7 Savory Peanut Butter Recipes That Will Surprise the Heck Out of You

Image credit: Ambitious Kitchen

Published on November 22, 2021

By Justine Harrington

If you’re not cooking savory dishes with peanut butter yet, you’re missing out. The rich flavor profile of peanut butter lends itself so well to creamy sauces, marinades, and dressings, and it makes for a great addition to hearty soups and stews. Aside from making certain recipes taste better, peanut butter also boasts several good-for-you benefits: peanuts are an excellent source of everything from magnesium to niacin to vitamin E. Just remember to opt for a jar of “natural” peanut butter, and check the ingredients: it should just list peanuts (or peanuts and salt). That way, you can skip the unnecessary added sugar and hydrogenated oil.

Here are our favorite peanut butter-based dinners to try tonight. (Repeat after us: It’s not just about PB&Js anymore.)

1. Easy Baked Salmon with Spicy Peanut Butter Glaze

Easy Baked Salmon With Spicy Peanut Butter Glaze

Image credit: Love and Zest

A spicy, savory, super-creamy peanut butter glaze is an unusual — but excellent — topping for baked salmon. Look for salmon that’s moist, firm, and vibrant in color. Roast a pan of Brussels sprouts or broccolini (drizzled with olive oil, flaky sea salt, and plenty of freshly-ground black pepper) at the same time as your fish, and you’ve got yourself one quick, tasty weeknight dinner staple. 

2. Crunchy Thai Salad with Peanut Dressing

Crunchy Thai Salad with Peanut Dressing

Image credit: Jessica Gavin

Salad dressing may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about incorporating peanut butter into a meal, which is why this crunchy salad recipe is such a refreshing surprise. It’s packed with healthy, delicious ingredients, all of which come together in a creamy peanut sauce.  And you can easily reduce the amount of sugar in this recipe by using ⅓ of the suggested honey. If you need a little extra protein in your life, a soft-boiled egg pairs beautifully with this salad. 

3. One-Pan Ginger Chicken Meatballs with Peanut Sauce

One Pan Ginger Chicken Meatballs With Peanut Sauce

Image credit: Ambitious Kitchen

Nothing beats a one-pan meal, especially if you’re cooking on a weeknight. Aside from being quick and easy to prepare, these ginger chicken meatballs are simply scrumptious on their own — but trust us, the peanut sauce really ramps things up a notch. This recipe makes enough sauce that you could put the leftover liquid in Tupperware and turn it into a dip for raw vegetables or fried tofu, or a marinade for other meats or roasted root vegetables. And, we love that you can make the meatballs ahead of time if you’re Sunday meal-prepping, or even flash-freeze them if you want to stock up for the future.   

4. Peanut and Kale Butternut Squash Curry

Peanut and Kale Butternut Squash Curry

Image credit: Saucy Kitchen

Plant-based, one-pot, and deeply nourishing: What’s not to love about this butternut squash curry? This veggie-heavy curry really hits the spot on cold nights, with its big, bright flavors simmered in healing coconut milk, crushed tomatoes, and peanut butter. Be sure to serve it over rice or quinoa, or with naan, to soak up those yummy juices. This is that rare meal that gets better as it sits in the fridge, so feel free to make a big batch ahead of time and nosh on it throughout the week.

5. Secret-Ingredient Vegetarian Chili

Secret-Ingredient Vegetarian Chili

Image credit: Eating Bird Food

When your next lazy Sunday rolls around, it’s time to make a big, comforting pot of chili. Foolproof and bursting with flavor, this vegetarian chili definitely benefits from its secret ingredient: peanut butter. Try making it in the slow cooker so everything has time to mingle. Since the garnishes are what take chili to the next level, don’t forget to prep some fresh cilantro, sliced avocado, scallions, limes wedges, and Greek yogurt, too. 

6. Thai Peanut Sauce Noodles with Shrimp

Thai Peanut Sauce Noodles With Shrimp

Image credit: Kroll’s Korner

We love how easily customizable this Thai shrimp recipe is. Don’t have a bell pepper on hand? Use that broccoli or zucchini that’s been lying around in your fridge. Not the biggest fan of shrimp? Sauté some tofu or chicken, or double the veggies and go meatless. Forgot to pick up stir fry noodles during your last grocery store run? Use brown rice, fettuccine, or ramen. Whatever you do, don’t skimp on the red pepper flakes — it’s what gives this sauce a nice little kick. 

7. West African-Inspired Vegetarian Peanut Soup

West African-Inspired Vegetarian Peanut Soup

Image credit: Cookie and Kate

Clean and comforting, this West African-inspired soup gets its richness from peanut butter, which gives it a distinct, sweet-savory flavor. This recipe is absolutely delicious when followed to a T, but it can also easily turn into a fridge cleanout situation by using whatever you have on hand. For instance, you could add in diced sweet potatoes or a can of chickpeas to make this more filling. Alternatively, if you want to add meat to this vegetarian dish, brown some chicken thighs and legs in a separate pot and add them in with the onion, ginger, garlic, and salt. (If you do this, we also recommend letting the soup gently simmer for an hour and a half, until the meat falls off the bone.) No matter what adjustments you make, don’t be afraid to go a little crazy with the garlic and ginger — it’s what gives this dish its oomph.

Good food brings people together.
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Good food brings people together.
So do good emails.

Good food brings people together.
So do good emails.