Despite my love of bacon, I’ve recently found myself cooking a surprising amount of unintentionally vegan food. Meat is sadly quite pricey (especially if you’re like me and have qualms about eating factory-farmed meat with hormones and antibiotics), so I’m turning more and more to filling meals using fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans, and lentils. And I’m surprised at the great flavors I can develop using these ingredients. Take, for example, this West African peanut soup. Mostly basic ingredients, but somehow combining peanut butter and tomato paste with aromatics and curry powder yields a nearly irresistible soup. Vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters alike rave about this soup. And this could be a great base for a number of variations – sweet potatoes or other root vegetables would be a natural fit in here, as would chicken (if you can’t resist the urge to add some meat).
West African Peanut Soup
Yield: 8 appetizers or 4 entrees
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 – 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1″ piece ginger, minced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, minced*
- 1 Tbsp curry powder**
- 1/2 head cabbage, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 4 – 6 cups stock***
- 1/2 cup peanut butter****
- salt and pepper, to taste
*If you’re not very spice tolerant and/or if your curry powder is very spicy, feel free to omit this.
**Or substitute garam masala.
***Adjust depending on how thick you want your final soup to be.
****You’re going to want a peanut butter where the only ingredients are peanuts or peanuts and salt.
- In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat, then add 1 onion, chopped, and sautee until translucent and starting to darken, about 10 – 15 minutes.
- Add 4 – 5 cloves garlic, minced, 1″ piece ginger, minced, 1 jalapeno pepper, minced, and 1 Tbsp curry powder. Sautee until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add 1/2 head cabbage, finely chopped, along with more olive oil if needed, then sautee until wilted, about 10 – 15 minutes.
- Stir in 1/2 cup tomato paste followed by 4 – 6 cups stock, bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer for 5 minutes or until the cabbage is cooked as desired.
- Stir in 1/2 cup peanut butter, making sure that it melts completely.
- Taste, and add salt and pepper, to taste.