African peanut stew is a vegan & gluten-free one pot meal. This recipe includes chickpeas for an extra punch of protein. Make a big pot of stew on Sunday for easy meals throughout the week. The flavors only get better with time.
African peanut stew is warming, cozy, and hearty. It’s one of those meals that feels healthy and satiating all at once.
Filled with sweet potatoes, chickpeas, kale, onions, garlic, and a generous dollop of peanut butter, it’s equally pantry-friendly as it is delicious.
African peanut stew is also known as groundnut stew and West African peanut soup. The addition of peanut butter gives the soup velvety, full body.
It is a budget-friendly recipe that’s easy to make on the fly, because it’s filled with inexpensive staples. For those reasons, it’s also a good one to feed a crowd.
Round it out with some brown rice or bread. And lunch or dinner is served.
Which peanut butter should I use?
Natural peanut butter is best for this recipe. When you’re looking for peanut butter for this soup, look for brands that have just one or two ingredients – peanuts and salt.
Sweet potatoes are sweet enough on their own without the added sugar you’ll find in some brands. And peanuts have enough fat without the added oils that some brands include.
I buy jarred Trader Joe’s organic peanut butter. Or you can grind your own at natural grocery stores or by using your high speed blender.
For this stew, I recommend crunchy peanut butter for extra texture. But creamy will work too.
Make it as spicy (or not) as you like
The canned fire roasted tomatoes I buy from Trader Joe’s includes chilies, which adds a nice hit of heat. If your canned tomatoes don’t include peppers but you’d like heat too, add a pinch of cayenne or sauté chopped jalapeño with the onions and garlic.
If you prefer to keep things on the mild side, buy canned fire roasted tomatoes that don’t include peppers. The rest of the ingredients are all very mild.
A great dish for meal planning
This is a great make ahead dish, because the flavors intertwine, co-mingle, and deepen. The kale won’t be quite as vibrant on subsequent days, but the flavors only improve with time.
Make this stew on a Sunday for easy weeknight meals. Leftovers will keep for about 5 days in the refrigerator. (For longer storage, see notes below on how to freeze sweet potato stew.)
How to make this stew
Start by sautéing onions and garlic with oil in a large soup pot. After a few minutes, the onions will become translucent and fragrant.
Then it’s time to add peeled and chopped sweet potatoes, paprika, coriander, cumin, and salt.
Deglaze the pot with water, Better Than Bouillon no chicken base, diced fire roasted tomatoes with juices, and crunchy natural peanut butter.
(If you’d rather, you can use vegetable broth in place of the water and bouillon.)
Peanut butter tip:
The peanut butter kind of melts into the soup. For easier dissolving, add the peanut butter by the Tablespoon into the pot. (There are four Tablespoons in ¼ cup.) Or you can set aside some of the water, and whisk the peanut butter in it before adding it to the pot.
Although, I usually just add it right from the measuring cup. Over the long cooking time, it dissolves into the stew just fine with a minimum of fuss.
Bring the stew to a simmer. Then turn the heat to low and cover with a lid. Allow the soup to cook for 20 minutes, until the sweet potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork. During the cooking time, stop occasionally to stir the soup.
Once the sweet potatoes have softened, smash some of the sweet potato pieces with the back of your spoon. It thickens the stew and gives added texture. Don’t worry about smashing all of the sweet potatoes. Some larger sweet potato pieces are good too.
Add a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas and chopped kale to the soup (with the ribs removed). Allow the soup to cook for another five minutes, so that the kale can wilt and chickpeas can warm.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with a sprinkling of cilantro and roasted peanuts.
Make it your own
There are lots of easy swaps you can do to make this soup your own.
- Instead of kale, use chopped collard greens. Collards are a little sturdier and take longer to soften. So I recommend adding them at the same time as the diced tomatoes.
- If you’re a ginger fan, add freshly zested ginger at the same time as the garlic and onions.
- Not into chickpeas? Omit them or replace with a different bean, lentils, seitan, or diced super firm tofu.
- For a richer soup, add a half cup of coconut milk or replace some of the water with coconut milk.
- This is a thick stew. If you would like it to be soupier, add more water.
- For a hotter soup, add a pinch of cayenne pepper or sauté diced jalapeño pepper with the garlic and onions.
What to serve with it?
This hearty stew is great with a dollop of basmati brown rice, crackers, or warm bread with dukkah for dipping.
Can you freeze it?
Yes! This soup holds up well in the freezer.
I like to store mine in glass Pyrex containers. Or you can put refrigerated stew into freezer bags, and let them lay flat in the freezer so that they are stackable once frozen.
African peanut stew with sweet potatoes
- 1 teaspoon organic canola oil
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 medium sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2 to 1 inch pieces (about 2 heaping cups)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups water
- 2 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon no chicken base*
- 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced fire roasted tomatoes**
- 1/4 cup crunchy natural peanut butter***
- 2 leaves curly kale roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas drained and rinsed (1 1/2 cups)
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 6 Tablespoons roasted peanuts
- Bring a large soup pot to a medium heat with organic canola oil. Add onions and garlic. Sauté a few minutes, until the onions are translucent and fragrant.
- Add sweet potatoes, paprika, coriander, cumin, and salt. Sauté a minute or two more to fully combine the spices. Add vegetable broth and two cans of diced fire roasted tomatoes, including the juices, and crunchy natural peanut butter. Stir until everything is evenly combined.
- Bring the soup to a simmer. Then turn the heat to low and cover with a lid. Cook for 20 minutes, stopping occasionally to stir.
- Once the sweet potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork, smash some of the sweet potato pieces with a spoon to break them up and add texture to the soup. Stir in the chopped kale and drained can of chickpeas. Cook for 5 minutes more, allowing the kale to
wilt and chickpeas to warm.
- Ladle soup into 6 bowls. Then garnish with chopped cilantro and peanuts.