I think I had almond butter a long time ago, and I’m not sure I was even a fan. But now it’s so popular as a “healthy fat” that I thought I would give it a try. And as I am trying to eat clean(er), and I have to watch my sodium intake for my blood pressure, I purchased unsalted, no sugar added… in fact NOTHING added, almond butter! It’s straight up almonds, and that’s it.
So it sat in my fridge for a while because (1) I was scared it would taste like crap without sugar and salt, and (2) It’s 6 PointsPlus for a 2 tablespoon serving, so it’s an item you should use sparingly.
Ummm, yeah. I ended up LOVING it! I was eating spoonfuls straight out of the jar. Almonds have sort of a natural sweetness to them that I never really noticed. And then add a dab of agave nectar… Omg, seriously. love.
I then realized that I had eaten way more than I should have. I could have at least used stevia to sweeten it instead. I would have saved a few extra cals and carbs! I’m not sure I can even have this stuff in the house! I definitely needed to try to find recipes with controlled portions in it!
So the other night, after a few drinks out and a craving for dessert when I got home, I threw together this sandwich. Due to my libations, I didn’t exactly make it so healthy! But man, was it good!
I couldn’t wait to make it again! So I did the very next day, and you know this time, I actually measured the ingredients and took pictures! (Although none of the pics came out so great, but I’m trying to not worry about being a “perfect blogger!”)
So are you a little concerned with my inclusion of Parmesan in this concoction? Well, I love sweet and savory things, and well, I love cheese, and let’s remember I was a little tipsy when I threw the first one together! I literally just googled “parmesan and strawberry” to make sure I wasn’t crazy. But perhaps blue cheese or brie could work too? I’m pretty sure this would taste good without cheese too if that’s just not your thing. I also happened to have some pear baby food in the fridge from another recipe that I needed to use up, so in the sandwich it went! I’m not sure it is a necessary ingredient, but it sure did make it tasty.
Strawberry, Almond Butter & Parmesan Panini
1 tsp softened butter, divided
2 slices light whole wheat bread (I used Trader Joe’s)
1 Tbsp raw creamy unsalted almond butter (I used Trader Joe’s)
1/2 cup (83g) sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 Tbsp light agave nectar
1/2 oz Parmesan cheese, shaved
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp pear baby food or puree, no sugar added (I used Earth’s Best)
Place a grill pan on stove top. Spray with a small amount of cooking spray.
Smear 1/2 tsp butter on one slice of bread. (PS I just put the butter in the microwave for a few seconds if it’s not softened yet.)
Place slice of bread butter-side down on the grill pan. Smear almond butter on the facing up side of the bread in the pan.
Arrange strawberries evenly over the almond butter. Drizzle with agave nectar. Sprinkle Parmesan shavings and thyme over strawberries.
Smear baby food on the second slice of bread and place baby food side down on top of the cheese.
Smear the remaining 1/2 tsp of butter on the facing up side of the bread in pan.
Turn on burner to medium heat. Place a heavy cast iron skillet on top of the sandwich. Heat for a few minutes till golden brown, then remove the skillet, flip the sandwich, and place the skillet back on the sandwich. Heat for another few minutes until golden brown on that side.
(Note: If you actually have a panini press, then definitely use that! Or you can just make it like a regular grilled cheese. Or you can check out Panini Happy’s How To Make Panini Without A Panini Press.)
* Low Cholesterol
* Good source of Fiber and Vitamin C
Nutrition Information 317 calories, 17g fat, 5g sat fat, 20mg cholesterol, 410mg sodium, 41g carb, 14g fiber, 16g sugar, 15g protein (see additional cool information as calculated on Nutrition Data)
* 9 PointsPlus based on nutrition facts entered into Nutrition Data or entered into the Weight Watchers Recipe Builder
* 8 PointsPlus entered directly into the Weight Watchers Plan Manager Tracker or counting the strawberries as truly 0 (zero) PointsPlus
(The PointsPlus values were calculated by me and are not an endorsement or approval by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark.)
Weight Watchers Good Health Guidelines per serving it could include:
* 1 serving Fruits & Vegetables (if you count a 1/2 cup of strawberries as one serving)
* 1 serving Milk Products (well technically it’s almost a serving of calcium from the cheese and almond butter, so I counted it!)
Find this recipe on the Weight Watchers Online Community here so you can just plug it into your tracker!
Clean(er) Eating: This recipe is almost clean. I recently learned from a google search that the use of agave nectar is controversial these days… See #4 in Tosca Reno’s blog post about sugar. Trader Joe’s Light Whole Wheat Bread isn’t really clean either. It is whole grain, but it contains sugar and has 19 ingredients. In fact, I am not aware of any light or low calorie bread that is clean. So use some Ezekiel bread, make your own pear puree, use raw honey or stir some stevia into the almond butter instead of agave nectar, and make sure it’s all organic, and you will be UBER-CLEAN! Of course, remember any changes may affect nutrition facts and PointsPlus value! Supposedly agave nectar is sweeter than other sweeteners, so you may need more (or I might just have a super sweet tooth to begin with!), but using 1/2 tablespoon honey and Ezekiel bread comes to 10 PointsPlus in the Weight Watchers Recipe Builder.