African Chick-Peanut Stew

Quite a few years ago, one of my best friend’s mom’s gave me a recipe for an African Peanut Stew. I had recently adopted a vegetarian diet, and she thought the recipe was right up my alley. I agreed; It sounded delicious. But I must confess: I have only recently gotten around to trying it out. The recipe has been stuck in the back of my mind for its flavor profile of peanut butter, ginger, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes. I just hadn’t taken the time to actually play with the recipe.

Don’t make my mistake, and hesitate to bringing a big pot of this stew to a boil. The base of the stew is made from a combination of creamy peanut butter and tomato sauce, with a medley of spices like ginger, coriander, turmeric, even curry. Since traditional African Peanut Stew calls for chicken, chickpeas were the way to go for me for the protein, and with sweet potatoes bringing vitamin A, hardy greens providing Iron and Calcium, and Okra’s anti-inflammatory properties, this stew nourishes from the inside out.

African Chick-Peanut Stew
Makes about 8 cups

  • 14 ounces (1 can) crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon white miso
  • 1/2 teaspoon tamarind paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon umeboshi paste
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil
  • 6 ounces yellow onion (about 1/2 medium), small dice
  • 4 – 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch ginger, peeled, minced
  • 6 ounces okra, thinly sliced into disks
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground curry
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • pinch cayenne, to taste
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 inches of lemongrass, slit down the middle 3/4 the way through
  • 1 pound sweet potato, peeled and small diced
  • 15 ounces (1 can) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups greens, such as beet tops, cut into 1” thick ribbons

1.In a blender, puree together crushed tomatoes, peanut butter, agave nectar, miso, umeboshi, and tamarind until smooth. Set aside.

2.In a large quart pot, heat coconut oil over medium heat and saute onion, garlic, and ginger, for 1- 2 minutes. Add okra and continue to saute until okra turn bright green and release a lot of their “mucus.”

3.Pour in tomato-peanut butter mixture, and stir until well incorporated. Add coriander, turmeric, salt, paprika, curry, cumin, and cayenne.

4.Add vegetable broth, and stir until peanut butter mixture is emulsified into broth. Add lemongrass and bring to a simmer.

5.Once simmering, add potatoes and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in chickpeas and greens to wilt greens. Serve garnished with chopped peanuts and hemp seeds, if desired.

By Stephanie Hoban, MS, RD, LD 

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