National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day
Did you know that today, March 1st, is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day? As a peanut butter lover myself, I’m feeling pretty special to have a day that honors me and my devotion to one of my all-time favorite foods. It’s hard to imagine an American pantry that has never seen a jar (or two….or a thousand!) of this nutritious and versatile staple. Whether velvety smooth and creamy or the more sophisticated crunchy, people love peanut butter. The iconic peanut butter and jelly sandwich has been a school lunchbox staple for decades. I still love a pb&j, but now that I’m “grown”, I prefer my bread toasted and the peanut butter side of the sandwich drizzled with spicy sriracha sauce. Classic with a kick!
Peanut butter does not have to stay between two slices of bread, nor does it always have to be paired with its old pal jelly. Smeared on a celery stick, dolloped into a smoothie, or as the star of a mile high peanut butter pie, there are many ways to incorporate and enjoy peanut butter in recipes both sweet and savory. THAI-STYLE CHOPPED SALAD with CREAMY THAI PEANUT DRESSING uses peanut butter in a sweet and tangy dressing with just enough spice to make it crave able. When poured over a rainbow of chopped raw veggies, the ingredient that you have known forever, the ground up goober, the p and the b in a pb&j will retain its permanent place on your pantry shelf.
THAI-STYLE CHOPPED SALAD with CREAMY THAI PEANUT DRESSING
Serves 4 - 6
FOR THE DRESSING:
¼ cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
¼ cup water
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons vinegar (apple cider vinegar, rice wine vinegar, etc.)
1-1/2 to 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 Tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil
1 Tablespoon honey or agave or brown sugar (more if peanut butter is unsweetened)
1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced or grated
½ to 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, finely minced or grated
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce, if desired (more or less according to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste
FOR THE SALAD:
3 cups shredded cabbage (white, purple or a mix)
1 cup shredded kale
1 cup broccoli stems, shredded or cut into julienne
1-2 carrots, shredded
3 stalks celery,
2 bell peppers, cut into julienne (red, yellow, orange or a mix)
3-4 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 jalapeno or fresno chili pepper, finely minced (if desired)
¼ cup chopped cilantro or chopped mint
½ cup chopped peanuts (or cashews)
1-2 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
Make the dressing by blending all ingredients in a blender or food processor. May be made ahead and refrigerated until needed. Dressing can be refrigerated for up to a week.
Assemble the salad by combining the cabbage, kale, broccoli stems, carrot, bell peppers, chili pepper (if using), half the green onion and half the chopped cilantro or mint in a large bowl. Pour ½ cup of the CREAMY THAI PEANUT DRESSING over all and toss thoroughly. More or less dressing may be added to taste. Sprinkle remaining green onion, cilantro or mint, chopped nuts and sesame seeds over the top to garnish. Serve chilled.
For a more substantial entrée version of the salad, add chick peas or edamame. Plain cooked pasta may also be added.