For Simple, Healthy Recipes for Home Cooking the Peanut Institute Shares Ideas for Pantry Items as Base for Tasty, Nutritious Meals
Today, more than ever, it’s important for adults, children and seniors to focus on healthy eating and healthy habits. To provide simple, tasty and nutritious mealtime ideas, The Peanut Institute has curated a collection of recipes that include a number of pantry staples.
Nutrition scientist Dr. Samara Sterling recommends building meals around foods that help support a strong immune system.
“Whole grains, nuts, beans, fruits and vegetables are nutrient dense so finding ways to integrate them into a daily diet is important,” says Sterling. “They are also versatile ingredients that can be used in a variety of recipes or to round out a meal.”
To boost whole grain consumption, Sterling suggests whole grain breads and pastas, as well as oats.
Overnight Apple Peanut Butter Oatmeal
Wake up to the enticing smell of nutty oatmeal! This oatmeal can be reheated in the microwave the next day; you may need to thin it with a little water or milk. Serves 4
1 cup steel cut oats
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut
into 1/2-inch pieces
- Coat the inside of a 5-6 quart slow cooking with cooking spray.
- Combine the oats, sugar, extract, cinnamon, salt and 3 1/4 cups water in the slow cooker. Add the peanut butter and whisk to incorporate. Stir in the apples, cover and cook on low heat 8 hours.
- Incorporate the somewhat crusty oatmeal stuck to the sides and bottom by stirring for 2-3 minutes. Serve warm.
“Oats are a good source of fiber and protein. Plus, they are rich in thiamin, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, selenium and iron,” says Sterling. “They’re a wholesome ingredient for an oatmeal breakfast or can be used as the base for a healthy granola mix. To up your nutrient intake even more, add peanuts and dried fruit to the mix.”
Peanuts and peanut butter are another nutritional staple since they’re packed with nutrients and can be incorporated into either sweet or savory dishes.
Peanuts are known as a superfood because they deliver significant nutritional value in a small amount. Just one serving packs seven grams of protein, 19 vitamins and minerals, fiber and heart-healthy fats. One serving of peanuts is an ounce or approximately 35 peanuts and a serving of peanut butter is two tablespoons.
Dried or canned beans, such as lentils, chickpeas or kidney beans, also deliver protein and fiber.
Plus, since peanuts and beans are high in fiber and protein and low in fat, they’re a healthy substitute for meat. They can be made into a hearty and filling side dish, salad or soup to create a meal that’s full of protein and fiber, which will help you feel full longer and avoid the urge to snack.
While intentional, healthy snacking is fine, Sterling warns against the unhealthy habit of mindless eating.
“When reaching for something in between meals, think about the motivation for eating,” advises Sterling. “Is having a snack in response to hunger? Or, is it related to stress, anxiety or boredom? Pausing for a moment before snacking is a good way to evaluate whether it’s actually your body that’s looking for something to eat or if it’s your emotions that are driving your urge.”
Peanutty Zucchini Muffins
Don’t let on that these delicious muffins are packed with nutrients!
Shred the zucchini with the grating attachment of the food processor or on the largest holes of a box grater.
Peanut flour is available for purchase online at The American Peanut Shellers Association.
2 large eggs
1 (6-ounce) container fat free plain
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons peanut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 medium zucchini, 12 ounces, trimmed
and shredded, 3 cups
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup light peanut flour (28%)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup golden raisins
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line 12 muffin cups with muffin liners.
- Whisk together the eggs, yogurt, sugar, oil and extract in a large bowl. Stir in the zucchini. Combine the all-purpose flour, peanut flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture until just moist. Stir in the raisins.
- Spoon the batter into the lined muffin cups and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean, 18-20 minutes. Cool muffins in the pan 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Serves 12
Fruits and vegetables are another key ingredient for optimal health; and it’s important to remember they’re available fresh, frozen and canned.
Sterling says it’s vital to eat a variety of types and colors of produce in order to get a mix of different nutrients. No single fruit or vegetable provides all of the nutrients a body needs.
Shrimp Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce
This beautiful, elegant dish—a mainstay in Vietnamese cuisine– is quite simple to make, once you’ve made a practice roll or two. Make it for a quick, clean-eating lunch, or serve half a roll as an appetizer at your next gathering. Serves 4 (2 rolls per person)
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts,
1 teaspoon sriracha
16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined,
about 3/4 pound
3 ounces thin rice stick noodles
8 rice paper spring roll wrappers
24 mint leaves
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into long
1 large cucumber, peeled, halved
lengthwise, seeded and cut into long
1 large carrot, cut into long thin strips
- Combine the vinegar, sugar, peanuts and sriracha in a bowl; stir to dissolve the sugar.
- Bring a medium pot of water to boil; add the shrimp and cook until opaque and just cooked through, 3 minutes. Transfer to a colander with a slotted spoon and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Cut the shrimp in half lengthwise and set aside.
- Return the water to a boil; add the noodles and cook according to package directions; drain, rinse under cold water and drain again.
- Fill a large bowl with warm water. Soak 1 spring roll wrapper in the water until pliable, about 30 seconds; transfer to a work surface and pat dry with paper towel. Place 4 shrimp halves, cut side up, in a row across the center of the wrapper; top each with a mint leaf. Top with about 1/8 of the noodles, bell pepper, cucumber and carrot strips. Fold the sides of the wrapper facing the short ends of the filling in over the food, and roll the long end over the filling jelly roll style. Transfer to a plate, cover with damp paper towels and repeat with remaining ingredients.
- To serve, cut each roll in half and accompany with the dipping sauce.
“A smoothie for breakfast is a great way to fit a serving, or more, of fruits or vegetables into the day,” adds Sterling.
For breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and snack recipes that incorporate peanuts, peanut butter, and other pantry staples, visit peanutinstitute.com.