Inspired by a West African dish known as maafe, this Vegan Peanut Stew is jam packed with flavor and is deeply satisfying. Creamy peanut butter acts to unify tomatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, and hearty greens with a delightfully ginger and garlic-forward spice mix that'll tickle your palate.
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Peanut butter, tomato and sweet potato may sound like a strange pairing. While this seemingly incongruous grouping of ingredients may have you scratching your head, I promise that every single element makes a ton of sense in this flavorful vegan stew.
The aromatic trio of onion, ginger, and garlic meld seamlessly with acidic tomatoes and warming spices. Tomato paste amps up the umami factor, while sweet potatoes lend a gentle sweetness.
Hearty kale offers a boost of nutrition and color, while beans bring extra protein and starch. But the real star ingredient here is peanut butter, which unifies everything into a seamlessly delectable bowl of goodness.
Creamy, salty, sweet, spicy and bright, this West African-inspired Vegan Peanut Stew hits every single flavor note. I can basically guarantee that you'll fall in love with this simple, crave-able meal and will put it on repeat in your dinner rotation.
Recommended Ingredients & Equipment
One thing that I absolutely love about this delicious vegan stew recipe is how accessible the ingredients are. You can find all of the elements at any basic well stocked grocery store!
Here's everything you'll need.
- Rice - I opted to use long grain white rice here, but you can choose to use any variety of white or brown rice that you like. Just note that brown rice will take about twice as long to cook.
- Onion - I opted to use pungent white onion for this recipe, but you can easily swap in milder red or yellow onions instead.
- Garlic - I highly recommend you opt for fresh garlic in this recipe for best the best flavor.
- Ginger - You should also opt for fresh ginger here. Check out this awesome tip for peeling ginger with a spoon!
- Sweet Potato - Orange, white or purple varieties will all work for peanut stew. You can also swap in yams, though you will definitely need to peel their fibrous skin first.
- Smooth Peanut Butter - Where possible, I suggest opting for all natural peanut butter where the only ingredients are peanuts and salt. That said, any creamy variety will work here.
- Kidney Beans - This is an optional (and non-traditional) ingredient that I add for extra protein and heartiness. Feel free to swap in your bean of choice, or omit them if you prefer. Canned beans are a real-time saver here.
- Kale - Feel free to use any dark, leafy green you might have in the crisper drawer. Spinach, collard, or even spicy mustard greens will work. Just note that some of the heartier greens will require that you remove the fibrous stems.
- Lime - To get the most juice out of your wedges, give the lime a firm rolling on the countertop before cutting.
I love my Dutch Oven for soups and stews. Made from cast iron, they are perfect for slow cooking and simmering soups and stews. My Dutch Oven is one of the most useful and versatile kitchen tools I have and although it’s a bit pricey, you will use it over and over again (for soups, stews, sides, bread, and even desserts!) and it will last you a lifetime. (<<affilite links)
In addition, you will need a good chef’s knife, cutting board, basic kitchen utensils, and a high powered blender or an immersion blender. (<<affiliate links)
Step One - Prepare Rice
Begin by preparing the rice. Cook the rice according to package instructions. You can use either brown or white rice just note that brown rice takes about 2x as long to cook as white rice.
Step Two - Sauté the Aromatics
Grate the ginger and mince the garlic. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes – until they are translucent and fragrant. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for an additional 60 seconds.
Step Three - Add Remaining Ingredients
While the onions cook, dice your potatoes.
Pro Tip: Feel free to leave the skin on the potatoes for extra nutrition. If you do keep the skins on, simply scrub them under warm water to clean them first.
Add the potato and spices, stirring to completely coat the potatoes. Sauté for 3 minutes. Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, peanut butter, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes until the potatoes are soft.
Step Three - Finish and Assemble
Pro Tip: For a thicker stew, transfer 2-3 cups of the potato/broth mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Return the purée to the soup pot.
Once the potatoes are tender, add the kidney beans and kale. Let cook for an additional 2-3 minutes to allow the kale to wilt slightly. Remove from heat and taste and adjust seasonings.
Serving and Storing
Serving - I love serving this vegan peanut stew over rice immediately after the kale has wilted so that the color remains bright and vibrant. Serve with chopped, dry roasted peanuts for crunch and some fresh cilantro and lime wedges for brightness. For a lower carb option, serve over cauliflower rice or omit the rice altogether.
Storing - Store leftovers for up to a week in the fridge or up to three months in the freezer. Store rice and stew separately and only make as much rice as you plan on eating in one sitting. Fresh rice is always best!
Tips and Tricks
- For a thicker, creamier stew, I recommend blending 2-3 cups worth of the potato and broth mixture before adding in the remaining stew ingredients. Alternatively, you can use the immersion blender to pulse the mix (being sure to leave some chunks) if you don't want to make extra dishes.
- For a spicier stew, add up to 1 diced and seeded jalapeño pepper along with the garlic and ginger.
- This vegan peanut stew recipe is perfect for meal prep. Simply divvy out your rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice into individual serving containers and top with stew. Send along a small ziptop baggie with fresh cilantro, lime juice and peanuts for garnishing on the go!
Frequently Asked Questions
While I haven't tried it myself, either cashew butter or sunbutter would be good alternatives!
While I love the sweetness that sweet potatoes lend to the peanut stew, you can also opt to use yams or winter squash instead.
Sure! The first suggestion I have would be to swap cauliflower rice for regular rice, immediately eliminating a hefty carb count. Butternut squash also has about ½ the carbs of sweet potatoes.
More Vegan Soups & Stews
- Thai Noodle Soup with Tofu
- One-Pot French Lentil Soup Recipe
- Loaded Vegan Baked Potato Soup
- Red Lentil Dahl
Still need more inspiration? Check out this post with 16 AMAZING Vegan Soup Recipes!
African Peanut Stew
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1" fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 ½ pound sweet potato, about 1 large sweet potato
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. coriander
- ¼ tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper, optional
- 1 14 (oz) can diced tomatoes
- ½ cup smooth peanut butter
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 14 (oz) can kidney beans or pinto beans
- 2 cups loosely packed kale or collard greens
- cilantro, for garnish
- dry roasted peanuts, for garnish
- lime juice, for serving
- 1 ½ cup rice, uncooked
- Begin by preparing the rice. Cook the rice according to package instructions. You can use either brown or white rice just note that brown rice takes about 2x as long to cook as white rice.
- Grate the ginger and mince the garlic. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes – until they are translucent and fragrant. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for an additional 60 seconds. While the onions cook, dice your potatoes. Note: Feel free to leave the skin on the potatoes for extra nutrition. If you do keep the skins on, simply scrub them under warm water to clean them first.
- Add the potato and spices, stirring to completely coat the potatoes. Sauté for 3 minutes. Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, peanut butter, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes until the potatoes are soft. Optional: For a thicker stew, transfer 2-3 cups of the potato/broth mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Return the puree to the soup pot.
- Once the potatoes are tender, add the kidney beans and kale. Let cook for an additional 2-3 minutes to allow the kale to wilt slightly. Remove from heat and taste and adjust seasonings. Serve immediately over rice along with roasted peanuts, cilantro, and lime juice.
- Can I make this without peanuts? While I haven't tried either, I'd bet both sunbutter and cashew butter would make excellent swaps!
- Can I make this lower carb? Sure! The first suggestion I have would be to swap cauliflower rice for regular rice, immediately eliminating a hefty carb count. Butternut squash also has about ½ the carbs of sweet potatoes.
Loved this recipe. A few alterations I made:
1. more of the spices! I basically doubled everything up. Also added maybe 1/2 tsp of salt.
2. Way more of the kale. I probably doubled the kale input. That's the best part! The kale really makes it.
3. I added the tomato paste at the browning veggies step to get a bit of maillard from it - make it more savory
Oh and I forgot the biggest alteration - way more spicy pepper. The first time I ever had this dish (not from the recipe) it was pretty spicy. I added some habanero and them some cayenne pepper as an adjustment when the habanero didn't kick as much as expected.
This was a big hit! I used the immersion blender which is a great suggestion. I didn't change any of the recipe nor would I next time.
Mikayla Souza says
Second time I’ve made this in two weeks! It is so good and there’s something about the peanut butter broth that is so satisfying.