I admit it: I stalked skeptically around the concept of this West African peanut soup for several weeks before finally taking a deep breath and diving in.
Peanut butter? In soup?
I love nut butters as much as the next girl, but, honestly. Peanut butter … and tomatoes. My culinary senses were reeling.
A staple in many African countries, West African peanut soup, or groundnut stew, features simple, familiar ingredients in inspired combinations. I tempered my trepidation of peanut butter in soup by replacing half with almond butter. (I know, that makes absolutely no sense, the two being so similar. And I’m not sure it made a difference in the final product, but I felt better about it.)
I felt better about it, especially after I learned first-hand how addictive West African soup is. Addictive. Especially with a good dose of sriracha for seasoning. (Cayenne is more traditional, but I can’t resist sneaking in sriracha whenever and wherever.) Often made with chicken, I prepared it vegetarian (vegan, actually, and gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free to boot).
My only regret is that I waited so long to try West African peanut soup — it’s a deeply comforting soup that would’ve brightened the cold, dreary winter.
That won’t stop me from serving it over and over this spring, though.
West African Peanut SoupShare via Text
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 medium red onion diced
- 1 sweet potato sliced into small dices
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup natural almond butter or use all peanut butter
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
- 3 to 4 collard green leaves stems removed, sliced into narrow strips
- 1 to 3 tablespoons sriracha sauce
- 1 scallion sliced, for garnish
- chopped peanuts or slivered almonds for garnish
- Heat the oil in a 4 or 5 quart Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat until shimmering. Saute the onions and sweet potatoes until the potatoes are golden with brown edges, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a minute or two, until fragrant. Stir in the tomato paste and mix thoroughly with the vegetables. Add the crushed tomatoes and vegetable broth. Increase heat to medium-high and let the soup come to a gentle boil.
- Spoon the nut butters into heat-proof bowl. Ladle 1 cup of the hot soup into the bowl and stir, gently at first, until the liquid combines with the nut butters, then with more vigor, until the mixture is very smooth and loose.
- Pour the nut butter mixture into the soup, and add the collard greens and sriracha sauce (1 tablespoon for gentle heat; 3 tablespoons for a more assertive heat). Reduce heat to medium-low, and allow the soup to simmer for 15 minutes.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish generously with the scallions and nuts.
Wednesday 18th of January 2023
I have been making this soup for several years now. I use chicken broth, all peanut butter and spinach instead of collard greens—otherwise I follow the recipe as written. It freezes well. Nice recipe!
Wednesday 9th of October 2019
Hi, I'm looking for the peanut soup that I used to make - too many years ago -from the Moosewood cookbook. I can't find my recipe but remember it was one of the most sublime soups.
Jane on Whidbey
Friday 24th of June 2016
My friend who worked for the Peace Corp in Kenya for many years learned to make this soup there, and she makes it for me every time I go to visit. She doesn't use the Sriracha, of course, but otherwise, it's very similar. Thanks, because now I don't have to write it out.
By the way, since you love soup as much as I do, you'd probably love having an electric pressure cooker. I cook at least 50% of my food in it now, and it has saved me so much time, money, and wasted food that I forgot on the stove and burned. I have a 6qt. pot, and i make steel-cut oats nearly every day without having to dirty a pan or stir while cooking and worry about sticking. I soak beans overnight, and then cook them in less than 30 minutes. I hard cook my eggs, make custard, rice, quinoa, barley, beets, in a fraction of the time, and it's so easy to clean up. I live in a tiny house on wheels, and this has saved me a lot of worry about excess moisture and mold, and space, too. I use a butane stove for eggs, frying, stir-fry, etc., but I try to make all my soups and veggies in the epc. It saves on power, and turns off automatically, or keeps food warm, and can be set ahead to cook in time for our arrival home. Look into it. I don't know how I lived without it.
Carol @ Wild Goose Tea
Wednesday 5th of February 2014
OMG I putting a star on my calendar that I found this site. I love love soup. The little restaurant where I often have take out soup makes a variety of African Peanut soup. Yep it does sound weird, but oh brother is it good. Thank you for the recipe.
Saturday 4th of January 2014
Looks amazing! Will definitely try. I grew up in Thailand. Have you ever tried rice soup with chicken and fresh coriander?