Hearty vegan West African stew made with sweet potatoes and peanut butter is like zen in a bowl. Simple, comforting and packed with plant-based nutrition.
Why I Love this Vegan African Peanut Stew
This sweet potato peanut stew is truly zen in a bowl. I love the cozy, comfort it brings, especially on a cold, dreary day.
This sweet potato peanut stew recipe has been my go-to during those long Wisconsin winters, when there are times I want to crawl under a big pile of blankets and not come out until sun shines again.
(Okay, I’ve pretty much eliminated those days with my recent move to Arizona. But even here, it does get rainy and chilly from time to time!)
What Makes this Stew So Good…and Good For You?
Not only does this stew get a lovely rich & creamy texture from peanut butter, it delivers a nutritional wallop complements of sweet potatoes and cooked tomatoes + tomato juice.
You may know that sweet potatoes are a good source of fiber, vitamins, minerals and beta-carotene. A good thing, since plant-based folks seem to love these orange tubers.
But did you know that cooked tomatoes provide 4x more lycopene (video) than raw, so that ingredients like tomato juice and cooked canned tomatoes deliver more health benefits than raw? (Just watch out for sodium.)
Sooooo good and good for you!
How to Make Peanut Stew
African Peanut Stew is a simple, delicious vegan one-pot dinner. Here’s all you need to do to get it done:
- First, saute the onions, garlic, ginger and diced sweet potatoes.
- Second, add chopped tomatoes and tomato juice, and simmer.
- Third, stir in peanut butter and spices, and simmer.
- Fourth, add some greens (if you like), then mash up some of the potaoes with a fork or potato masher to thicken (again, if you like).
That’s it! The whole thing takes just around half an hour.
The stew is delicious just like this. Or, you can serve over a whole grain like brown rice or quinoa (or my fav—quinoa/lentil mixture).
And if you like (and I DO!), top it with chopped peanuts, cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime.
Every time I eat this comforting sweet potato peanut stew, it warms me from the inside out, from my head to-ma-toes! I bet it’ll do the same for you.
African Peanut Stew
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic smashed and minced
- 2 inch knob ginger peeled and finely diced
- 2 pounds of sweet potatoes ½-inch diced (about 2 large sweet potatoes)
- 1 quart tomato juice
- 1 28 ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes LIQUID RESERVED, diced or smashed with a potato masher (see notes)
- ⅔ cup unsweetened creamy, natural-style peanut butter (reduce to ¼-1/2 cup if desired to reduce fat, sub sunflower butter or tahini for nut-free option - see notes)
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 4 cups baby spinach leaves chopped
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Optional: Chopped cilantro chopped roasted peanuts, and lime wedge for garnish
- Optional: Cooked whole grain or whole grain/lentils blend.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of water over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, ginger and sweet potatoes with a pinch of salt. Saute for 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft. Add water a tablespoon at a time if things begin to stick.
- Add the tomato juice and tomatoes, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Add the peanut butter, cumin and cayenne pepper, and stir well to dissolve the peanut butter into the stew. Simmer another 5-10 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are fork tender.
- In the pot, mash some (but not all) of the sweet potatoes with a potato masher or large fork. Add the chopped spinach, and stir to mix it into the hot stew. Simmer, covered, 2-3 minutes or until the spinach is wilted. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
- Optional: Serve over brown rice, quinoa, or my favorite--⅔ brown rice + ⅓ brown or green lentils, cooked together in a rice cooker (or pot).
- Optional: Garnish with chopped cilantro, chopped roasted peanuts and lime wedge.
- Peanut butter is plant-based but high in fat, so it's best to limit in your diet. I cut back on the peanut butter if I'm planning to garnish my stew with peanuts.
- I prefer to use whole tomatoes, as canned diced tomatoes contain a chemical (to keep them from dissolving), which alters the flavor. Also, I find there's no match for the flavor of San Marzanos, so I always use them. Chopping whole tomatoes can make a mess! To avoid this, I empty the whole can into a large bowl and break them up them with a potato masher or just process them in the food processor.