While many consumers enlist peanut butter in breakfast, lunch, snacks, and desserts, the highly adored nut butter rarely makes an appearance in dinner dishes — unless they take the form of PB&J. And that’s a reality that should be rectified. While peanut butter undeniably pairs well with chocolate, carbs, and the like, it also performs well in savory dishes, and often can help yield a perfectly delicious (and sometimes nutritious) sauce. Check out these seven recipes that highlight peanut butter in all of its savory dinner glory and get ready to look at the nut butter in a whole new light. You might start going through your peanut butter jars faster than ever, but we happen to think that’s a good problem to have.
1. West African Peanut Soup
Our first recipe comes from Cookie & Kate, and it’s for West African Peanut Soup, a soup bursting with flavor and history. While many chefs cook up this dish and complement it with chicken, Kate not only keeps her soup vegetarian, but vegan, too. She says that the key ingredients in her recipe are peanut butter, tomato paste, and collard greens, and while it may be hard to conjecture how those flavors meld together, one taste of this soup and you’ll immediately disregard any doubts you had.
- 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 bunch collard greens, ribs removed and leaves chopped into 1-inch strips
- ¾ cup unsalted peanut butter
- ½ cup tomato paste
- Hot sauce, like sriracha
- ¼ cup roughly chopped peanuts, for garnish
Directions: In a medium Dutch oven or stock pot, bring the broth to a boil. Add the onion, ginger, garlic, and salt. Cook on medium-low heat for 20 minutes.
In a medium-sized, heat-safe mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter and tomato paste, then transfer 1 to 2 cups of the hot stock to the bowl. Whisk the mixture together until smooth, then pour the peanut mixture back into the soup and mix well.
Stir in the collard greens and season the soup with hot sauce to taste. Simmer for about 15 more minutes on medium-low heat, stirring often. Serve over cooked brown rice if you’d like, and top with a sprinkle of chopped peanuts.
2. Spicy Stir-Fried Broccoli & Peanuts
Up next is a stir fry featured on Eating Well that comes together in just 20 minutes. Stir fries are some of the easiest dishes you can put together for dinner, and this one enlists peanut butter to make the supper stir fry extra delicious, and even nutritious. This dinner is vegetarian, but what it lacks in meat it makes up for in flavor and spice. A spicy peanut butter sauce is the star of the show in this supper, and the bright veggies don’t do too bad, either.
- ⅓ cup creamy natural peanut butter
- ½ cup water, divided
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1½ pounds broccoli crowns, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 large red bell pepper, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
- ¼ cup chopped unsalted peanuts
Directions: Whisk peanut butter, ¼ cup water, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and vinegar in a medium bowl until smooth. Set aside.
Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Add broccoli and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to soften and brown in spots, about 6 minutes.
Add the remaining ¼ cup water and 1 tablespoon soy sauce to the pan along with bell pepper and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the pepper has softened and the liquid has evaporated, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in the reserved peanut sauce and season with crushed red pepper. Garnish with peanuts.
3. Crockpot Thai Peanut Chicken
There is meat in this next recipe from Family Fresh Meals, and the poultry makes an appearance in a food formula for Crockpot Thai Peanut Chicken. Summer may be on the horizon, but that doesn’t mean your crockpot has to go into hibernation. The kitchen appliance can still do wonders for your supper scene, and you should enlist it to help cook up this recipe. Just throw veggies, chicken, and a peanut sauce into the crockpot on high for 3 to 6 hours and you’re good to go. Serve your homemade Thai over noodles or brown rice and prepare to be amazed at what can come out of your kitchen.
- 2 pounds, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 small red or orange bell pepper, sliced
- 1 small yellow bell pepper, sliced
- 1 white onion, chopped
- ½ cup chunky peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- ½ cup chicken broth
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- ¼ cup crushed peanuts for topping
Directions: Place peppers and onion at the bottom of the crockpot. Next place chicken on top. In a bowl, mix together peanut butter, lime juice, chicken broth, soy sauce, and honey. Pour sauce over chicken. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or 6 on low. When 15 minutes remain of cooking time, shred chicken with two forks. Cover and continue cooking for the remainder of the time. Remove from crockpot and serve over brown rice or noodles.
4. Sweet Potato and Tofu Enchiladas with Mole Sauce
Back to the vegetarian game, we come to this recipe for Sweet Potato and Tofu Enchiladas with Mole Sauce from Oh My Veggies. Who knew peanut butter could go well with Mexican? Mole sauce is a sauce typically associated with Mexican cuisine, and this food formula from Oh My Veggies has peanut butter as the sauce’s star ingredient. Along with cinnamon, brown sugar, chili powder, cocoa powder, and garlic cloves, it’s safe to say that this mole sauce covers all the bases, and when it tops fresh corn tortillas packed with sweet potatoes and tofu, the combination cannot be denied by even the staunchest meat-lovers.
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup chili powder
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons natural creamy peanut butter
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 large sweet potatoes, baked or microwaved until tender
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 package of extra firm tofu, pressed for 30 minutes, drained and cut into ½-inch cubes
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro, plus additional for garnish
- 16 corn tortillas, warmed
- 1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese or crumbled queso fresco
Directions: For the sauce: Heat the coconut oil in large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook about 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the garlic, chili powder, brown sugar, cinnamon, chipotle chili powder, and ground cloves and cook about 1 minute more, or until fragrant, stirring constantly.
Add the tomatoes, cocoa powder, peanut butter, and vegetable broth. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool slightly and then puree with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
For the enchiladas: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat the coconut oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cumin and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the diced tofu and cook about 10 minutes or until golden and crispy, stirring occasionally. Season with salt.
Scoop the insides of the sweet potatoes into a medium bowl and use a fork to mash them. Fold in the cilantro and tofu.
Ladle enough mole sauce into the bottom of a greased 9-by-13 glass baking dish to cover it entirely. Divide sweet potato mixture into tortillas and place opening-side down into baking dish. Top with the remaining mole sauce and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and the enchiladas are heated through. Garnish with additional cilantro leaves, if desired.
5. Peanut Butter Noodles
In our No. 5 spot is a recipe for Peanut Butter Noodles featured on All Recipes. This Asian twist on traditional spaghetti is one all of your family members will enjoy, and while the recipe does call for chicken broth, vegetable broth can easily be substituted, making the dish completely meat-free. This recipe combines soy sauce, honey, chili paste, and peanut butter to yield a decadent sauce that delicately dresses udon noodles, and chopped peanuts are also called in for a little extra crunch.
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 1½ tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1½ tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons hot chile paste
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces Udon noodles
- ¼ cup chopped green onions
- ¼ cup chopped peanuts
Directions: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until tender according to package directions. Drain.
Meanwhile, combine chicken broth, ginger, soy sauce, peanut butter, honey, chili paste, and garlic in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until peanut butter melts and is heated through. Add noodles, and toss to coat. Garnish with green onions and peanuts.
6. Steak with Peanut Sauce and Broccoli
Calling all beef lovers — this recipe for Steak With Peanut Sauce and Broccoli is for you. The food formula comes from Martha Stewart and the recipe is easy just as the dish is appetizing. Flank steak is the meat of choice in this recipe and a special sauce made up of peanut butter, brown sugar, red chili flakes, and soy sauce is concocted. Broccoli complements the beef to add a touch of healthfulness to this dish, and the healthy fats from the peanut butter don’t hurt either.
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 piece fresh ginger
- ½ cup smooth peanut butter
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon light-brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- 1½ pounds flank steak
- 2 pints broccoli
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 scallions
- Coarse salt
Directions: In the morning: Peel garlic; peel and slice ginger. Place both in a blender with peanut butter, ¼ cup soy sauce, ¼ cup vinegar, sugar, red-pepper flakes, and 2 tablespoons water. Blend until smooth. Place steak in a resealable plastic bag or shallow dish; add all but ¼ cup sauce and refrigerate. Cover and store reserved sauce at room temperature. Cut florets from broccolil cover and refrigerate.
For dinner: Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. Lift steak from marinade; place on a broilerproof baking sheet. Broil until medium-rare, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a large plate, and cover loosely with aluminum foil; let rest, 5 to 10 minutes.
While steak is broiling, thinly slice scallions, keeping whites and greens separate. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add broccoli, scallion whites, and ¼ cup water; season with salt. Cover skillet, and cook, tossing occasionally, until broccoli is just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Uncover; add remaining tablespoon soy sauce and tablespoon vinegar. Cook, tossing, until liquid is evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Mix in scallion greens. To serve, thinly slice steak across the grain; serve with broccoli and reserved peanut sauce.
7. Pan-Seared Tempeh with Peanut Sauce
Last but not least is one more vegetarian recipe, featured on Food Network. This one is for Pan-Seared Tempeh with Peanut Sauce, and while the idea of tempeh might make many mainstream eaters run and hide, we can assure you that this peanut sauce is reason enough to stay. Get your eaters to give tempeh a try with this recipe, and as long as they like peanut butter, they have a good chance of liking the vegan protein.
- ⅔ cup peanut butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup coconut milk
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 cup warm water
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 2 (8-ounce) blocks tempeh, cut into ½-inch thick strips
- Kosher salt
- 4 cups mesclun greens
- 2 cups mung bean sprouts
Directions: Whisk the peanut butter, coconut milk, lime juice, honey, ginger, and water together in a medium bowl. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat and brown the tempeh on all sides, about 8 minutes. Add the peanut sauce to the skillet and heat until bubbling. Season to taste. Serve the tempeh hot over a bed of mesclun, topped with the sauce and a small handful of bean sprouts.