Get cracking! Your favorite nut may not actually be a nut at all, but it's still worth eating.

By Claire Sullivan
March 04, 2020

Even though "nut" is in their name, peanuts have a little secret—they're actually legumes. Like soybeans, lentils, and other legumes, they are edible seeds that grows in a pod. Still, most of us think of them as nuts, along with true tree nuts tree like almonds, cashews, and walnuts. Another thing to know? Peanuts are a nutrient-dense protein, fiber, and healthy fat-rich legume. We say they're worthy of so much more than merely being turned into "butter" for PB&J. Snack on them straight or pop them into one of our favorite delicious recipes.

peanuts in shell
Credit: Lennart Weibull

The Good Stuff: Peanut Nutrition

Peanuts are loaded with nutrients. They have both of the "good" kinds of fat (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) which can help improve blood cholesterol levels. A small handful of peanuts has almost nine grams of these good fats, five grams of protein, and two grams of fiber, plus power minerals like potassium and magnesium (it’s nuts, we agree). How many peanuts do you need to eat to get these benefits? Eating just two tablespoons a day will help you to reap all the benefits, but be sure they are the unsalted variety and keep the skins on for maximum fiber, says registered dietitian Brittany Linn.

And don't overlook how versatile peanuts are as an ingredient. As much as you probably adore them in cookies and pie, give these easy-to-love legumes sometime in the healthy spotlight with these three peanut-packed recipes.

West-African Peanut Stew

This energizing entrée packs in both peanuts and creamy peanut butter for extra protein. Make it vegan by using vegetable stock.

Honey-Peanut Granola with Coconut and Dried Cherries

An excellent way to start the day or a superfood snack, this granola does double duty. In addition to the peanuts, rolled oats also provide cholesterol-lowering fiber.

Spicy Pineapple-Peanut Salad

An immunity-boosting side, one cup of the fruit in this Thai-inspired dish has almost as much vitamin C as an orange.

Recipes and food styling by Greg Lofts. Prop styling by Suzie Meyers.

Comments (1)

September 6, 2020
Thanks for the peanut recipes and sorry you did not add the benefit of boiling them as a great snack. By the by, the origin of peanuts is likely South America where the Spanish recognized their food potential and spread the wealth.