Nut Butter – A True Kitchen Chameleon

How to Cook with Nut Butters, nut butter recipe for Asian Spring Rolls & Peanut Dipping Sauce

Robin Robertson

Guest post by Robin Robertson, author of the Nut Butter Universe vegan cookbook.

Nut butters can be true kitchen chameleons. They can be incorporated into a zesty salad dressing, a stack of fluffy pancakes, a creamy pasta sauce, or the most decadent brownies or truffles.

Nut butters can harmonize with a variety of other ingredients and be adapted to many traditional recipes.

At their most basic, nut butters can be slathered onto crackers, sliced apples, or cut celery, for easy and satisfying snacks. Paired with chili paste, nut butters can create fiery Asian sauces.

Nut butters can also be used in vegan kitchens to flavor, thicken, and replace dairy cream in traditional recipes such as vegan mac and cheese or vegan cheesecake, or to make vegan sour cream, cream cheese, or mayonnaise.

Stirred into stews and soups, nut butters unify the surrounding flavors and thicken and enrich the broth. And we all know the contribution nut butters make to sandwiches and cookies!

Whether you buy nut butters in jars or make them yourself from whole nuts, nut butters can add complexity and depth to both sweet and savory dishes, such as this recipe for Asian Spring Rolls with Spicy Dipping Sauce from my new book, Nut Butter Universe.

Asian Spring Rolls, Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

Asian Spring Rolls
Spring roll wrappers, made of fragile rice paper, are brittle when you buy them, but soften easily when soaked in water. They are available in Asian markets. Strips of baked tofu make a good addition to these spring rolls.

Ingredients:

Sauce
• 1/4 cup peanut butter
• 
2 tablespoons wheat-free tamari
• 1/4 cup water

• 1 tablespoon rice vinegar

• 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

• 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic

• 1 teaspoon natural sugar

• 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste

• 1 tablespoon minced cilantro leaves
Spring rolls
• 8 rice paper wrappers

• 8 Boston lettuce leaves or other soft leaf lettuce

• 1 1/2 cups shredded carrot
• 
1 cup fresh bean sprouts

• 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into strips
• 
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Directions:

Sauce:
1. In a small bowl or food processor, combine the peanut butter, tamari, water, vinegar, lime juice, garlic, sugar, and red pepper flakes until well blended.
2. Taste to adjust the seasonings.
3. Add more water if the sauce is too thick.
4. Set aside while you make the spring rolls, or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
5. Add minced cilantro to the sauce just prior to serving time.

Spring Rolls:
1. Dip a wrapper into a shallow bowl of warm water just long enough to soften.
2. Remove the wrapper from the water and place on a piece of plastic wrap on a flat work surface.
3. Place a lettuce leaf on top of the wrapper and arrange a small amount of the carrots, sprouts, avocado, and chopped cilantro on the bottom third of the lettuce leaf.
4. Bring the bottom edge of the wrapper over the filling and fold in the sides tightly.
5. Use your finger to spread water along the top edge and roll tightly, using the plastic wrap to help roll it up.
6. Place the roll seam side down on a serving platter.
7. Repeat with the remaining wrappers, lettuce, and filling ingredients.
8. When assembly is finished, serve the rolls with the peanut sauce for dipping.

Serves 4

From Nut Butter Universe by Robin Robertson. ©2013 Robin Robertson. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press. Photo by Lori Maffei.

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