November is almost over, but I'm not going to let it slip away without giving a shout-out to National Peanut Butter Lovers Month. Peanut butter is one of those signature ingredients, like bacon, that is unmistakable whenever it appears in a dish. But for all its versatility, it is still best known for its leading role in peanut butter sandwiches.
Although I make no secret of the fact I love a good pb&j, I'm always open to new ideas for improving on the gold standard. What I've found is you can create the best peanut butter sandwiches by leaving off the "j" - as in jelly or jam – and filling that side with other choices that can elevate this classic sandwich to a whole new level.
The roasted, salty, nutty taste of peanut butter can be complimented by so many sweet and savory foods, it's really a shame to limit yourself to the same purple preserves you've eaten since childhood. And don't overlook the chance to put the two sides together in a whole new wrapper.
Keep this list in mind the next time you want to create the best peanut butter sandwich ever.
Perfect Partners for Peanut Butter:
- Crushed Fruit - Blackberries, Blueberries, Cherries, Grapes, Pomegranate Seeds, Strawberries,
- Sliced Fruit - Kiwi, Mango, Nectarine, Peach, Pear, Plum (and the usual apples and bananas)
- Dried Fruit – Diced Apricots, Chopped Dates, Crystallized Ginger Slices, Glazed Orange Peel, Shredded Coconut, Sundried Tomatoes
- Crunchy Vegetables – Sliced Red Peppers, Grated Carrots, Shredded Cabbage, Alfalfa Sprouts, Sliced Radish, Sweet (Vidalia) Onion Rings
- Meaty Matches - Fried Chicken Cutlet, Maple-cured Ham, Shredded Pork, Turkey Burger (and the usual bacon)
- Specialty Sauces - Cranberry Sauce, Honey-Mustard Barbecue Sauce, Mango Chutney, Canned Pumpkin
New Ways to Spread It Around:
- Breakfast Staples - Toaster Waffles, English Muffins, Bagels, Raisin Bread, Challah, Potato Rolls
- Pantry Staples - Graham Crackers, Flatbreads, Rice Crackers, Nut Crisps, Popcorn Cakes, Ginger Snaps, Vanilla Wafers
- Specialty Breads – Ready-Made Pizza Crusts, Pita Pockets, Slider Rolls, Hot Dog Buns, Flour Tortillas, Thin Breads