Don’t be deceived by the exotic-sounding name of this dish. It’s quick, easy, and many of the ingredients are already in your pantry, refrigerator, and spice cabinet. This stew is perfect for nights when you have a leftover grain hanging out in the fridge and you only half a half hour to get dinner on the table. This African Peanut Stew is whole food plant-based and full of the good stuff. It’s perfect for snuggling up with your favorite blanket, the dogs, and a 7-season Netflix series.
There are currently 56 countries on the African continent, and, as you can imagine, the cuisines of those countries are as wildly varied as the ethnicities in the United States. To lump all those cuisines together under “African” is hardly fair. However, this stew is common to several countries in West Africa, where peanuts and sweet potatoes are plentiful, including Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Gambia, and Senegal. So we’re going to go ahead and let this generalized “African” slide.
You’ll Need These Ingredients
It’s not often that cumin, cardamom, chili powder, and turmeric mix with allspice, cinnamon, and fresh ginger — at least in our Western cuisine. The combination of spices is what makes this stew so different. That being said, this recipe is very forgiving and substitution options are plentiful. You can even mess with the spice mix a bit and it will still be delicious.
For fresh produce, you’ll need one white or yellow onion, two sweet potatoes, one bell pepper, spinach, and grated fresh ginger. A red bell pepper gives this stew a pop of color, but any color bell pepper will work. If onions and peppers are not available, replace them with a frozen mixed bag of onions and peppers. Butternut squash can stand in for the sweet potatoes. I’ve never used regular potatoes, but I’m thinking it would work, although the flavor profile would change. If there is no fresh spinach at hand, baby kale or chard would work, as would frozen spinach instead of fresh.
From the pantry, you’ll need a 28 ounce can of chopped tomatoes and natural peanut butter. If you don’t have brown rice, use basmati, quinoa, or wild rice. If you have vegetable stock, use that instead of water if desired.
In West Africa, this stew is spicy hot hot hot! If you are a fan of heat, feel free to add cayenne, red pepper flakes, or even a diced jalapeno. Let me know how that goes!
How to Make African Peanut Stew
All in one pot? Yes, please! Get all your ingredients together first, and this one comes together super fast.
Chop or mince the vegetables. This is the most time-consuming part of the recipe.
Gather the spices. In a small glass bowl, combined the measured spices.
Preheat the pan. Pre-heat a large frypan or Dutch oven over medium heat.
Add the chopped vegetables. First, add the onion, bell pepper, and sweet potatoes. Water sauté for 5-6 minutes. Then add the garlic and ginger and sauté for another 3-4 minutes. If anything starts to stick, add water or stock by the tablespoon.
Add all the spices at once. Stir for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
Add the canned tomatoes. Stir to mix the tomatoes with the vegetables.
Add the water/vegetable broth. Stir to combine everything until the mixture is boiling and then turn it down to a simmer.
Add the peanut butter. Stir to combine, breaking up any peanut butter chunks to fully incorporate into the mixture.
Simmer. Bring the pot back to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer for 25 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes to ensure it’s not sticking.
Add the spinach. Stir to combine and let simmer until the spinach wilts, about 5 minutes.
Top Tips for African Peanut Stew
- Gather and prepare all your ingredients first. It will make the entire process faster.
- Chili powder is a mix of spices and several types of chile peppers, not a single pepper powder.
- If you like more heat, add cayenne pepper by the pinch at the end of the final simmer.
- If you like more spice, add more cumin or chili powder.
- If you’re in a hurry or don’t mind sweet potato peels, feel free to use sweet potatoes with the skin on — wash extra well if you don’t peel them!
- Serve this stew over brown rice, black rice, basmati, bulgur, couscous, or the grain of your choosing. I think it would also taste great over a baked potato — slight potato overload but it would be tasty and filling.
- Use natural, no oil, no salt, no sugar added peanut butter.
If you make this recipe, let me know in the comments how it went! Did you make any substitutions that would be helpful to other cooks? Let us know, and don’t forget to rate the recipe. It really helps me!Print
This African Peanut Stew is a little bit sweet, a tiny bit spicy, and 100% delicious. With sweet potatoes, onion, bell pepper and spinach, this is nutrition you can feel good about. Deliciously peanutty, kids will love this, too.
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder (or fresh is fine!)
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon allspice powder
1 large diced onion (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 medium diced bell pepper (about 1 cup diced)
2 medium peeled and chopped sweet potatoes (about 1/2 inch chop)
4 minced garlic cloves
3 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
1 28-ounce can diced tomatos
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 cups of water or vegetable broth
3 cups chopped spinach
- Gather all your ingredients together — mise en place!
- Measure and combine all the spice powders in a small bowl. Set aside
- Add the chopped onion, sweet potatoes, and bell pepper to a preheated dutch oven or large skillet over medium heat. Water sauté the mix for about 5 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic and ginger and continue with water sauté for another 3 minutes or so.
- Add all the spices at once and stir until they are fragrant — about 1 minute.
- Add the canned tomatoes and water or broth to the pan. Stir and bring to a boil and immediately turn the heat down to low to continue simmer.
- Add the peanut butter and stir to combine. Break up the peanut butter chunks until your mix is clump-free.
- Bring back to a simmer and put the lid on the put. Continue with simmer for another 25 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender but not mushy, stirring every 5 minutes or so.
- Remove the pot lid, add the spinach and simmer another 5 minutes, until the spinach wilts.
- Serve over a grain of choice!
- Category: Mains
- Cuisine: African
Keywords: peanut stew