is until you dive into one of these great recipes.
You butter believe that I LOVE hearing from you (and ALL the food puns!) …. So I’m curious, how do you cook with peanut butter? Is it your jam? Do you two stick together??
All the hugs and gratitude,