Dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan, this African-inspired Peanut Soup is delicious, easy, and healthy! Full of protein, this soup can be served on its own or over a bowl of barley, rice, or even millet for a satisfying one-bowl meal! Though this soup comes together quickly and is made with simple ingredients, the spices add a depth of flavor that tastes anything but simple.
When we first made this soup, it reminded us of a curry. And while the spices bloomed just like a good curry, the peanut butter and tomato combination created a unique soup, unlike any other soup we’ve experienced.
The leftovers get even better as time only develops the flavors more and more. Time to get excited about leftovers!
Why is it called an Inspired African Peanut Soup?
African Peanut Soup, sometimes called Groundnut Stew, is a staple in parts of West Africa. As with most dishes around the world, each region of West Africa has its own version of this peanut soup. Many use peanuts, tomatoes, and chiles as a base. From there starchy vegetables like yams are added as well as eggplant, okra, corn, chicken, and/or beans. Often it is served over millet or rice.
Our vegan version of Peanut Stew or Soup isn’t based on any one original recipe, but rather on our understanding of Peanut or Groundnut Soups. This may not be a traditional recipe, but we feel it is a delicious soup recipe! As with all our recipes, feel free to tweak it and make it your own!
What Does African Peanut Soup Taste Like?
Peanut butter in a soup may sound foreign here in America, but it works quite well in the broth of this soup. The peanut butter thickens the soup and makes it creamy while adding a balanced savory and nutty flavor. The sweet potatoes and tomatoes add a bit of sweetness while the chile powder and spices provide just a touch of heat. The chickpeas add a nice texture to the otherwise soft ingredients.
Is African Peanut Stew Healthy?
Yes! This soup recipe is plant-based. Full of colorful vegetables and healthy fats, this recipe certainly qualifies as healthy!
How to Serve African Peanut Soup?
Serve this soup as is or enjoy it over a cooked grain like barley, millet, rice, or even quinoa. We love to top each bowl with finely chopped peanuts, fresh cilantro, and Red Pepper Flakes!
What is African Peanut Soup Made From?
Peanut butter. Be sure to use natural peanut butter made with just peanuts and salt. We enjoy the texture of crunchy peanut butter, but smooth or crunchy peanut butter will work. The recipe calls for ½ – 1 cup of peanut butter. The peanut butter makes this recipe very rich. If you’d like a lighter soup or stew, start with less peanut butter. You can always stir more peanut butter into the recipe at any point.
Oil. Any oil you like will work in this recipe. Coconut oil, grapeseed oil, or even olive oil work well. Peanut or palm oil seems to be the most traditional.
Sweet potatoes. Any kind of sweet potato will work. Be sure your sweet potatoes are cut into bite-size pieces.
Onions. This recipe calls for 1 diced onion. When you see that a recipe calls for one onion, the standard onion measurement is one cup of diced onions. Again, any kind of onion will work in this recipe.
Tomatoes. This recipe calls for both tomato paste and tomato sauce. The tomato paste is cooked in the oil with the onions and spices. This gives the soup a rich deep flavor. The tomato sauce is there for a tomato flavor, you can certainly use a few fresh tomatoes instead. Dice the fresh tomatoes fine and add them to the onions, the last few minutes of sauteing the onions.
Greens. Any kind of greens will work in this recipe. We enjoy kale. When using a green with thick stems and ribs, you’ll want to remove these stems or ribs.
Minced Dried Garlic. We use quite a bit of garlic as its strong flavors balance well with the rest of the soup. If using fresh garlic, you will need 3 cloves of garlic.
Ginger Powder. Ginger adds a nice zip to this rich soup.
Coriander Seed. Coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant. Unlike cilantro’s bold flavor, Coriander has a mellow flavor that is slightly citrusy with notes of sweetness. Blooming the spice (cooking it in oil) brings out this seed’s flavor. Ground coriander loses its flavor quickly, but it’s easy enough to grind coriander whenever you need it in a pepper or salt grinder – or simply crush the seed on a cutting board with a cast iron pan which is what we suggest for this soup.
Cumin. Cumin adds a nutty warmth with a bit of smokiness to this soup which pairs nicely with the peanuts.
Chile Powder. Our Dark Roasted Chile Powder provides a rich deep flavor. It is darker and just a bit richer than regular chile powder. More flavorful than hot, this chile powder adds a deep smoky flavor to this soup.
Garbanzo Beans. Garbanzo Beans add a nice texture and protein to this soup. Feel free to substitute lentils or any other bean for the chickpeas.
Apple Cider Vinegar. This soup is quite rich and the apple cider vinegar adds a nice acid counterpoint to that richness.
Cilantro adds a nice bright herby flavor to this soup while crushed peanuts add texture. If you’d like a bit of heat in your soup, sprinkle on Crushed Red Chile Flakes.
It is easy to make African Peanut Soup. Just a few hints to make the process go easier:
- Prepare everything ahead of time, so you won’t need to worry about chopping or measuring out an ingredient when it is time to add it.
- Bloom (or cook in oil) your tomato paste and spices. After sauteing the onions, push the onions to the edges of the pan. Splash in a touch more oil if the pan looks dry. Then add your spices and cook just until the garlic is fragrant. Then stir the spices into the onions. Push the onions to the edges again. Add the tomato paste to the center of the pan. Smear the tomato paste into the pan and keep it moving as it browns up a bit. This should take about a minute or two. Then stir the tomato paste into the onions.
- Cook just until the sweet potatoes are fork-tender. Then remove from the heat and stir in the greens.
- Add apple cider vinegar and taste for seasoning. You may want to add more vinegar and more salt.
That’s it. This recipe is pretty straightforward. With just a bit of effort and time, you’ll have a pot of delicious African Inspired Peanut Soup!
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African Inspired Vegan Peanut Soup
African Inspired Peanut Soup Recipe
In a medium soup pot over medium heat, saute onions in ¾ tablespoon of oil until onions are transparent. Stir often and turn down the heat if your onions start to brown.
When onions are translucent, push them to the edges of your soup pot. Add a remaining oil if your pot is dry. Add Minced Garlic, Ginger Powder, Coriander, Ground Cumin Seed, Dark Roasted Chile Powder, freshly ground Tellicherry Black Pepper, and ½ teaspoon Pacific Flake Sea Salt to the center of the pot. Stir into the oil and cook until you smell the garlic (about 1 minute). Stir the spices into the onions.
Push the onions to the edges of the pot again. Add the tomato paste to the center of the pan. Smear the tomato paste into the pan and keep it moving as it browns up a bit. This should take about a minute or two. Then stir the tomato paste into the onions.
Add the sweet potatoes, tomato sauce, water, peanut butter, and garbanzo beans. Stir to combine being sure to scrap up anything that has browned at the bottom or the pot.
Bring to a boil. Cover and turn heat down to low. Cook for 20 - 30 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are cooked through.
Remove from heat and stir in the greens until they are wilted.
Add apple cider vinegar. Taste for seasoning. Adjust seasoning for salt and apple cider vinegar.
Serve in bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro, crushed peanuts, and Crushed Red Chile Flakes.