Nut Butter Trio

Last year I borrowed a food processor a few times because I had been concerned I wouldn’t use it enough to make the storage space worth it. After the third time in as many weeks that particular hesitation seemed downright silly and I promptly put it on my Christmas wish list (thanks Mom!)

Nut Butter Trio {{Baking Bytes}}

My initial interests were hummus and pesto, which I made regularly throughout the summer and fall. Thoroughly sold on food processors, I adventured into the world of nut butters. Starting with an amazing one from my favorite cookbook, Run Fast, Eat Slow, I quickly caught the bug and tried other types as well. The recipes here are all small batches so you can test them out, but I usually double them now. (If you have extra, I am pretty sure your friends will help you out – mine always do.)

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The first one (top/right, in my photos) is a minor adaptation from the RFES cookbook. Vanilla and espresso come together in a sweet and creamy peanut butter that is perfect for your morning toast or an afternoon pick-me-up. The espresso kick means it pairs perfectly with coffee and a hint of vanilla never goes wrong. I especially liked it on banana or pumpkin bread, but found I preferred the regular version with apples.

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After peanuts I moved onto almonds (bottom/left). While I personally do not see the appeal of standard almond butter as a spread (unless you are allergic to peanuts), I do enjoy it in oatmeal and on yogurt parfaits on occasion. This iteration, however, is lovely on all your favorite morning carbs and especially so on oatmeal pancakes. Lightly sweetened and with plenty of poppyseed flavor, it’s a lovely twist on a peanut-free variety. For some springtime fun you could even add some lemon flavor via zest or infused olive oil to brighten the whole thing.

Nut Butter Trio {{Baking Bytes}}

Lastly, I gave walnuts a try (the dark one, clearly). The texture of this butter turned out a little grainier (although perhaps they just weren’t roasted/processed long enough) but the flavor is possibly my favorite. Hearty walnut balanced with a chai spice blend is a match made in fall heaven and definitely needs to grace your table soon. I make my own chai spice, but it is easily tailored to fit your preferences. I enjoyed this one on toast (obviously) and waffles; a light drizzle of maple syrup only adds to the experience.

Nut Butter Trio {{Baking Bytes}}

Whichever nut butter speaks to you the most, I hope you find a new favorite in this collection. There’s something for everyone here and I hope you use it as a starting point for all sorts of experimenting in the future. These butters would also make amazing gifts for the holiday season, a small 4oz jar of each flavor would be both adorable and delicious. (If you’re wondering about the super cute jars in my photos, they are upcycled Olivelle sea salt containers, so I’m not sure where to purchase them – sorry!)

Vanilla Espresso Peanut Butter

Modified from Run Fast, Eat Slow
Makes about 1.5 cups

Ingredients

2 cups roasted, salted peanuts

1 Tbsp brown sugar, to taste
1/2 Tbsp espresso powder
1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tbsp chia seeds, optional
avocado or olive oil, optional1

Directions

  1. Add peanuts to a food processor and process until smooth, scraping the sides as necessary. This can take several minutes but the mixture should go from grainy to clumpy to a ball and finally, to creamy.
  2. Add in sugar, espresso powder, vanilla bean powder, and vanilla extract and blend until combined.
  3. If desired, add in avocado oil (for extra creaminess) and/or chia seeds (for a protein boost) and process again until incorporated.
  4. Let cool to room temperature, then transfer to a glass jar and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Should keep at least one month.

Poppyseed Almond Butter

Makes about 1.5 cups

Ingredients

2 cups almonds2

1 tsp almond extract
2 Tbsp sugar, to taste
2-4 tsp poppyseeds, to taste
1 tsp salt

avocado or olive oil, optional1

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spread nuts on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast about 10 minutes, or until fragrant. Do not burn!
  3. Let the nuts cool for about 10 minutes, then add to a food processor and process until smooth, scraping the sides as necessary. This can take several minutes but the mixture should go from grainy to clumpy to a ball and finally, to creamy.
  4. Add extract, sugar, poppyseeds, and salt, then blend again until completely incorporated.
  5. If a smoother texture is preferred, drizzle in avocado oil to taste.
  6. Let cool to room temperature, then transfer to a glass jar and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Should keep at least one month.

Chai Walnut Butter

Makes about 1.5 cups

Ingredients

2 cups walnuts2

2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 Tbsp chai spice
1/2 Tbsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt

avocado or olive oil, optional1

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spread nuts on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast about 10 minutes, or until fragrant. Do not burn!
  3. Let the nuts cool for about 10 minutes, then add to a food processor and process until smooth, scraping the sides as necessary. This can take several minutes but the mixture should go from grainy to clumpy to a ball and finally, to creamy.
  4. Add sugar, spice blend, vanilla, and salt, then blend again until completely incorporated.
  5. If a smoother texture is preferred, drizzle in avocado oil to taste.
  6. Let cool to room temperature, then transfer to a glass jar and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Should keep at least one month.

Notes

Depending on how much fat/water is still in your nuts and how chunky you like your nut butters, you may not need any oil. I found I liked some of them (almond butter especially) with oil in it just to smooth it out, but it’s totally up to you! Also a great place to try an infused olive oil for a different punch of flavor.

You can certainly buy pre-roasted and salted nuts here, just skip the additional salt in the recipe. However, I found the ones I tried to be too heavily salted for my preferences. If you have access to roasted unsalted nuts then that’s even better!

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches & Maple Walnut Brussels Slaw

(Long post incoming, but I promise the recipes are worth it!)

Week four already! Is October going by crazy fast for anyone else? After spending the first half of month in Europe I am now in Iowa for work and boy is my body confused. Here’s hoping my sleep and my stomach get back on track soon.

This week is entree week. Pulled pork is one of my absolute favorite meals and Pinterest piqued my curiosity of substituting jackfruit for the meat. I’ve seen it multiple times over the last few years but never actually got around to trying it. This menu was the perfect opportunity to give it a shot since it nicely fits the theme and is inherently vegetarian and lactose-free.

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches {{Baking Bytes}}

I vaguely considered using fresh jackfruit until I saw the size of one and realized I didn’t want enough to feed the entire Mongol army. Feel free to go fresh if you like, or stick to canned if you want a slightly less exhausting adventure. Ensure you rinse your canned stuff thoroughly in order to remove as much of the “can” flavor as possible. I will fully admit canned jackfruit is not widely stocked nor cheap in my area, but it was definitely a fun recipe nonetheless.

Is it pork? No. Is it delicious? Yes. While it definitely won’t fool any meat eaters since the texture and flavor are both quite different, it’s still an awesome addition to your repertoire and a fun way to add a vegan option to a barbecue spread. And either way it was a perfect vessel for the most amazing barbecue sauce I’ve ever made.

Smoky Sweet BBQ Sauce {{Baking Bytes}}

Smoky, sweet, and just enough spice, this barbecue sauce is definitely my go-to recipe. My mom actually sent me this recipe like six months ago and I completely forgot about it until I was considering the menu for this series. I am so glad I finally gave it a try because I personally think my slightly adapted version is just perfect. Easy, smooth, and a perfect balance of smoke and spice without the overload of sugar store-bought varieties typically employ. It comes together in about five minutes and keeps in the fridge for quite a while, so if you try nothing else about this recipe, definitely give the sauce a go! I’ll definitely be using it on everything from burgers to meatloaf to actual pulled pork going forward.

The last piece in this delightful sandwich is the slaw. Pulled pork sandwiches are nearly always accompanied by some kind of coleslaw and I wanted to include that element here as well. Inspired by an existing Olivelle recipe of which I’ve already posted another version, this one is simple but a perfect sweet and crunchy  addition to the barbecue flavor. An equal mix of barrel aged white balsamic and their new vanilla maple olive oil blend into a light and sweet dressing that compliments the crisp sprouts and cabbage without competing with the barbecue sauce. I added some walnuts for extra crunch and that slight nutty flavor adds just a little interest to the whole experience.

Maple Walnut Brussels Sprouts Slaw {{Baking Bytes}}

Sandwiched between your favorite lightly toasted bun with a spread of (mayo), the jackfruit and slaw combine into a sweet and spicy experience that’s not only delicious, but also pretty healthy. It’s inherently vegetarian and can be easily made vegan by subbing or ditching the mayo, making it appropriate for a wide variety of diet preferences. It’s a lovely cozy fall meal but would also be awesome for those summer potlucks, so keep it handy all year long.

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches {{Baking Bytes}}

Whether you try one piece or the whole shebang, I hope you find a new go-to somewhere in the set!

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

Smoky Sweet BBQ Sauce
6oz can tomato paste
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup Smoked Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 tsp liquid smoke, optional
2 Tbsp Sweet Smoked Chili Rub
1 Tbsp Applewood Smoked Sea Salt1
15 twists Bourbon Barrel Smoked Black Peppercorns1
1/4 tsp ground chipotle or cayenne pepper, optional

Maple Walnut Brussels Sprouts Slaw
1/2 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and shredded (about 3 cups)
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

3 Tbsp Barrel Aged White Balsamic Vinegar
3 Tbsp Vanilla Maple Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Vanilla Bean Sea Salt

BBQ Jackfruit
2 Tbsp Caramelized Garlic Olive Oil
3 (14oz) cans young jackfruit in water2
2 Tbsp Sweet Smoked Chili Rub
1 cup smoky sweet barbecue sauce
3/4 cup water

for each sandwich
1 burger bun, toasted
1/2 cup bbq jackfruit
1/4 vanilla maple slaw
mayo (or your favorite vegan substitute), to taste
additional barbecue sauce, to taste

Directions

  1. For the sauce: Blend all sauce ingredients until well combined; store in a pint jar and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 6 weeks.
  2. For the slaw: In a medium bowl, mix together Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and walnuts.
  3. In a pint glass or mason jar, whisk together Barrel Aged White Balsamic, Vanilla Maple Olive Oil, and Vanilla Bean Sea Salt until completely combined.
  4. Stir dressing into Brussels mixture until well mixed. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 5 days.
  5. For the bbq sandwiches: Drain and thoroughly rinse jackfruit, then pat dry. Set aside.
  6. In a large frying pan or wok, heat the olive oil until shimmering.
  7. Stir in jackfruit and Sweet Smoked Chili Rub and toss until well coated.
  8. Stir in barbecue sauce and water, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until jackfruit is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.
  9. Spread mayo on bottom half of a toasted bun; top with 1/2 cup jackfruit, 1/4 cup slaw, and additional barbecue sauce, to taste.
  10. Cover with the other half of the bun and enjoy immediately.

Notes

You can substitute plain salt and pepper with minimal taste difference, but the smoky versions add a lovely depth of flavor.

If you prefer meat, I harbor no judgement for substituting normal pulled pork!

Jalapeño Cornbread & Strawberry Jalapeño Lime Chia Jam

Week three, commence! This week brings a super fun cornbread and jam combination that’s been in my head since Olivelle released their Jalapeño Lime Balsamic Vinegar this summer. Strawberry and jalapeño are a really fun combination and cornbread is one of my favorite side dishes. I tweaked my go-to recipe to be lactose-free, included some extra flavors, and behold: a new happiness was born.

Jalapeño Cornbread and Jam {{Baking Bytes}}

Moist and with just the right amount of crumble, this cornbread is excellent on its own or smothered in your favorite condiment. It goes wonderfully with chili or barbecue and is perfect all year round. The jalapeño adds a lovely flavor with as much (or in my case, as little) heat as you like depending on how many seeds you remove. The hint of lime is a fun surprise and ties it into the chia jam with perfection.

Jalapeño Cornbread and Jam {{Baking Bytes}}

Chia jam is something that has intrigued me for awhile but I somehow never got around to making until just now. I realized one of my hesitations was the texture, but using a berry bypasses this since fruits like strawberry and blackberry already result in a more seedy texture than stone fruits.

Strawberry Jalapeño Lime Chia Jam {{Baking Bytes}}

Frozen strawberries from Oregon (mostly to appease M) are readily available and have tons of flavor. A splash of the balsamic and a spoonful of chia seeds and in less than ten minutes you have a truly excellent jam. The fun part about this one is you could easily substitute a different balsamic for a completely different flavor. The Barrel Aged for a more standard pairing, or perhaps Sweet Basil for a fun spring edition. The world is your oyster jam!

Jalapeño Cornbread and Jam {{Baking Bytes}}

Whip up a batch of cornbread and jam and they are sure to brighten any chilly day. Individually both excellent, together these recipes create that perfect sweet and spicy combination without a ton of extra sugar.

Jalapeño Cornbread and Jam {{Baking Bytes}}

But if you want to drizzle honey on top of the whole thing, you won’t be wrong.

Strawberry Jalapeño Lime Chia Jam

Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients

1 cup frozen strawberries1
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 Tbsp Jalapeño Lime Balsamic Vinegar

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, simmer strawberries over medium until softened.
  2. Mash or puree berries to desired texture (I like mine chunky), then stir in chia and balsamic.
  3. Let cool briefly before serving; store leftovers in the fridge.

Notes

Why frozen? Unless you live in the Willamette Valley, the flavor is going to be better than fresh berries. Feel free to use fresh if you prefer though!

Jalapeño Honey Cornbread

Makes an 8×8″ baking dish

Ingredients

1 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup white flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp Lime Fresco Sea Saltoptional

2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk (cow, almond, coconut)
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup vegetable oil1
2 Tbsp honey, melted
2 Tbsp Jalapeño Lime White Balsamic Vinegar

1 jalapeño, diced (remove seeds for a milder flavor)2

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly coat an 8×8″ baking pan with nonstick spray or oil. Set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients until well combined.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together wet ingredients until well combined.
  4. Fold wet ingredients into dry until just combined, then stir in jalapeño.
  5. Pour into prepared pan and bake 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown along the edges and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
  6. Let cool briefly, then serve with jam.

Notes

1 For an extra limey flavor, substitute some or all Tahitian Lime Olive Oil.

For a legitimately spicy experience, don’t remove the seeds. I removed most of mine to keep the heat down and the flavor light.

Chive & Onion Cream Cheese

Sometimes we all need a superbly simple recipe to bring to a potluck, adorn a cheeseboard, or just brighten up our daily sandwiches a bit. This cream cheese is exactly that. It takes about 10 minutes to put together and keeps well in the fridge for at least a week, by which time I’m certain it’ll all be gone.

Chive & Onion Cream Cheese {{Baking Bytes}}

You may be wondering why you’d bother making your own chive & onion cream cheese when it’s something readily available at the grocery store, but fortunately I have two great answers for that. Admittedly this recipe was original born from the necessity of using lactose-free cream cheese, which is available at the store but only in the plain variety. One of my best friends is exceptionally lactose-intolerant and making this from scratch allowed her to enjoy it too. However, having made it I am here to tell you it’s well worth the homemade effort because not only can you customize the proportions and use up excessive chives from your garden, but pieces of fresh onion and garlic gracing the creamy goodness is far superior to most recipes that call for the powdered variety.

Chive & Onion Cream Cheese {{Baking Bytes}}

I started off this adventure on Pinterest as per usual, and nearly all of the abundant recipes used powdered or dehydrated onion and garlic. While I’m sure this is also fine, especially if it’s what you have on hand, the idea of freshly sautéed produce intrigued me and I opted to give that a try. Requiring a pan and a smidge of olive oil seemed a small price to pay for the depth of flavor and freshness received in return.

Chive & Onion Cream Cheese {{Baking Bytes}}

I am not normally one who cares for chunky spreads, preferring smooth nut butters and pureed jams, but this is definitely an exception. Creamy goodness punctuated by soft and golden bits of onion and garlic and adorned with fresh green chives is a perfect combination of flavor and color without being texturally odd.

Chive & Onion Cream Cheese {{Baking Bytes}}

Use this spread with crackers as I have here, atop bagels and toast, inside a cucumber sandwich, or to dress up a wrap. The neutral flavors go with nearly anything and I’m confident you’ll have no trouble finding delicious uses for the batch. Feeding a crowd? Might want to double it to make sure you have some leftovers for yourself.

Chive & Onion Cream Cheese

Makes about 6 oz

Ingredients

1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup minced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 Tbsp fresh chives, minced
4oz cream cheese (lactose-free if needed), room temperature

Directions

  1. If you haven’t already, set your cream cheese on the counter to soften.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering.
  3. Add onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant and onions are translucent. Add to a small bowl and allow to cool about ten minutes.
  4. Add cream cheese and chives and fold in until well combined.
  5. Store in the fridge until ready to eat, allowing cream cheese to rest on the counter about 10 minutes before serving.

Thai Peanut Zoodle Salad

A few months ago my favorite store announced a limited release of a Black Garlic Tamari Soy infused balsamic vinegar. I promptly went to the store for a taste and it quickly became one of my favorite products. The lovely umami flavor of soy paired with the tangy sweetness of balsamic and a light punch of garlic makes every mouthful interesting. I’ve used it in place of soy sauce in numerous dishes, from fried rice to scrambled eggs to this delightful Thai peanut salad I have here to share with you today.

Thai Peanut Zoodle Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

In my never-ending love affair with my spiralizer, I recently meal-prepped a super easy, healthy, and delicious salad for my weekly lunches. With very little knife work required, the vegetable prep happens quickly instead of feeling like you are standing in the kitchen chopping for nine hours. The sauce comes together even faster, made easily in a blender or food processor. Chopping some peanuts are all you have to do by hand, and I promise that takes less than a minute.

Thai Peanut Zoodle Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

Inspired in part by last year’s cashew zoodle salad, I wanted to experiment with a peanut-based version. Peanut is far and above my favorite flavor of nut, and pairing it with soy and spice is nearly always delightful. Olivelle’s introduction of this soy-like balsamic sealed the deal in working on this creation.

Thai Peanut Sauce {{Baking Bytes}}

I opted to use peanut butter powder in the sauce because the oils already add plenty of fats, but you can certainly use regular peanut butter too. (Just start with half the amount to begin with as the peanut flavor often comes through much strong.) Complemented with tangy balsamic, nutty sesame oil, a hint of sweet maple, and the heat of crushed red pepper flakes, this sauce covers nearly all the taste profiles in every delicious bite. I made mine quite thick to blend nicely with all the water zoodles tend to release, but to use as a regular salad dressing you can thin it was additional water.

Thai Peanut Zoodle Salad {{Baking Bytes}}

Crispy veggies and tangy dressing topped with crispy peanuts are a perfect summer side dish or entree. Round it out with steak, grilled chicken, or tofu, served either on top or alongside this tasty salad. As its sans lettuce this is a perfect meal prep option, and it keeps well in the fridge for up to a week with your dressing reserved in a separate container until ready to eat. It also lends itself well to additional garnishes, like mandarin orange, sesame seeds, scallions, or just a sprinkle of extra red pepper flakes.

Thai Peanut Zoodle Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 medium zucchini
2 large carrots, peeled

2 medium bell peppers
1 medium red onion
1 small red cabbage
1 large cucumber
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped
garnishes: mandarin, sesame seeds, scallion, red pepper flakes
optional: protein of choice (steak, chicken, tofu, chickpeas)

Thai Peanut Sauce
1/3 cup peanut butter powder1
1/4 cup (Toasted) sesame oil
1/4 cup water, to taste
2 Tbsp Black Garlic Tamari Balsamic Vinegar2
2 tsp maple syrup3
1/4 tsp (Roasted Garlic) salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

Directions

  1. Wash and spiralize all veggies: 5mm for zucchini, 2mm for carrot, and the flat blade for the remaining veggies. (Or chop them all, if you don’t have a spiralizer.)
  2. Combine all sauce ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Add extra red pepper flakes or water as desired, but remember the zucchini will release a lot of water and thin the sauce substantially.
  3. For meal prep: divide zucchini evenly among four 5-cup containers. Top each with 1/4th of the remaining veggies. Add 2 Tbsp chopped peanuts and 2-4 Tbsp sauce to separate small containers, and tuck them in with the veggies. Refrigerate until ready to eat, up to 1 week.
  4. To serve: layer the zucchini in a large serving dish, then top with remaining veggies. Add 1/2 cup dressing and toss until well coated. Taste and toss with additional dressing if you prefer a more generous coating.
  5. If desired, layer on protein of choice, then drizzle with a small amount of extra sauce.
  6. Top with crushed peanuts, and any other garnishes you like (mandarin orange, extra red pepper flakes, sesame seeds). Serve promptly.

Notes

You could also use regular peanut butter, but start with about 3 tablespoons and adjust after tasting.

If necessary, 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar and 1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce should be an acceptable substitute.

If you use a sweetened peanut butter, like Jif, start without syrup and adjust after tasting.