Sauces are power tools in your kitchen. Sauces are transformative. Sauces can turn a basic recipe into something different and delicious. Sauces can transport you around the world in just a spoonful. Here’s my latest no-cook quick sauce, made with creamy almond butter – Asian Almond Butter Sauce.
A Better Nut Butter
Creamy almond butter. Give me a spoon and I could eat an entire jar. With a mellow flavor and rich texture, it beats peanut butter in my book every time (ok, I am an almond addict).
If you are new to real nut butters, be prepared for sticker shock. They are more expensive than peanut butter. And if you are used to super sweet commercial peanut butter with added sugars or corn syrup, almond butter won’t taste as sweet. Your tastes buds will adjust.
Almond Butter versus Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a little controversial these days (but what isn’t in food?). For most of us growing up, it was a household staple. Who never had a peanut and butter jelly sandwich? Peanut butter is hard to beat in popularity and price.
But many people these days are allergic to peanuts. Another concern is possible contamination by a toxic fungus called aflatoxin, supposedly not a problem with most peanuts or peanut butter sold in the US.
Peanuts are not nuts but legumes, plants that have pods with their seeds inside, such as beans and peas. Almonds are truly nuts. The good news, there are wonderful, real nut butters available today.
Peanut butter and almond butter are similar nutritionally and both have a place in a healthy diet (unless you are allergic to peanuts).
Almond butter has more monounsaturated fat and about half the amount of saturated fat of peanut butter and offers more minerals and fiber. Both offer healthy fat and protein.
Buying Almond Butter
Choose a brand where the label reads nothing but almonds. No added sugar, salt, corn syrup, or unwanted additives or preservatives. Just. Plain. Almonds.
A Quick, No-Cook Sauce
Using creamy almond butter, I created this quick Asian-style sauce with ginger, garlic, sesame oil, rice vinegar, tamari (wheat-free soy sauce) and a little honey. It’s thick and creamy. To thin, add a little warm water and stir until smooth.
What to Do With It
Use this as a dipping sauce for grilled chicken or shrimp kabobs, thin and toss with cooked, chilled brown rice noodles and add thin raw vegetables to complete the salad for an Asian noodle salad. Try it drizzled over seared ahi tuna. Thin and toss with cabbage for an Asian slaw (recipe here). It’s a nice change spread onto a freshly grilled burger.
Thick or thinned, it’s versatile and will keep in the refrigerator for several days.
Asian Almond Butter Sauce
- 1 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 2 teaspoons low sodium tamari or soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon finely grated or pureed ginger from jar
- 1 clove finely chopped garlic
- 1-2 teaspoons honey
- Place everything in a small bowl and stir together until smooth. Use thick or thin with a little warm water.