West African Peanut Soup – An Adaptation

The first time I tried a West African Peanut Soup was from the vegan meal delivery service I was using. I had seen recipes for it before but even with my love for cooking with peanut butter I hadn’t been brave enough to commit to a whole pot of soup. I’ve tried a couple of different recipes for this soup, but I really found the base of the recipe presented in moosewood restaurant favorites to be, well, my favourite.

soupgrilledcheese

Pictured above is a tasty lunch where my roommate made the soup and I made us some grilled cheese sandwiches with CHAO cheese. Also, if you’d like to try out the Moosewood version, you can pick up a copy of their giant cookbook at Amazon (note: this is an affiliate link): Moosewood Restaurant Favorites: The 250 Most-Requested, Naturally Delicious Recipes from One of America’s Best-Loved Restaurants

While I do enjoy the Moosewood version, I felt like it was missing a little bit. First, as it seems that a regular version includes chicken, I want to add a bit of a protein boost to kind of match, so I’m going to add crunchy roasted chickpeas as a topping. This will also add a bit more texture to the semi-blended soup. Another item I want to add in is a little bit of a green vegetable. Several of the recipes I explored online and the version from the vegan delivery service included spinach or a similar green. Somehow things just seem healthier with something green peeking though. Some other changes are rather minor. My roommate and I found the tomato juice to be too plain so we decided to upgrade to using V8 or something similar, and then likely omit adding any additional salt. Finally, because of a food intolerance in out house we can’t use actual hot peppers, so to add a little bit of depth to the soup we added a mild curry powder instead.

peanutsoupfinished

I should note that this is a fairly quick soup to prepare, but it is really hearty. If you have the right ingredients on hand it could be a quick way to feed hungry people a meal from one pot.

Ingredients and Instructions

peanutsoup1

  • Vegetable oil (your preference)
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • Sauté together until the celery is softened.

peanutsoup3

  • 2 tablespoons ginger (I used the prepared paste from the grocery store)
  • 1 Tablespoon curry powder
  • Add the ginger and curry powder and cook for about a minute. 
  • 4 cups peeled and chopped sweet potatoes
  • About 1 cup of frozen spinach
  • 3 cups water
  • Add the sweet potatoes, spinach, and water. Simmer until sweet potato is cooked.
  • 1 cup peanut butter (smooth would be best and is what most recipes call for)
  • 950 ml V8 or similar mixed vegetable juice (I used this amount mostly because this is a sold size of V8 — just dump it in…)
  • 1-2 teaspoons of salt
  • lemon juice to taste, we used about 1/2 of a lemon
  • Remove from heat and add V8 and peanut butter, blending about half-way with an immersion blender on low (you want it a bit smooth to make it creamy, but not a puree, try to keep some of the texture of the vegetables).
  • Add salt and lemon juice to taste. The salt and lemon amount you add may depend on you peanut butter. We used a “regular” as opposed to natural peanut butter when making this and the regular ones usually include sugar. The lemon helps balance this out.
  • chopped cilantro – the original recipe asks for ¼ cup, but we really love cilantro and added probably about double this. You can also save some to add fresh on top.
  • Add the cilantro after you’ve finished blending the soup to your preferred consistency. This time I’ve cooked the soup in advance for an event. I’m cooling it and will add the fresh cilantro when I reheat it there.
  •  tasty roasted chickpeas
  • When serving top soup with crunchy roasted chickpeas, I like this recipe from thekitchn.com.

peanutsoupstages

 

 

 

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