African-inspired peanut butter soup
Monday, 6 Feb 2017


This was one of the first soups I made. It’s cheap, easy, healthy and made from that pantry staple: chunky peanut butter. I love peanut butter and always have some around for pb&j.

I label this ‘African’ with hesitation. The original inspiration is mafé, a stew from West Africa. This is a healthy, less spicy meatless soup version blitzed with spinach, much like a green smoothie.

I’ve chosen baharat as it has an earthy flavour that pairs well with the warmth of the sweet potato and peanut butter. You can buy baharat or make your own, or substitute with other spices. Both curry powder and cumin work well.

A bowl of this on a cold night just warms my soul. It’s ideal for a light but satisfying supper. For a heartier meal, try a more authentic Maafe recipe with some rice.

African-inspired peanut butter soup


Serves 4

  • 1 tin (450g) chopped tomatoes
  • 3 heaped tbsp chunky peanut butter
  • 1 L vegetable stock (I made mine up with Marigold vegan bouillon)
  • 1 large Spanish onion
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 bag (200g) spinach
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 tbsp baharat
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • large pot with lid

Peel and dice the onion. Heat some oil in a large pot and gently saute the onion on a medium heat.

You want the onion to caramelise a little. Brown gently, stirring from time to time for about 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile peel and dice the sweet potato into smallish cubes. Dice the chilli, rinse the spinach.

When the onion's soft and brown and smells lovely, add in the sweet potato and chilli. Salt and pepper. Saute for a few minutes.

Add the tin of chopped tomatoes and spices. Turn the heat up a little. The tomato mixture will begin to simmer.

Stir the peanut butter into the vegetable stock and pour the mixture into the pot.

Bring to the boil. Pop the lid on, turn the heat back down to medium and let it simmer.

You want the sweet potato to be cooked. Test after about 15 minutes, it depends on how small you cut your potato. Once the sweet potato's soft and cooked, add the spinach. You might have to do this bit by bit.

Let the spinach cook for about 2-3 minutes. Then turn the heat off.

Ladle the soup into your blender (waiting for it to cool if necessary). Be careful, blend in batches. Or use an immersion blender if you have one. It doesn't matter if it's still a little chunky.

Return pureed soup to pot. I like it with some chilli flakes and Tabasco Habanero sauce on top.