Winter Stew

Winter has officially begun.  Cold days and even colder nights call for something warm in our bellies.  Although I’ve raised an eyebrow in the past with regards to the ingredients of West African Peanut Soup, I decided to put my skepticism aside this Winter and try it anyway.  That’s right-a soup with delicious ingredients like peanut butter (you can certainly sub another nut butter and get similar results), cumin and sweet potatoes made its way into our kitchen and I must say that the delicious, creamy, aromatic outcome is one we will procure in our house again!  (It’s also worth mentioning that it’s vegan with a healthy dose of kale!)

West African peanut Stew

Some of you might be mumbling, “We have peanut allergies in our house.”  No worries- the comments people made about this soup is that it is equally yummy made with another nut butter of your choice.  “That seems like a weird ingredient to add to a soup with tomatoes,” some others might say .  The thing about this soup is that it doesn’t really TASTE like peanut butter.  It just adds complexity and a richness that’s obsolete in a plain old “soup stock” recipe.  I promise you will be very surprised by the flavors happening in your stockpot!

Here’s what you’ll need:


  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1  onion, diced (any color will do)
  • 2 Cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Ginger, minced
  • 2 pounds Yams/Sweet Potatoes (about two large), chopped into 1 inch chunks (or a little larger)
  • 1/2 cup yellow split peas, rinsed and soaked over night
  • 15 oz  can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon, ground
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric, ground
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea salt (or to taste)
  • 5-6 cups Vegetable stock + extra as needed (see my post here about making your own)
  • 1/4 cup Peanut butter or other nut butter
  • 4 cups Kale, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup Green onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Roasted and salted peanuts, chopped, optional

How To Cook:

  1. Heat oil in a large pot set on medium heat.  Add the onion and sautèe until onion is translucent (about 3 minutes). Add the garlic and ginger, and continue to sautèe for another 3 minutes, until garlic is fragrant.

red onions and garlic

Add the yams, split peas, tomatoes, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne and stir.

yellow split peas

sweet potatoes

Add vegetable stock and bring mixture to a boil. If there isn’t enough broth to cover everything but at least 1 inch, add another cup of stock. When soup boils, reduce to a simmer and cook for about an hour, or until split peas are tender. Add more broth or water as it cooks if it needs it.

simmering soup

Add peanut butter and stir well. Using an immersion blender, blend soup until about half of it is purèed and the other half still has texture. The soup should appear creamy, but chunks of sweet potato should be visible.  (If you don’t have an immersion blender-I PERSONALLY JUST GOT ONE FOR CHRISTMAS-then use your blender.  Pour 2 cups of soup into blender, use on low with lid partially cracked to release steam, then work up to “high”.)

Stir in kale and let it wilt. Season to taste, adding more salt and pepper as needed.

Serve, topped with a sprinkle of green onion and crushed peanuts. (The onion really adds to the overall flavor, so I wouldn’t omit it!)

West African peanut Stew 1

This recipe was originally found HERE, with a few of my minor tweaks.  It called for red lentils rather than split peas.  I am sure it would be just as good with the lentils, and perhaps more close to the original traditional form.  However, I had a jar of split peas waiting to be used, so…there you go!  (I am fairly certain the lentils would cook faster too)

Last week we tried a new recipe for Red Curry Salmon Chowder that I am already craving again!  That post will be coming soon!

Do you have a favorite ethnic food you love to cook?






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