6 Recipes That Take Peanut Butter on a Healthy Spin

Let us ponder for a moment the wonders of peanut butter, a food staple of American childhood. Who doesn’t occasionally crave the simple pleasures of a sweet-and-salty peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Well, not only is peanut butter good for you, loaded with protein and heart-healthy fats, but it’s also a versatile ingredient that lends itself well to a host of healthy recipes, from peanut butter smoothies to Chinese sesame-peanut noodles.

Here are six tasty, healthy peanut butter recipes, starting with the most basic:

PB&Js
My love for the classic sandwich hasn’t diminished one bit as I’ve gotten older — PB&Js are still regular fixtures in my lunch sack. But now instead of the sugary processed stuff, I use all-natural, unsweetened peanut butter, which is full of flavor, and low-sugar fruit preserves on crusty farm or whole-grain bread. Heaven.

Peanut Butter, Banana, Granola and Honey Sandwiches
I once made these on dinner rolls for a daylong relay trail running race. They’re perfect as a workout fuel, and they’re supertasty to boot. You can also substitute apples for bananas — or use both.

Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie
Adapted slightly from Shape magazine. Serves one.
Ingredients:
1 scoop chocolate- or vanilla-flavored protein powder
1 frozen banana, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 cup plain yogurt, coconut water, milk or what have you
Ice

Mix all ingredients in a blender and enjoy.

Sesame-Peanut Noodles
These noodles make for a simple yet satisfying cold snack or side dish. Adapted from Epicurious, which says the key is not to let the noodles sit in the sauce too long.
Ingredients:
½ cup smooth peanut butter
¼ cup soy sauce
1/3 cup warm water
2 tablespoons peeled and chopped fresh ginger
1 medium garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons rice wine or red wine vinegar
1 ½ tablespoons Asian sesame oil
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
Directions:
Puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth and transfer to a large bowl.

Cook ¾ pound of spaghetti or linguine fini in boiling salted water until tender. Drain and rinse well under cold water.

Toss the noodles with the sauce, top with thinly sliced fresh scallions and cucumbers and serve.

Spicy Satay-Style Peanut Dipping Sauce

Via my colleague Grace Derocha, who uses it for satay dishes. “This makes just over 1 cup usually and I serve it with chicken tenders to dip or I will glaze chicken and grill it and then add it to a salad,” she says.
Ingredients:
½ cup natural creamy peanut butter
¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 packed tablespoon brown sugar
1½ tablespoons minced fresh ginger (or 2 tablespoons ground ginger)
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic (or 2-3 tablespoons of garlic powder)
½ teaspoon chili flakes (optional – don’t use if you don’t like spicy food)
2 teaspoons red chili paste (optional – don’t use, if you don’t like spice)
1-2 green onions, chopped as a garnish or can also be blended into sauce
Directions:
Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Chocolate-Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies
This recipes comes from fellow Healthier Michigan blogger Angela Jenkins, who says they take just 10 minutes to prepare. A serving size is two cookies at 80 calories. Makes 48 servings.
Ingredients:
½ cup graham cracker crumbs
3 cups rolled, old-fashioned oats
1½ cups sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup fat free milk
½ cup margarine
½ cup reduced-fat peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions:
In medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs and oatmeal; set aside.

In a large saucepan, stir in the sugar, cocoa, milk, and margarine over medium heat until dissolved. Bring the mix to a boil for two minutes — this is important. Remove from heat, and stir in the peanut butter and vanilla until it is well mixed. Blend in the oatmeal mixture quickly. Beat by hand until it is thickened (only a few minutes), if necessary.

Using a spoon, drop balls onto waxed paper. Refrigerate or store in another cool place until firm.

How do you like to incorporate peanut butter into your food?

Photos by Dr Stephen Dann and little blue hen

LEAVE A COMMENT

Read 3 Comments

  1. There is only one problem with peanut butter and that is one bite is never enough!
    I like the noodle dressing recipe listed and am going to give it a try. Thanks!

    1. Haha, yes, peanut butter can be addictive. My colleague Grace points out that a serving of peanut butter is 2 tablespoons — so now you know.

      Thanks for reading and good luck with the noodles!

  2. I SO love peanut butter! :o)

    But yes, as Sven mentioned, that I mentioned, 2 tablespoons is how your body reads one serving. It is so limited because there is some good nutrition, such as protein and heart healthy fat, but it is still fat, which adds to extra calories. The beauty of these recipes is you get the taste of peanut butter without a large portion! Yum! :o)

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