Peanut Butter Gratitude

November is a time to think about blessings, and I should probably be grateful that no one in our family has a peanut allergy, because peanut butter consumption in our house is high. I’m not alone, either—peanut butter is a favorite food for many kids. It’s also a requested item for most food pantries. And with the cost of peanut butter on the rise, even more needed. Our peanut butter of choice is Skippy Natural with Honey. As the Spitfire can practically live on peanut-butter-and-honey sandwiches, this particular product saves us money–even though it’s slightly more expensive–because I no longer need to also use honey in her sandwiches—if I do, they then become “too honey-filled.” I buy it as a bulk subscription from Amazon and buy plain, natural peanut butter for cooking. And I do cook with it. Peanut butter chicken, peanut butter oatmeal…the list goes on.

One of the kids’ favorite meals is a peanut butter pasta I have been making for more than 15 years. It comes from Vegetarian Express by Nava Atlas and Lillian Kayte (a great resource for quick meals), a birthday gift from my first boss. I can make it in the time it takes to boil pasta, everyone eats it happily, and it’s highly adaptable. (Add tofu. Substitute vegetables. Spice it up or down.) It’s also a great way to introduce whole wheat pasta, since the sauce dominates the flavor.

The original, well-loved recipe

Peanut Butter Spirals with Peas

Great for: Quick family meals, pot lucks with no peanut allergies

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 8-10 minutes

Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS

10 Ounces spiral/rotini whole wheat pasta

1/2C peanut butter

3/4C water or vegetable stock

2-3T soy sauce

1-2T white-wine vinegar or rice vinegar

1T honey or rice syrup

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed

Optional: Chili oil or Tabasco

 DIRECTIONS

  1. Begin cooking the pasta
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients, except for the peas in a blender or food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until smooth
  3. When the pasta is just about done, toss the peas in to warm them, then drain and transfer them to a large serving bowl. Add the sauce and toss well.

Helpful tip: The peanut butter sauce thickens as it stands. I like it, but you may not.  If the dish sits for a while before serving, or before serving leftovers the next day, mix in more water if the thickened sauce isn’t to your liking.

What is your favorite peanut-butter-based recipe? Share it in the comments.

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