In honor of National Peanut Butter Day, I’m sharing two of my favorite peanut butter recipes. The Mutant Ants on a Log are from the child’s birthday party menu in Party Vegan. It’s a fun and easy snack to make anytime. The Peanut Noodle Salad from Vegan on the Cheap can be made with any pasta shape you like and it can be served hot, cold, or at room temperature. The peanut sauce can also be used as a dipping sauce.
Mutant Ants on a Log
Kids of all ages love “ants on a log” and using different colored dried fruit makes the ants look like “mutants” and adds to the fun. Best of all, this is one snack that’s made with healthful ingredients — so it’s a win-win for everyone.This recipe is from Party Vegan by Robin Robertson © 2010, John Wiley and Sons.
10 to 12 celery ribs
1 cup smooth peanut butter
2 teaspoon maple syrup
1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/4 cup sweetened dried blueberries
1. Trim the ends from the celery and, using a vegetable peeler or sharp paring knife, remove a thin strip from along the back of each celery rib so they lie flat without wobbling. Set aside.
2. In a bowl, combine the peanut butter and maple syrup, stirring to blend.
3. Stuff the peanut butter mixture into the celery, spreading evenly with a knife so the peanut butter mixture is flush with the top of the celery. Gently press the blueberries and cranberries into the peanut butter. Cut the celery into 2-inch long pieces and arrange on a platter.
Serves 6 to 8
Peanut Noodle Salad
A creamy peanut sauce combines with crisp vegetables, baked tofu, and chewy noodles in this scrumptious salad that only tastes like a luxury. This recipe is from Vegan on the Cheap by Robin Robertson © 2010, John Wiley and Sons.
1 pound extra-firm tofu, well drained
1/4 cup soy sauce
8 ounces linguine or other pasta shape
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
4 green onions, minced
1 large carrot, shredded
1 red bell pepper, cut into julienne strips
3 cups broccoli florets, steamed
Easy Peanut Sauce (recipe follows)
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Oil a baking sheet and set aside.
2. Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch slabs and press well to remove any excess water. Cut the slabs into 1/2-inch cubes and toss with the soy sauce. Arrange the tofu on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
3. Cook the linguine in a pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with the sesame oil.
4. To the bowl with the noodles, add the green onions, carrot, bell pepper, and steamed broccoli. Pour on enough peanut sauce to coat and toss gently to combine. Serve topped with the reserved tofu.
Easy Peanut Sauce
This peanut sauce has great flavor and amazing versatility, whether using it as a dip for veggies or as a sauce for pasta. It’s especially good used in the Peanut Noodle Salad (above). Why pay more for bottled peanut sauce when you can make your own on the cheap with this easy recipe? This recipe is from Vegan on the Cheap by Robin Robertson © 2010, John Wiley and Sons.
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 to 2 teaspoons grated ginger (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon Asian chile paste
1. Place the peanut butter in a bowl. Stir in the soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar until incorporated. Add the oil, ginger, and chile paste and stir until smooth and well blended.
2. Taste to adjust seasonings, adding more chile paste if you prefer more heat. Add as much water as needed to reach the consistency you prefer. Use immediately or cover tightly and refrigerate until needed. Properly stored, this sauce will keep for several days.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
If your taste for peanut butter leans to the sweet side rather than the savory, you might consider making some peanut butter cookies:
or, my personal favorite, white chocolate peanut butter cups: