Peanut butter lovers, rejoice! Nutty, savory and spicy, this West African Peanut Stew Recipe has ALL the flavors! And it’s ready in less than an hour!

West african peanut stew with rice | pickledplum.com

Sometimes, you take a bite of something new and wonder where the heck it has been your whole life. Well, in the case of this nutty, savory and spicy West African peanut stew, it hadn’t exactly been hiding anywhere. I just hadn’t tried it yet.

But once I took that first delectable spoonful – let me tell you – that changed for good.

And I bet once you and your family try this toasty and fragrant West African inspired stew, it’ll be on the menu pretty often at your place as well 🙂

What is West African Peanut Stew? 

Peanut stew (aka: maafe) is a West African staple food, with many variations containing root vegetables, leafy greens, tomatoes, chilies and spices like garam masala and paprika. Also called groundnut stew, the lion’s share of color and consistency in this West African recipe stems from the inclusion of peanut butter. YUM!

Now, it’s common for this to be a vegetarian stew – however it’s just as common to use proteins like chicken, beef or lamb. So, as always, make it as you see fit!

Truth time: before taking the first bite of this stew, I was a tiny bit dubious about how a recipe with peanut butter, tomato paste and hot chilies might taste. Well, let me tell you – it was absolutely bursting with amazing flavors that had me headed to the soup pot for seconds!

Is it a stew or soup? 

I’ve seen this delicious West African peanut stew referred to as both. And, while there’s a fine line between soup and stew – from a purely textural standpoint, I’d say it’s more of a stew. Once you try a bite of this thick, hearty and wonderfully spiced concoction, you can decide what you’d like to call it yourself! 

ginger and red onions

Ingredients for African peanut soup / stew

  • Vegetable or Grapeseed Oil: Any neutral oil will work fine.
  • Ginger: The slow burn of peeled and minced ginger brings a subtle spice to the base of this West African peanut soup / stew.
  • Garlic: About four minced cloves of garlic should be plenty to perfume this stew.
  • Red Onion: Is there anything better than onion and garlic sizzling away in the bottom of a soup pot in shimmering oil? Onion, garlic and ginger are a wonderfuly fragrant bouquet.
  • Thai Chilies: Don’t be fooled by their small size. These tiny bird’s eye chilies pack a deceptive amount of heat. Use 2-3 if you like it hot! Alternatively, chopped jalapeños also work. 
  • Tomato Paste: Use about a quarter cup to introduce the essence of vine ripened tomatoes without adding unwanted moisture to this thick stew.
  • Garam Masala Powder: This pantry staple is a mixture of warming Indian spices that is comprised of things like curry leaf, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, black pepper, cardamom and cloves among others. Yes, that’s a TON of great flavors under one umbrella 🙂 Grab it at the grocery store or pick it up on Amazon.
  • Peanut Butter: I prefer to use a natural peanut butter – made solely of peanuts and salt – in this vegetarian stew recipe. Conventional peanut butter is delicious, but is a touch too sweet for this peanut stew.
  • Vegetable Broth: Perfect for the savory undertones of this vegetarian stew. 
  • Chickpeas: Nutty and filling, the inclusion of garbanzo beans is also a great source of texture.
  • Collard Greens: These gorgeous leafy greens soak up all of the flavor in this delicious West African stew. If you can’t find collard greens, kale is a good substitute.
  • Chopped Peanuts: These make a wonderful garnish and add a touch of additional texture.

Optional Ingredients

The following aren’t obligatory – but go super well with this nutty West African stew.

  • Chicken Bouillon: If you really want to take the savory levels to new heights, mix in a crushed chicken bouillon cube while your stew is still simmering. This delivers on yet another layer of home-cooked comfort food flavor. Omit this ingredient if you’re preparing vegetarian stew.
  • Sugar: To play up the sweet/savory nuances this African peanut stew naturally has, adding a tiny bit of sugar while simmering can help. Slowly add up to a tablespoon of granulated sugar – and taste as you go to arrive at the perfect balance for your palate!
  • Rice: Both white and brown rice on the side pair wonderfully with this delicious stew.

vegetarian peanut stew with collard greens and chickpeas | pickledplum.com

How to make West African peanut stew

  1. In a large pot over medium high heat, add oil, ginger, garlic, chili, red onion and salt and cook for 3-4 minutes, until garlic becomes fragrant. 
  2. Add tomato paste, garam masala and mix. Then add peanut butter and vegetable broth and stir. 
  3. Bring to a boil – then add chickpeas and collard greens. Lower the heat to a bubbling simmer. Partially cover and cook for 40 minutes. 
  4. Top with chopped peanuts and serve with rice.

And that’s it! Easy, right!?

I think you’re absolutely going to love the deep and nuanced flavor that develops in a relatively short amount of time. And, if you’re a peanut butter lover, this might soon be in your weekly rotation!

What to serve with West African Peanut Stew

As this African groundnut stew is quite hearty and filling, you can serve it with pretty much any vegetable side dish. Rice recipes – whether plain or flavored – are obvious natural partners to this thick and savory peanut stew. Brown rice in particular lends its trademark nuttiness to the overall toasted qualities of this delicious West African dish. Here are a few of my favorites:

Plus:

Happy cooking, friends!

west african peanut soup | pickledplum.com bowl of African vegetarian stew | pickledplum.com

Did you like this West African Peanut Stew Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!

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West African Peanut Stew

This West African peanut stew is nutty, savory and spicy. In short, delicious!

  • Author: Caroline Phelps
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x
  • Category: Stew
  • Method: Simmered
  • Cuisine: African
Scale

Ingredients

Stew Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or grapeseed oil
  • 1 thumb size piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 23 Thai chili (birds eye chili), finely chopped, or 2 jalapeño peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala powder
  • 2/3 cup natural peanut butter
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • One 14-oz can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 bunch collard greens or kale, chopped
  • Chopped peanuts for garnish
  • Cooked white or brown rice, for serving (optional)

For more depth of flavor, add while cooking:

Instructions

  1. In a large pot over medium high heat, add oil, ginger, garlic, chili, red onion and salt and cook for 3-4 minutes, until garlic becomes fragrant. 
  2. Add tomato paste, garam masala and stir. Add peanut butter and vegetable broth and stir. 
  3. Bring to a boil and add chickpeas and collard greens. Lower the heat to a bubbling simmer. Partially cover and cook for 40 minutes. 
  4. Top with chopped peanuts and serve with rice. 

Notes

This West African peanut soup / stew will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

Keywords: stew, soup, vegan, vegetarian, healthy, lunch, dinner

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