MountainStar Health - November 20, 2019

Peanut butter may be the classic nutty spread, but almonds, cashews, pistachios and walnuts are now giving peanuts some healthy competition. With so many choices, you may wonder how to use nut butters besides slathering them on sandwiches. Start with these scrumptious and simple ideas.

Whip up a vinaigrette. Keep it super simple by whisking together equal parts nut butter, balsamic vinegar and water. This tasty dressing could become your new salad staple.

Add to a stir-fry. Whisk nut butter with a little hot water, then add a splash of soy sauce, sesame oil and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Toss with noodles, chopped veggies and your choice of protein. Voila! Chinese takeout is served, no tipping required.

Thicken soups and stews. Swirl a spoonful of cashew, peanut, walnut or almond butter into soups or stews as a thickener. Experiment with hearty chili, pumpkin or butternut squash soup, or make a traditional African peanut stew.

Make a dipping sauce. Bored with hummus? Try combining pistachio, peanut or almond butter with a little water and Sriracha to make a dipping sauce for veggies, pretzels or oven-baked sweet potato fries.

Feed your sweet tooth. Use in cookies, cakes, candy bars and custards to win friends and influence people.

Boost breakfast Add a spoonful of your favorite nut butter to a smoothie or a bowl of oatmeal for added protein and creaminess. Talk about a stick-to-your ribs breakfast.