6 Dinner Recipes for Celebrating National Peanut Day With a Crunch

It’s National Peanut Day, and there is no better time to pop a few of these low-cholesterol, high-protein — and not to mention delicious — nuts into your diet than now. Peanuts are a staple of many global cuisines and have achieved remarkable success in the domestic market alone. According to the National Peanut Board, peanuts account for two-thirds of all nut sales in the United States, and these figures contribute more than $4 billion to the American economy each year.

From snack time to dessert, America’s favorite nut seems to always be there for us — so why not pop a few into tonight’s dinner by using one of these 6 recipes?

Source: iStock

1. Spicy Sesame Noodles with Chopped Peanuts and Thai Basil

Peanut noodles are a classic peanut-based dinner dish. This is a vegetarian-friendly take on the meal, but the carnivores among you will enjoy it just as much. Rich peanut flavors are melded with the traditional Asian tastes of ginger sesame, soy sauce, and chili oil to create a complex pasta dish with a bit of a kick to go along with it. This recipe from Epicurious yields 4 to 6 servings and takes about 35 minutes to complete.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) hot chili oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 pound fresh Chinese egg noodles or fresh angel hair pasta
  • 12 green onions (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh Thai basil leaves

Directions: Heat peanut oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Transfer to large bowl. Add next 6 ingredients; whisk to blend.

Place noodles in sieve over sink. Separate noodles with fingers and shake to remove excess starch. Cook in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, stirring occasionally. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool. Drain thoroughly and transfer to bowl with sauce. Add sliced green onions and toss to coat noodles. Let stand at room temperature, until noodles have absorbed dressing, tossing occasionally, about 1 hour. Stir in peanuts and Thai basil; toss again. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.

Source: Thinkstock

2. Chicken with Coconut-Lime Peanut Sauce

This zesty chicken dish incorporates peanut butter into its sauce, plus chopped peanuts it give it a delightful crunch. The inclusion of all these peanuts — plus the chicken base — ensures that you and your family will be getting more than enough protein for the day, while also indulging in a wonderfully hearty, but not heavy, meal. This recipe from Fresh Family Cooking takes just 25 minutes to complete and yields 6 to 8 servings.

Ingredients:

Sauce

  • ½ cup light unsweetened coconut milk
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
  • Juice from 1 lime (about 1 tablespoon lime juice)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • Pinch cracked black pepper
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • Pinch cayenne
  • Pinch natural sweetener to taste

Chicken

  • 2 pounds chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • a few garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 cup chopped asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch pieces

Garnishes

  • Chopped cilantro
  • Chopped peanuts
  • Green onion
  • Toasted unsweetened coconut flake
  • Sriracha sauce

Directions: To make sauce, in a medium bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, coconut milk, curry paste, lime juice, soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, sweetener, and seasonings to form a sauce. Set aside.

To make chicken, heat coconut oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook until softened. Add chicken; cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally for even cooking. Stir sauce into chicken. Partially cover and simmer for about 5 minutes to let the flavors combine. Add asparagus during the last few minutes of cook time. Serve with spicy Sriracha sauce and garnishes mentioned above.

Source: iStock

3. Thai Cucumber and Peanut Salad

This salad from Food & Wine is refreshing yet tangy and sophisticated. In spite of the complex flavors it offers, it’s a great last-minute dish to throw together for dinner, taking only 20 minutes to complete. Upon the first bite, you’ll notice how the crisp, cool cucumbers and fragrant cilantro play delicately off of the tart lime and hot Thai chile dressing. Roasted peanuts bring the dish home with an irresistible crunch. The recipe yields 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 Thai chiles, thinly sliced
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 English cucumbers, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced crosswise ¼ inch thick
  • 1 cup packed cilantro, chopped
  • ½ cup salted roasted peanuts
  • ½ small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt

Directions: In a small bowl, whisk the lime juice with the fish sauce, sugar, chiles, garlic, and oil. In a large bowl, toss the cucumbers, cilantro, peanuts, and onion. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and serve right away.

Source: iStock

4. Grilled Shrimp with Cilantro, Lime, and Peanuts

While some of the seasonings and ingredients in this dish from Martha Stewart are inspired by Vietnamese cuisine — namely, the fish sauce, cilantro, peanuts, and scallions — preparing shrimp on the grill in this way is a favorite of Louisiana Creole culture. A peanut crunch and a tart lime finish give these crispy grilled shrimp just what they need to become an unforgettable dish in your dinner time rotation. The recipe takes 25 minutes to complete and yields 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 limes
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 pound (about 15) jumbo shrimp, shells on
  • 2 teaspoons safflower oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 ½ cups coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped

Directions: Zest limes into a bowl. Squeeze in juice from 1 lime and whisk in fish sauce and sugar.

Preheat grill to high. Brush shrimp with oil on both sides and lightly season with salt and pepper. Grill until pink and firm to the touch, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Toss shrimp with fish sauce mixture, cilantro, peanuts, and scallions. Juice remaining lime over shrimp.

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5. Spicy Caribbean Vegetable Stew

Straight from the National Peanut Board itself comes this recipe for a spicy, vegetarian-friendly Caribbean stew. The dish combines a medley of fresh vegetables with zesty jerk seasoning and garlic, beans, peanuts, and lime for an incredible flavor-packed visit to the islands (in dinner form, that is). The recipe takes about 30 minutes to complete and yields 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into ¾-inch chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Caribbean jerk seasonings
  • 3 cups vegetable broth, divided
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks (1 pound)
  • 2 small zucchini or yellow squash (or 1 of each), sliced (½ pound.)
  • ¼ cup 12 percent fat peanut flour
  • 1 (15- or 16-ounce) can red beans, rinsed, drained
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped roast peanuts
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 4 lime wedges

Directions: In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes. Add bell pepper and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Sprinkle seasonings over vegetables; sauté 1 minute. Add 2 ½ cups of the broth and sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in squash; cover and simmer 5 to 6 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring once.

Whisk together peanut flour and remaining ½ cup broth. Stir into stew; simmer uncovered 5 minutes or until stew has thickened. Stir in beans; heat through. Ladle into four shallow bowls. Top with peanuts and, if desired, cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Source: iStock

6. Peanut-Crusted Tofu Triangles

This tofu-based recipe is a great way to take full advantage of that peanut crunch we all love. The tofu nicely soaks up the flavors of the spices and seasonings in the dish and is then crusted in peanut and fried to a crisp in oil. This recipe from Cooking Light takes about an hour to complete and yields 4 servings, each serving consisting of ¾ cup rice and 4 crisped tofu triangles. One serving contains 391 calories, 2.5 grams saturated fat, and a whopping 17.6 grams of protein.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (14-ounce) package firm tofu, drained
  • 1 ½ cups uncooked instant rice
  • 1 ½ cups rice milk
  • ½ cup thinly sliced green onions
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 large egg white
  • ⅓ cup dry-roasted peanuts
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons peanut oil, divided
  • Cooking spray

Directions: Cut tofu crosswise into 8 equal pieces. Cut each piece into two triangles. Arrange tofu in a single layer on several layers of heavy-duty paper towels. Cover tofu with additional paper towels. Place a cutting board on top of tofu. Place a heavy pan on cutting board. Let stand 20 minutes. Pat tofu dry with paper towels.

Combine rice and milk in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in onions, cilantro, bell pepper, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cover and keep warm.

Combine 1 teaspoon water and egg white in a shallow dish. Place peanuts in a food processor; process until finely ground. Combine ground peanuts, garlic powder, ginger, red pepper, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt in a shallow dish. Dip one side of each tofu triangle in egg mixture. Dredge the same side in peanut mixture. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add half of tofu; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 teaspoon oil and tofu. Serve tofu with rice.

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