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A protein punch


If you’re looking for a fresh way to pack more nutritious protein into this summer’s family cookouts, consider cooking with a plant-based protein such as peanuts or peanut butter.

You may think of peanuts as a tasty and convenient snack food—and that they are—especially in a trail mix to refuel after some fun in the sun, but peanuts and peanut butter are actually part of the protein food group.

In fact, peanuts and peanut butter have more protein than any other nut and are rich in healthy oils, fiber, many important vitamins, minerals and phyto-nutrients. The latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest eating at least two servings of peanuts a week as part of a healthy diet.

Getting your weekly servings is easy when you explore the variety of ways you can cook with peanuts and peanut butter. The unique flavor of peanuts and peanut butter adds depth and fulfillment, in addition to quality nutrients.

The whole family can enjoy these cookout-friendly dishes showcasing how simple it is to create delicious meals using peanuts in everything from sides to main dishes to desserts. Find more recipes featuring protein-rich peanuts and peanut butter at

Asian Peanut Slaw

1 can (11 ounces) mandarin oranges

1/4 cup Asian sesame dressing

2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/2 cup coarsely chopped dry roasted peanuts

1 bag (16 ounces) three-color deli slaw mix

chow mein noodles

Drain juice from mandarin oranges into mixing bowl and reserve oranges.

Add dressing, peanut butter and red pepper, and whisk until well-blended. Add peanuts, oranges and coleslaw mix, and toss until thoroughly coated. Garnish with chow mein noodles before serving.

Peach Peanut Salsa


1 pound ripe firm peaches, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 medium plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped

3 ounces lightly salted dry roasted peanuts

1/3 cup chopped white onion

1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1/4 teaspoon salt

In bowl, combine peaches, tomatoes, peanuts, onion, jalapeno, lime juice, cilantro and salt. Mix well and let stand at least 30 minutes before serving.

Beef Kabobs with Peanut Sauce


2 teaspoons curry powder

2 teaspoons dark sesame oil

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 tablespoon light brown sugar, plus 2 teaspoons

1 teaspoon chili powder, divided

1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided

1 pound beef fillet, cut into 1-inch cubes

1/2 small onion, grated

1 cup coconut milk

8 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter

8 skewers

assorted vegetables (optional)

In bowl, mix curry powder, sesame oil, lime juice, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder and 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Add in beef cubes and toss to evenly coat.

Cover and leave in fridge to marinate at least 30 minutes, or as long as overnight.

Soak skewers in water.

Heat broiler or grill to medium-high heat.

Before cooking beef, mix remaining chili powder, remaining soy sauce, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, onion, coconut milk and peanut butter in saucepan. Stir sauce frequently over medium heat until simmering. Cover and remove from heat, but keep warm.

Thread beef cubes on skewers. Add your favorite vegetables to skewers prior to cooking, if desired. Broil or grill kabobs. Set broiler pan so surface of beef is 3-4 inches from heat. Broil 7-9 minutes on high heat, turning once, for medium rare to rare. If grilling, heat grill to medium-high heat and grill about 7-10 minutes. Serve with warm peanut dipping sauce.

No Bake Peanut Butter Pie


4 ounces cream cheese

1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 cup crunchy peanut butter

1/2 cup milk

8 ounces frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 prepared deep-dish graham cracker or chocolate-flavored pie crust (9 inches)

whipped topping (optional)

chocolate syrup (optional)

chopped peanuts (optional)

candy bar, chopped up (optional)

In large bowl, beat together cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar. Mix in peanut butter and milk. Beat until smooth. Fold in whipped topping.

Spoon into pie shell; cover and freeze until firm.

If desired, pipe extra whipped topping on top of pie then drizzle with chocolate syrup and top with chopped peanuts and candy bar pieces.

Peanut Power

• Peanuts are nutrient-dense and have the most protein of any nut. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an ounce of roasted peanuts provides about 8 grams of heart-healthy, cholesterol-free, plant-based protein.

• New research from Harvard shows eating peanuts daily is associated with living longer. This study showed that men and women who ate an ounce of peanuts every day reduced their risk of death from all causes by up to 20 percent.

• Research also suggests that eating peanuts and peanut butter at least twice per week could help reduce the risk of breast disease in young women.

• Peanuts and peanut butter contain bioactives, including flavonoids, phenolic acids, phytosterols and resveratrol, which are plant substances that may offer health benefits beyond vitamins and minerals.

Photo courtesy of The Peanut Institute (Peach Peanut Salsa)