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.
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!
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.
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
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.