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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 Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies.

This African-inspired recipe has been on my to-do list for a while, so I’m happy to finally share it with you today. It’s absolutely delicious, and I think you’ll 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 many 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 peanuts, 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 the heat and stir in the peanut butter, then stir in the spinach and lemon (shown below). The 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 it in with the veggie broth. You can also dice up three 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 and use 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 can be stored for 5 – 6 days in the refrigerator 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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5 from 31 reviews

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


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


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.


*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).

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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  1. I would love to make this for my grandmother but she can not have tomatoes. Do you think this recipe would turn out alright if the tomato was omitted?

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Great question, Steph! I have not made this without tomatoes, but I think it will still taste great without them. Give it a try! Enjoy :)

      Edit: You can also try adding 1 red bell pepper, cored and diced, in place of the tomato.

  2. Bree in Germany says:

    I followed the recipe exactly* and I was blown away by how flavorful it was. I found it so simple to prepare. There are so many bloggers out there who make things unnecessarily complicated. Thank you for this simple and delicious dinnertime treat!
    (*I did also add a quarter teaspoon of MSG at the end because it makes everything taste just a little bit more)

  3. I just wanted to say that all of your recipes, especially your soups, are delicious. They are easy and customizable, and I use your recipes all the time. Thanks so much for always helping me cook some wonderful meals :)

  4. This recipe is FANTASTIC! The best. It’s a keeper. I added equal parts cumin as well as coriander. I recommend freshly ground. It enhances the flavour.
    I also added green banana. Next time, some yellow yam will be thrown in the pot.

  5. I made this recipe last month and my family adored it and asked me to make it again tonight, so I did! Fantastic balance of flavors, pretty much swoonworthy. Both times, I used the collard greens instead of the spinach, and also added some string beans. I also want to try adding chickpeas for protein as one reviewer suggested. This is really a gourmet recipe. I’m vegetarian but trying to add more vegan meals into my diet. This one is a keeper! I want to mention that I sprinkled the stew lightly with berbere and black lime. If you happen to have either or both of these, I think they make a nice finish!

  6. I made it with a combo of red potatos and sweet potatos and added some carrots and bell peppers for some extra veggies!
    It was delicious even my mom loved it!

  7. What a fun and delicious recipe! I have never had West African food (or any kind of African food), but I am an adventurous eater and wanted to try it/had all the ingredients already at home! I also added some green beans and chickpeas because I only had 3 sweet potatoes. Next time I will definitely bump up the spice level because I got a little timid. The peanut butter does a great job of cutting the spice, so if you’re a fan of heat, I’d just go for it!! Thank you for the intro to West African cooking & so happy to have stumbled across your recipe.

  8. I am West-African, Ghanaian to be exact and this meal the bomb! I added chickpeas for more protein and I asked my husband, “on a scale of 1 to 10 how much do you give this meal?” And he yelled “a 14!”.

    The next time I will add a scotch bonnet and maybe use a bit of palm oil because that is the oil we use in Ghana.

    God bless you.

    1. I can’t wait to try this stew. A friend of mine visits from Ghana every couple of years and I always ask him to make this delicious peanut stew. Thank you so much for the recipe.

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