Seriously Delicious West African Peanut Soup

West African Peanut Soup with Rice

When I signed on to teach cooking classes to children through a non-profit organization, I had hoped to impart my culinary knowledge on these young minds and teach them valuable nutrition and cooking skills. What I didn’t expect was to become exposed to new dishes myself, one of which made such an impression that I went out and bought the ingredients to make it at home the next day.

Sweating aromatics

The recipe: West African Peanut Soup. This vegan soup is made from the curious combination of sweet potato, tomato and peanut butter, among other ingredients. I know – it sounds disgusting but let me assure that it’s delicious! Even the kids loved it!

Vegetables & liquids

And, aside from tasting great, the soup is high in protein and loaded with vegetables (sweet potato, onion, carrot, tomato). But I haven’t even gotten to my favorite part: it’s made in just one pot! Oh, how I love a one-pot-wonder.

Blending

I served the West African Peanut Soup with white rice cooked in vegetable stock and garnished it with scallions. I would have added chopped peanuts to the garnish but didn’t realize I’d run out until it was too late to buy more.

(Adapted) West African Peanut Soup (Makes six cups)

1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 onion, diced

1 teaspoon grated ginger

Dash cayenne

1 large carrot, peeled and diced

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced

3 cups vegetable broth

1 14-ounce can whole or crushed tomatoes, including juices

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup water, optional

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 scallions, green part only, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chopped peanuts

Cooked white rice (optional)

Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, for two minutes. Add the ginger and cayenne pepper and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the carrots and sweet potatoes and cook until just beginning to soften, about five minutes. Pour in the vegetable broth and tomatoes. Mix well. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the sweet potatoes are fork tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Carefully puree the hot mixture using an immersion or stand blender. Add the water to thin the soup if necessary. Stir in the peanut butter and season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with scallions, chopped peanuts and white rice. Serve hot.

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  • emster posted: 10 Dec at 11:07 pm

    That looks and sounds amazing. Can’t wait to try this one out and to hear about the class you’re teaching–that’s awesome!

  • Hungry Passport posted: 17 Dec at 2:03 am

    An even simpler rendition of this West African soup is Muamba Nsusu, and while it isn’t vegan, it’s simple and hearty and oh so tasty. Still a one-pot dish, too, with onion, chicken broth (or water, since the chicken will make the broth), chicken meat (I use dark, which doesn’t dry out), peanut butter (I use chunky), tomato paste and cayenne pepper. You can eat it as a soup or cook it down and thicken it a bit and serve it over a bed of rice. Garnish with a handful of peanuts.

    I love that it seems so exotic but that it’s made with basic ingredients that most everyone has in their kitchen. In fact, we’re working our way through a pot of muamba nsusu this week. It’s great for cold, rainy days.

    I think when you introduce dishes like this, featuring a staple of most kids’ love-it food lists, you can lure them further down the path of culinary curiosity and creativity and make cooking more accessible–and more fun–than they ever imagined.

    Good luck with the teaching, and happy holidays!

    Carol

  • Melanie Vasquez posted: 23 Sep at 7:33 am

    This is a very interesting recipe. I remember that I ate some kind of peanut soup years ago, but I’m not sure that is the same. I’ll definitely try your recipe.

    Thank you,
    Melanie


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