>> Monday, March 1, 2010
Today's Meatless Monday post is all about nut butters. Why? Well, I have a few recipes that use nut butters that I want to share with you, and I have a nut butter giveaway going on at my other blog! Jump over to A Life Less Sweet Reviews for a chance to be one of 4 winners of a $5 coupon toward any MaraNatha Nut Butter product!
West African Peanut Soup
Sometime in the last couple of months, I saw a couple of African soup recipes with peanut butter in them. I don't know why, but the idea really resonated with me, and I just had to make a soup with peanut butter in it. My husband thought that I was slightly crazy (what else is new?), but he's also always game to try something different.
Google West African Peanut Soup, and you'll get tons of different recipes. The common denominator in these soup recipes tends to be sweet potatoes, peanut butter, and tomatoes (either in juice or whole form). Some are quite simple with few spices, and some are very complex. I pulled what appealed to me from several different recipes to make my soup.
I like this soup a lot. I loved the complex taste that all of the different spices added to the soup. The peanut butter helped to thicken the soup and also added to the complexity of the flavor without being an overpowering flavor.
I liked it, but what about everyone else? Do I even need to mention the kids? I knew going into this that they weren't going to like this soup, so I made them a pizza instead. They did dutifully try the soup, and they dutifully told me that they didn't like it. Surprisingly, my husband was only so-so on this soup. He did like it, but not as much as I thought he would. We both thought that all of the spices gave it a very Indian flavor. (Is that typical of West African food? Or did I gravitate toward the soup recipes with lots of spices because I like Indian food?) He said that he would like the soup better served over rice and with a little chicken or sauteed tofu in it. I'll give those ideas a try next time around.
(Soup recipe at the bottom of the post!)
Almond Butter Snacks
My son's school went peanut free last year. Because of that, we've started using almond butter a lot. Anything we might want to make with peanut butter to take to school, I just substitute almond butter, and because both nuts are packed with protein and good fats, I feel good sending him with some almond butter snacks.
One of my favorite almond butter snacks couldn't be easier. Take two crackers of your choice, spread a smear of almond butter on one and a smear of Nutella (a chocolate-hazelnut spread) on the other, and put them together. Voila! A very tasty and easy snack for his lunch box that can double as a dessert! This is good using regular crackers or you can play up the dessert aspect and use graham crackers.
My other favorite almond butter snack comes compliments of Fix Me A Snack - Almond Butter Balls. These little balls are filled with good stuff and absolutely addictive. I make a double batches of Almond Butter Balls at a time and freeze them. I pull them out as a high-protein morning snack and have even been known to serve a couple along with breakfast. Seriously, give these a try. SO good!
Last, a simple breakfast using whatever nut butter tickles your fancy. I'm not a big breakfast fan. If it isn't quick and easy, then I'll probably just go without. Not the best eating strategy, but there you go. One of my quick and easy breakfasts is simply to quarter a banana, top with a smear of peanut or almond butter, a smattering of raisins, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Simple. Fast. Delicious. And nothing but good stuff with some protein to boot.
On to the soup recipe, as promised...
West African Peanut Soup
2 cups chopped onions
1 tsp grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped carrot
2 cups chopped sweet potatoes
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 can coconut milk
2 bay leaves
1 TBSP sugar (optional)
1 cup peanut butter
chopped green onions and chopped cilantro for garnish
- Saute the onion in oil until translucent.
- Add the carrots, ginger, and garlic. Stir in the spices (cloves through cinnamon). Saute a couple of more minutes.
- Mix in the sweet potatoes, broth, tomatoes, coconut milk, sugar, and bay leaves. Bring the soup to a boil and simmer for 15 min or until the vegetables are tender.
- Leave chunky if preferred or use an immersion blender or a regular blender to puree the vegetables as much as desired.
- Return soup to pot. Stir in the peanut butter until smooth.
- Serve topped with chopped green onions and cilantro.
Can't get enough of nut butters? Jump to A Life Less Sweet Reviews to read why we switched to natural peanut butter and to enter to win a MaraNatha coupon worth $5!