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WEST AFRICAN PEANUT STEW (VEGAN)

West African Peanut Stew – Made in one pot this easy vegan soup recipe is a warm and comforting meal that’s quick and healthy. It’s well-balanced, full of vitamins and minerals and gluten-free with an option to be oil-free

top down view of a bowl with serving of rice and vegan African peanut stew.

Hello foodie friends! I’m still working my way through jars of peanut butter left over from these Peanut Butter Cookies.

This African inspired recipe has been on my to-do list for awhile so I’m happy to finally share it with you today. It’s absolutely delicious and I think you’re going to love it too!

What Is Peanut Stew?

Peanut stew is a staple food of Western Africa. The actual African name of this insanely tasty stew is “Groundnut Stew”. It’s thick, rich and flavorful with lots of spiciness – but you decide how hot you want to make it. There are numerous versions of groundnut stew recipes across Africa that vary with meats, vegetables and spices.

This is my vegan version of a quick and easy, one-pot peanut stew containing commonly used ingredients such as peanut, onion, tomato, garlic, spinach and sweet potato. I’ve also added ginger and coriander, and a good dose of heat with chili peppers since West African Peanut Stew is typically spicy. The heat pairs beautifully with the sweet potatoes!

side by side photos showing the process of sauteeing and simmering vegan west African stew.

How To Make West African Peanut Stew

Making peanut stew is super easy and requires just a few simple steps.

  • Start with prepping the produce, this is the hardest part and takes about 10 minutes max.
  • In a large pot, saute the onion, garlic, ginger, and chili peppers for 5 minutes (pictured above).
  • Add the sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spices and liquids and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are fork tender.
  • Turn off heat and stir in the peanut butter, then stir in the spinach and lemon (shown below). Soup will thicken upon standing.

Now all that’s left to do is enjoy!

side by side photos showing the process of adding spinach to west African peanut stew.

Ingredient Substitutions

  • In place of sweet potatoes, use regular potatoes, or a combo of both. Parsnips would be great here too!
  • Change up the spinach and use kale or collard greens, see notes in the recipe card.
  • If you don’t have diced tomatoes, use one 6oz. can of tomato paste, stirring in with the veggie broth. Also, you can dice up 3 fresh tomatoes.
  • Chili peppers vary in intensity as noted on the Scoville Scale. Scotch bonnet peppers are most commonly used in West African cuisine and are one of the hottest, along with Habanero. For somewhat less heat, use Cayenne or Serrano peppers. And for the least amount of spicy kick, go with Jalapeno peppers.

Adjusting For Dietary Restrictions

  • Nut Allergies: Omit the peanut butter using almond butter, cashew butter or sunbutter. Even a mix of tahini with any of these butters would be delicious! Also, skip the peanuts as garnish.
  • Oil-Free: In place of oil, use water as noted in the recipe card.

top down view of a ladle full of vegan African peanut stew in a pot.

Serving Suggestions

  • Grain: Peanut stew is wonderful served with a grain on the side like white rice (jasmine or basmati), brown rice, or this Cilantro Lime Rice would be fantastic! You may even prefer Farro or Quinoa.
  • Bread: Serve with a slice of Naan Bread to soak up and swipe the juices.

How To Store Leftovers

  • Refrigerator: Leftovers will keep for 5 – 6 days in the refrigerator, stored in a covered container.
  • Freezer: This peanut stew is freezer friendly and freezes well for up to 2 – 3 months. To freeze, let cool completely and store in freezer safe containers (affiliate link), leaving 1/2 inch head space for expansion. You can also freeze larger portions in large ziplock bags (remove as much air as possible before zip locking). Let thaw before reheating.
  • Reheat: Simply re-warm on the stovetop over low heat until warmed through. Alternatively, reheat in the microwave using 30 – 60 second intervals, stirring after each, until warm.
  • Meal prep: It makes a great meal prep for the week with homemade Naan on the side for soaking up the juices.

side angle view of a bowl with serving of rice and vegan African peanut stew.

More Easy 30-Minute Recipes

If you try this groundnut stew recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.

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WEST AFRICAN PEANUT STEW (VEGAN)

Thick, hearty and delicious this vegan West African Peanut Stew is made in one pot and ready in about 30 minutes making it a perfect weeknight meal!

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 - 6 1x
  • Category: Entree
  • Cuisine: Vegan, African

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or 1/3 cup water (for water saute)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 56 cloves garlic, minced
  • 23 tablespoons ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 12 chili peppers (jalapeno, serrano, scotch bonnet or habanero peppers), diced*
  • 23 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 can (15oz.) diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water (or combo)
  • 3/4 cup natural peanut butter (creamy or smooth)
  • 5 oz. fresh spinach, chopped if not using baby spinach**
  • 2 small lemons, juice of
  • mineral salt & pepper, to taste

To serve

  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • peanuts, crushed or whole
  • dash of hot sauce (sriracha, franks hot sauce or red pepper flakes), optional
  • grain of choice (rice, quinoa or couscous), optional

Instructions

Saute: In a large pot, heat oil or water over medium heat, add the onion, garlic, ginger, and chili peppers and saute for 5 minutes stirring frequently.

Boil and simmer: Add the sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spices and liquids, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are fork tender.

Add final ingredients: Turn off heat and stir in the peanut butter, and finish with the spinach and lemon juice. Soup will thicken upon cooling. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Serves 4 – 6

Serve in individual bowls with optional grain of choice (this cilantro lime rice would be great) and garnish with cilantro and peanuts. Soup pairs wonderfully with naan bread for soaking and dipping!

Store: Leftovers will keep for 5 days in a covered container in the refrigerator. To store longer, keep in the freezer for up to 2 months in freezer friendly containers or baggies.

Notes

*Traditional West African peanut stew is VERY spicy, adjust peppers to your taste. The order of peppers listed above are from least hot (jalapeno) to most hot (habanero). Be careful when cutting hot peppers, the oils of these peppers will stay on your fingers so don’t rub your eyes. If you don’t have peppers on hand, use up to 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of cayenne powder. Also, 1 to 2 teaspoons of crushed red peppers will work too. Use your best judgement on how much spicy heat to add. For more info on intensity of peppers: Scoville Scale

**Feel free to use kale or collard greens. If using full grown kale and collards you’ll want to remove the thick center stems and chop the remaining leafs.

In place of sweet potatoes, use regular potatoes, or a combo of both. For extra fiber, leave the skin on the potatoes, just be sure to scrub them well before dicing. Parsnips would be great here too!

If you don’t have diced tomatoes, use one 6oz. can of tomato paste, stirring in with the veggie broth.

Nut allergies: Those with peanut allergies can still make this flavorful soup using almond butter, cashew butter or sunbutter. Even a mix of tahini with any of these butters would be delicious!

RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT: For grating the ginger I love using my microplane. Also, the small holes of a box grater will work well too (affiliate links). For more of my favorite cooking tools, shop my kitchen essentials.

Nutritional information is calculated using 2 cups veggie broth. I usually prefer to dilute my veggie broth using a combo of broth and water.

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34 Comments

  1. Fantastic. Perfect just as it, plus you can change it up when you feel like adding different veggies. I love freezer friendly plant based recipes.

  2. My host mom in Mali taught me to put the peanut butter in earlier, but other than that, this recipe is remarkably close to how she made it there! My favorite Malian meal by far.

    Have you tried making this in an instant pot?

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Sooo delicious. I add orange female bell peppers to it, super yummy! Thinking about adding broccoli next time too ❤️

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Love the additions, Emma! Thanks for sharing!

  4. This was delicious!

  5. I really liked this. My non vegan family did not. I lived on it for 3 days. I had it with greens and the chickpea quiche that’s on here.

  6. Steohanie says:

    Very delicious and easy. I added a can of garbanzo beans. Next time I will add cauliflower or broccoli and maybe green beans. Thanks for his gem!

  7. Have you ever tried almond butter instead? We have a peanut allergy in our house

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Great question, Amanda! I have not tried almond butter, but it will be great too! Enjoy the soup!

      1. Yes, you can substitute any nut butter. In Uganda, it’s also mixed with simsim (sesame) paste in the east and north.

        1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

          Thanks for sharing, Amelia! We love tahini so this is great to know!

        2. None of us are vegan but we like eating healthy, so we do vegan meals pretty often. My boyfriend and meat-lover roommate loved this dish, as did I. I used habanero peppers, and think that using 2 peppers didn’t really make it that spicy (probably bc they’re smaller), so next time I think I’ll try 3-5. Also might try lime juice instead of lemon. Definitely going in my list of favorite recipes!

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