You know how sometimes you have really crisp, distinct memories of nothing in particular? I barely remember what I ate for lunch yesterday, but for some reason, I have a very clear memory of making peanut soup in our old apartment back in Wisconsin. I was frozen to the bone after getting home from work and looking out the kitchen window, I could see the snow falling in the street lights. I remember getting the cilantro out of the crisper drawer, measuring out the peanut butter, and chopping the onions. So now, I always associate peanut soup with cold weather and snowy evenings. Which kind of makes it perfect for January, right?
This particular African Peanut Soup recipe is from The 30 Minute Vegan: Soup’s On! by Mark Reinfeld. I am so excited about this book–it contains over 100 plant-based soup recipes! But the best part is that almost all the soups come together in 30 minutes or less. Yes, you can have soup for dinner in 30 minutes! If you resolved to make more home cooked meatless meals in 2014, this is the kind of cookbook you need–these are doable recipes, not the fussy kind that you need to make on a Sunday afternoon. These are after work recipes!
Peanut soup is not exactly the lightest soup, but this recipe includes an option for trimming things down a little bit by using less coconut milk. I made the non-light version because even though this African Peanut Soup is pretty calorie-dense, it’s also very filling, so I don’t feel the need to go back for seconds. The chunks of sweet potatoes are perfect with the creamy, peanutty base; although the book recommends garnishing with a Red Pepper Coulis, we loved it with just a scattering of cilantro and chopped peanuts on top.
(PS – You can enter to win a copy of The 30 Minute Vegan: Soup’s On! on the Marketplace this month. Woo hoo!)
- 3 cups vegetable stock or water
- 2 (15-ounce) cans coconut milk
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 4 large garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- 1 teaspoon seeded and diced hot chile pepper
- 4 cups chopped sweet potato (1/2-inch pieces)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped tomato (1/2-inch pieces) or 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon wheat-free tamari or other soy sauce (optional)
- 1 tablespoon Berbere spice mix (optional)
- 3/4 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, for garnish
- Place the vegetable stock in a 3-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the peanut butter, cilantro, and peanuts, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove about 1 cup of the liquid and place it into a small bowl. Add the peanut butter and stir until creamy. Return the mixture to the pot, stir well, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the cilantro, stir well, and garnish with peanuts before serving.
You can sauté the onion, celery, and garlic in 1 tablespoon of oil before adding the vegetable stock.
Replace the peanut butter with almond butter or other nut butter.
For a lighter soup, replace one can of coconut milk with an equivalent amount of vegetable stock or water.
Add 2 cups of chopped spinach, chard, or kale once the peanut butter is added.
Disclosure: I received a copy of The 30 Minute Vegan: Soup’s On! in order to write up this review.