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3 Ingredient Peanut Sauce

by Ethan Anderson
3 Ingredient Peanut Sauce

It barely takes a few minutes, a trio of ingredients, and zero culinary prowess to whip up a batch of this 3 ingredient peanut sauce. Yes, that’s right! If you’ve been overcomplicating flavor in your kitchen or simply hunting for an effortless yet delectable companion for your stir-fries, salads, or satays, this minimalist peanut sauce recipe might just be what you’ve been missing.

How to make 3 ingredient peanut sauce

A simple 3 ingredient peanut sauce typically consists of peanut butter, soy sauce (or tamari for a gluten-free option), and a sweetener like honey or maple syrup.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of smooth or crunchy natural peanut butter: Choose an all-natural peanut butter that doesn’t contain added sugars or vegetable oils, as these can alter the taste and consistency of your sauce. Whether you go for smooth or crunchy depends on the texture you prefer in your sauce.
  • 2 tablespoons of low-sodium soy sauce: This will balance the sweetness of the peanut butter and add a savory depth to the sauce. If you’re following a gluten-free diet, use tamari sauce instead.
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice: Fresh lime juice is preferable for its zesty and bright flavor, but you can also use bottled lime juice in a pinch.

Instructions

  1. Combine the Ingredients: In a medium-sized bowl, start by adding the peanut butter. Then pour in the soy sauce and the lime juice.
  2. Whisk Together: Using a fork or a small whisk, stir the ingredients together until fully combined. Initially, the peanut butter will resist blending, but keep mixing; it will eventually create a smooth sauce.
  3. Adjust Consistency: If the sauce is too thick for your liking, add a little water, starting with a tablespoon at a time. Depending on your intended use, this will help the sauce become more pourable or drizzle-friendly.
  4. Taste and Tweak: Mix and adjust your peanut sauce to your preferred taste. If it needs more tang, add lime juice. For more umami or saltiness, add a touch more soy sauce.
  5. Serve or Store: Use the sauce immediately, or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Tips

  • Add a dash of ground ginger or a bit of sriracha or chili garlic sauce to the mixture for a spicier kick. Start with a small amount and adjust according to your spice tolerance.
  • If you use unsalted peanut butter, you might need a pinch of salt to bring out the flavors.
  • Warming the peanut butter slightly can help make blending with the other ingredients easier, especially if your peanut butter is stored in the refrigerator.
  • To use this sauce as a salad dressing, thin it out with a little more water to achieve a pourable consistency that will easily coat your greens.
  • Add a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup for a sweet and savory variation. This will deviate from the three-ingredient simplicity, but it’s a nice addition if you’re feeling adventurous.
  • Garnish your finished dish with a sprinkle of chopped peanuts or a handful of fresh, chopped cilantro for an extra touch of flavor and presentation.

What to serve with

This rich and robust three-ingredient peanut sauce is incredibly versatile and can be served with many dishes. Here are some pairing ideas to inspire your meal planning:

For Appetizers:

  • Spring Rolls: Drizzle or dip fresh or fried spring rolls in the peanut sauce for a burst of flavor.
  • Chicken Satay: An iconic pairing, skewered and grilled chicken satay and peanut sauce is a match made in heaven.
  • Vegetable Crudité: A platter of raw veggies like bell peppers, carrots, and cucumbers becomes a hit when this savory dip is on the side.
  • Dumplings: Dip steamed or pan-fried dumplings into this sauce for a tasty treat.

Main Courses:

  • Noodles: Toss it with warm noodles such as ramen, soba, or udon. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds for an easy and delightful meal.
  • Rice Bowls: Drizzle it over steamed rice, topped with proteins like tofu, chicken, or shrimp and a mix of sautéed vegetables.
  • Stir-Fry: Enhance your stir-fry dishes by adding a spoonful of peanut sauce towards the end of cooking for a creamy finish.
  • Burgers or Wraps: Spread it as a condiment for a Thai-inspired burger or use it as a flavorful sauce in wraps and sandwiches.

Side Dishes:

  • Salads: Peanut sauce makes an excellent dressing. Pour it over a salad of mixed greens, shredded cabbage, carrots, and cucumbers for a Thai salad experience.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Drizzle peanut sauce over roasted vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, or sweet potatoes for an extra layer of flavor.
  • Slaw: Toss a simple slaw of green cabbage and carrots with this peanut sauce for a creamy and crunchy side dish.

Snacks:

  • Protein Power Bowls: A peanut sauce can tie together a bowl with quinoa, chickpeas, avocado, and mixed greens.
  • Edamame: Use it as a dip for boiled or steamed edamame for a protein-packed snack.

Grilled Foods:

  • Kebabs: Brush the sauce on grilled kebabs of meat and veggies just before they’re done.
  • Grilled Corn: A coating on grilled corn on the cob adds a nutty dimension to a classic favorite.
  • Fish: Grilled or baked fish like salmon or tilapia can be topped with peanut sauce for a creamy, rich counterpart to the fish’s light flavor.

International Fusion:

  • Tacos: Incorporate peanut sauce in Asian-fusion tacos with ingredients like teriyaki chicken, slaw, and pickled vegetables.
  • Pizza: Spread a thin layer of peanut sauce on a pizza base for a Thai-inspired pizza, topped with mozzarella, chicken, and cilantro.
  • African Cuisine: It complements West African dishes that traditionally include peanuts, such as groundnut stew.

Ingredients substitutes

The beauty of a 3 ingredient peanut sauce is its simplicity, but even within those constraints, there’s room for customization based on dietary needs, allergies, or just personal taste preferences. Here are substitute suggestions for each ingredient to help you tweak the recipe to your liking.

Peanut Butter Substitutes

  • Almond Butter offers a slightly sweeter, more nuanced flavor and is a great option for those with peanut allergies.
  • Tahini (Sesame Seed Paste) is an excellent choice for a nut-free version. It has a more bitter profile compared to peanut butter, though, so you might want to add a sweetener to balance it.
  • Sunflower Seed Butter is another nut-free option with a creamy texture similar to peanut butter.
  • Cashew Butter can be used for a creamier and richer taste, though it’s generally sweeter and thicker than peanut butter.

Soy Sauce Substitutes

  • Tamari is a gluten-free option that tastes very similar to soy sauce and can be used in a 1:1 ratio.
  • Coconut Aminos offer a soy-free and gluten-free alternative with a sweeter edge and far less sodium, though you may need to adjust quantities to taste.
  • Fish Sauce can add a deeper umami flavor, although it’s much stronger than soy sauce. Start with half the amount and adjust to taste.

Lime Juice Substitutes

  • Lemon Juice is the closest substitute and offers a similar acidic profile. The flavor is a bit different but still bright and fresh.
  • If citrus is not an option, Rice Vinegar could be used for a milder tang. It’s less acidic but can complement the soy sauce well.
  • Tamarind Paste diluted in water can offer a unique sourness that pairs beautifully with peanut sauce, though it introduces a more complex, tart flavor.

Final Thoughts

With these simple instructions and handy tips, you’re all set to create a versatile, mouth-watering 3 ingredient peanut sauce that’s perfect for a myriad of dishes. Enjoy the process and the flavors you’ll bring to the table with this straightforward yet utterly satisfying recipe!

More Sauce Recipes:

3 Ingredient Peanut Sauce

3 Ingredient Peanut Sauce

Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 43 calories 3.6 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of smooth or crunchy natural peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons of low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice

Instructions

  1. Combine the Ingredients: In a medium-sized bowl, start by adding the peanut butter. Then pour in the soy sauce and the lime juice.
  2. Whisk Together: Using a fork or a small whisk, stir the ingredients together until fully combined. Initially, the peanut butter will resist blending, but keep mixing; it will eventually create a smooth sauce.
  3. Adjust Consistency: If the sauce is too thick for your liking, add a little water, starting with a tablespoon at a time. Depending on your intended use, this will help the sauce become more pourable or drizzle-friendly.
  4. Taste and Tweak: Mix and adjust your peanut sauce to your preferred taste. If it needs more tang, add lime juice. For more umami or saltiness, add a touch more soy sauce.
  5. Serve or Store: Use the sauce immediately, or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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