Recipes: The Nutritional Power of the Peanut

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The simple peanut is packed with nutrients. Here, 5 delicious and perfectly powerful peanut fuel-ups.

You say peanut. I say legume … that’s not how the song goes but peanut lovers are lucky that’s how this not-really-a-nut is classified. That’s because like its legume cousins, this bean of the pea family as it’s also known, is a significant source of protein, fibre, carbohydrates and micronutrients.

Peanuts pack quite the protein punch. Just 100 grams (roughly two and a half tablespoons) contain 25 grams of protein – just shy of the amount delivered from eating the same weight in steak.

And where it comes to fat, that in peanuts is 85 per cent unsaturated (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated), those considered to be healthy fats that help control cholesterol. And recent research shows that eating peanuts in moderation can help keep your heart healthy (they contain oleic acid, which has potential to reduce blood pressure). Peanuts are also low on the Glycemic index because of their fat-to-fibre balance. And tossing shells on the floor is fine but it’s another story for skins as study has shown that they are also high in fibre, not to mention antioxidants.

Peanuts are also a source of most essential minerals and vitamins. Two and a half tablespoons contain more than half our recommended daily intake of folate, a B vitamin found to reduce risk of stroke.

And, not trying to be cheeky, but it’s best to go naked when it comes to nuts, even these not-so-nuts. Roasting can damage their beneficial polyunsaturates and speed up rancidity – rancid oils have been shown to be pro-inflammatory and carcinogenic no less. It’s never to late to go raw!

Try the following recipes care of


Mexican-Style Breakfast Sandwich

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 3 minutes (without bacon)

Makes 2 sandwiches


1 tsp (5 mL) white or cider vinegar (optional)

⅓ cup (75 mL) canned black beans, drained and rinsed

2 tsp (10 mL) lime juice

Pinch each cumin and salt

3 tbsp (45 mL) coriander, coarsely chopped and divided

3 tbsp (45 mL) peanut butter

2 tbsp (30 mL) mayonnaise

1 tbsp (15 mL) canned adobo peppers in adobo sauce, chopped

2 eggs

2 whole wheat English muffins

2 slices crisp cooked bacon, broken in half (optional)

2 to 4  thin tomato slices


Bring a medium pot of water and vinegar to a simmer (vinegar helps the eggs to set). Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, use a fork to coarsely mash the beans with lime juice, cumin and salt. Stir in half the coriander. In a small bowl, stir peanut butter with mayonnaise and adobo peppers.

Crack one egg into a small ramekin or bowl. Slide egg into simmering water. Repeat with the second egg. Simmer for 3 minutes. While eggs are cooking, split and toast English muffins. Remove eggs, one at a time, using a slotted spoon. Pat dry with paper towel and set on a plate.

Spread both sides of English muffins with peanut butter mixture. Top base with bacon (if using), then tomato slices, dollops of black bean mash, egg and coriander. Finish with tops of English muffins to form 2 sandwiches.

Tip: Swap out the poached egg for a fried or scrambled egg, done to your liking, if preferred.

Per 1 sandwich (without optional bacon): 500 calories, 29 g fat (6 g saturated fat, 0.1 g trans fat, 10 g monounsaturated fat, 10 g polyunsaturated fat), 190 mg cholesterol, 19 g protein, 40 g carbohydrate, 8 g fibre, 9 g sugars, 840 mg sodium.


Peanut Butter and Apricot Oatmeal Crumble Bars

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 7 minutes

Baking time: 30 minutes

Makes 20 bars

2 cups (500 mL) dried apricots

½ cup (125 mL) water

¼ cup (60 mL) apricot or peach jam

1 cup (250 mL)  large flake oats

1 cup (250 mL)  whole wheat or all-purpose flour

⅔ cup (150 mL) brown sugar

¾ tsp (4 mL) baking powder

½ tsp (2 mL) salt

⅓ cup (75 mL) peanut butter

⅓ cup (75 mL) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

¼ cup (60 mL) peanuts, coarsely chopped


Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Line an 8- x 8-inch (2 L) baking pan with parchment paper. Place apricots and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer, cover, stirring occasionally until apricots have absorbed water, about 7 minutes. Stir in jam. Remove from heat, then purée in a food processor. It doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir oats with flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in peanut butter. Mixture should be clumpy and will not be smooth. Using your fingers, work in butter until mixture is crumbly. Place slightly more than half the mixture onto the parchment paper in the pan. Press firmly to form a single layer. Top with apricot mixture then gently spread to cover.

Toss peanuts into remaining oat mixture, keeping the crumble as best you can. Crumble evenly over apricot mixture. Bake in centre of preheated oven 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Per 1 bar: 170 calories, 7 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat, 0.1 g trans fat, 2.5 g monounsaturated fat, 1 g polyunsaturated fat), 10 mg cholesterol, 3 g protein, 24 g carbohydrate, 2 g fibre, 14 g sugars, 95 mg sodium.




Five-Spice Peanut and Pumpkin Muffins

Prep time: 15 minutes

Bake time: 22 minutes

Makes 12 muffins


2 tbsp (30 mL) large flake oats

2 tbsp (30 mL) each pumpkin seeds and coarsely chopped peanuts

2 tbsp (30 mL) brown sugar



1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour

¾ cup (175 mL) whole wheat flour

1¼ cups (300 mL) granulated sugar

1 tbsp (15 mL) baking powder

1½ tsp (7 mL) Chinese five-spice powder

½ tsp (2 mL) salt
1 cup (250 mL) unsweetened canned pumpkin

½ cup (125 mL) peanut oil or vegetable oil

⅓ cup (75 mL) water

2 eggs

1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla

⅓ cup (75 mL) peanut butter


Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Lightly grease a muffin pan. Combine oats, pumpkin seeds, peanuts and brown sugar in a small bowl; set aside.

In a large bowl, stir flours with sugar, baking powder, five-spice powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk pumpkin with oil, water, eggs and vanilla. Then whisk in peanut butter. Pour onto flour mixture and stir just until combined. Mixture will be quite thick.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin pan and sprinkle with topping. Bake for about 22 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Per 1 muffin: 320 calories, 15 g fat (3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 7 g monounsaturated fat, 4.5 g polyunsaturated fat), 30 mg cholesterol, 6 g protein, 41 g carbohydrate, 2 g fibre, 24 g sugars, 230 mg sodium.


Double Decadent Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Makes 2 servings

3 tbsp (45 mL)  unsweetened cocoa powder

3 tbsp (45 mL)  granulated sugar

2 cups (500 mL) milk or soy milk

¼ cup (60 mL) smooth peanut butter

2 oz (60 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla

Garnish (optional):

lightly sweetened whipped cream

4 mini peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped

1 tsp (5 mL) coarsely chopped peanuts


Place cocoa powder and sugar in a medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk. Set over medium heat.

Stir in peanut butter and chocolate, stirring until milk is hot and peanut butter and chocolate have melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Garnish with whipped cream. Sprinkle with peanut butter cups and chopped peanuts, if desired.

Per serving (without optional garnish): 620 calories, 35 g fat (14 g saturated fat, 0.2 g trans fat, 12 g monounsaturated fat, 4 g polyunsaturated fat), 20 mg cholesterol, 19 g protein, 56 g carbohydrate, 8 g fibre, 40 g sugars, 260 mg sodium.



Peanut Butter and Honey Chai Latte

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Makes 2 servings

3 cups (750 mL) water

10 each whole cloves and black peppercorns

5 cardamom pods

2 cinnamon sticks

5 slices fresh ginger

½ cup (125 mL) milk or soy milk

3 tbsp (45 mL) smooth peanut butter

2 tbsp (30 mL) honey or granulated sugar

3 bags black tea


Place water, spices and ginger in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer, cover, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in milk, peanut butter and honey. Simmer, stirring until peanut butter is melted, a couple of minutes. Turn off heat, add tea bags, cover and steep for 3 minutes.

Strain tea into cups through a wide slotted spoon or strainer. Discard tea bags and spices.

Per serving: 260 calories, 13 g fat (3 g saturated fat, 0.1 g trans fat, 5 g monounsaturated fat, 3 g polyunsaturated fat), 5 mg cholesterol, 8 g protein, 28 g carbohydrate, 2 g fibre, 22 g sugars, 150 mg sodium