West African Peanut Soup

February 28, 2011 by Ali

Last night my friend, David, hosted his first-annual “Tastes of the World” party. Basically, it was a dream event for foodies! A week beforehand, all of the guests drew a continent and a course (appetizer, main dish, dessert, etc.) from a hat, and then researched a corresponding recipe to make and share with everyone.

As you may have guessed, my continent was Africa. And my course was actually “appetizer”, but after a quick search yielded few appetizer recipes online, I ended up going instead with African peanut soup. I ironically had it a few years ago in a loft party just blocks from this one, and love any excuse to cook with peanut butter, so this seemed perfect.

This was a new recipe for me, but thankfully it turned out to be fantastic! Loved the subtle peanut flavors, blended in with the vegetables and wonderful array of spices. Everyone seemed to love it — even my friend who is anti-cilantro! :)

So for anyone looking for a new and different hearty soup to try, I definitely recommend this one. Also for any of you who are looking for a fun party theme idea, this was a blast! I can honestly say I’ve never tried so many new and often unheard-of dishes all in one night. The best part was hearing the stories and how-to from each brave cook — so fun.

Cheers to great food from all 7 continents!

West African Peanut Soup

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 3-5 servings


  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh minced ginger root (or 1 tsp. ground ginger)
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (or 2 cups fresh diced tomatoes)
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 3/4 cup roasted peanuts
  • 6 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ½ bunch cilantro, leaves chopped
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste


Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté the onion until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, and cayenne. Sauté together 2 to 3 minutes to release their fragrance. Stir in the tomatoes and sweet potatoes, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally about 5 minutes to meld the flavors.

Add the stock and peanuts, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. (You could also do this in a blender or food processor -- just be careful to blend in small batches and don't burn yourself!) Return the soup to the saucepan. Whisk in the peanut butter and chopped cilantro, season with salt and pepper and heat through.

Serve and garnish with additional chopped cilantro, crushed peanuts, and/or tomatoes if you'd like.

Recipe adapted from Aliza Green

(c) 2013 Gimme Some Oven. All rights reserved.

Ali’s Tip:

Some recipes also suggested drizzling in 1/4 tsp. sesame oil at the end. I may try that next time — imagine it would add a nice touch!

About Ali

Ali Ebright is a freelance recipe developer and food writer/photographer, and blogs at Gimme Some Oven and Gimme Some Life. She also loves all things music, traveling near and far, actually making things from Pinterest, cozying up with a good book and her sweet pup, Henry, and spending time with a wonderful group of friends. Come say hello and follow Ali on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ & Instagram.

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5 thoughts on “West African Peanut Soup

  1. Hi Ali,
    My hubby made this soup this week and it is SOOO good! We added a dollop of plain non-fat yogurt on top–mmmm. Thanks for sharing it!

    - Mira

  2. This looks great! I live in South Africa but haven’t yet explored the other cuisines on the continent (horrid, I know). Keen to give this a go though.

    - Marisa

  3. Oh my…soup is just what I`m craving right now…and I like the idea of peanuts in a soup! Smart.

    - Charissa

  4. I am glad that you are trying out dishes from other cultures, however I am West African (Nigerian) and this recipe is so different from the original that I would not have recognized it if you had not added WEST AFRICAN to the name. Traditional West African meals are not cooked with cumin, cinnamon, cilantro, cloves. These ingredients are not even indigenous to West Africa. How then can we make a local soup with them?

    I found a link that comes much closer: http://www.onlinenigeria.com/links/Recipesadv.asp?blurb=428.

    - Natural Nigerian