Thursday, January 8

African Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup

sweet potato and peanut soup

Last week I shared with you my first New Year's resolution: eat more hamburgers. This week, I will reveal my second resolution: cook more with peanut butter. We are a week into 2009, and so far I'm doing great.

I have been making variations of this soup for nearly 10 years now, after initially spotting a recipe for an African yam and onion soup with peanut butter. The recipe is long gone, but my love for these rich, earthy flavors is still strong.

This is a hearty, nourishing soup that will fill your belly and make you feel warm all over. The meaty sweet potatoes and peanut butter are balanced by sweet pineapple, brown sugar, and creamy coconut milk.

2009 is gonna be a good year.

African Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup
Makes 4-6 servings
Print recipe only here.

2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and sliced in half lengthwise
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 yellow onion, diced
1 cup fresh or canned diced pineapple (drain canned pineapple)
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy salted peanut butter
1/2 jalapeno (the more the seeds the hotter the flavor)
1 (15 oz) can light coconut milk
salt, to taste

4 tablespoons unsalted peanuts, chopped
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking pan with tinfoil (for easy clean up). Brush the flesh of the sweet potatoes with 2 teaspoons olive oil; roast flesh side down for 40-45 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Scoop out the flesh and discard the skins.

In a deep pot over medium heat, saute onions and remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add cooked potatoes, pineapple, and broth. Bring to a boil; reduce to low, and add brown sugar, peanut butter, and jalapeno; cook 7-8 minutes. Turn off heat; allow to cool 5-10 minutes before pureeing.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth; return to the pot over low heat. Add the coconut milk and salt, and stir occasionally until the soup is thoroughly combined and heated, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt. If you prefer a thinner soup, simply add a bit more water or broth until desired consistency is reached.

Garnish individual bowls with thinly sliced fresh cilantro and chopped peanuts.

Cook and bake more with peanut butter:

String Beans and Tofu with Thai Peanut Butter Sauce

Crunchy Peanut Butter, Banana, and Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Mom's Peanut Butter Fudge

Check out these delicious African soups too!

Susan's African Peanut and Yam Soup
Kalyn's African Inspired Crockpot Soup with Peanut Butter
Karina's African Sweet Potato Soup with Black Eyed Peas and Beans


Susan said...

Mmmmmm...pineapple sounds great!

Thanks for the shout-out, Susan. Happy New Year!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Such a great flavor - peanut butter and then the yam/sweet potato, that's perfect!
Nice resolutions!

Asha said...

I like your resolutions better than mine!! :D

Soup looks delicious, great one to tuck in for winter sitting on the couch wrapped with blankets!

Happy new year to you and your's Susan! :))

Ivy said...

Peanut butter also in soups? I have to try this.

Unknown said...

I loved the combination of pineapple and peanut butter, sounds so unique....

Snooky doodle said...

this is really interesting :) I ve never seen a soup like this. i wonder what it taste like. If i find sweet potatoes i ll try it :)

Meeta K. Wolff said...

it's what i love about african cuisine - the combination of sweet and savory works so well. lovely looking soup!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A delicious looking soup! I really like that flavor combo!



Rita said...

Susan, I 've seen African peanut soup recipes before, but never made them. tell me something, why do you put pinneaple? Can you taste it in the soup? It is very unsual to me. Tx

Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said...

Love the flavours in this Susan...everything tastes better with peanut butter! But I'm sure you knew that...LOL

Karen said...

This sounds like a delicious soup, Susan... and so rich with the coconut milk and combination of other flavors!

Dragon said...

Such a rich combination of flavours in one bowl. Awesome!

K Allrich said...

Your version of African peanut soup is lovely (and making me hungry!). Thank you for the link (I will reciprocate on my recipe). And most of all, sending you and your family warm wishes for a healthy, delicious New Year! xox

Susan from Food Blogga said...

susan-It was my pleasure!

tanna-Enjoy more in 2009!

asha-Happy New Year to you too! And stay warm and cozy. :)

ivy-Please do! It's wonderful.

usha-It's really fabulous.

snooky-Yams work too. Good luck!

meeta-I love the contrasting flavors too.

rosa-Thanks so much!

rita-I added it because I love coconut milk and pineapple and I love mashed sweet potatoes with pineapple. So I thought, "Hey, why not add pineapple to the soup?" And I am sooo glad I did! The flavor is mild, but you can definitely taste it.

peter-But, of course! :)

karen-I'm glad you like it!

dragon-Many thanks!

karina-Oh, thank you, my dear. I hope 2009 is beautiful for you and yours as well.

Johanna GGG said...

Eat more peanut butter sounds like an excellent resolution - when I was young one of my sisters would get a spoonful of peanut butter and sit eating it bit by bit! Can you get your peanut butter freshly ground - that is my favourite sort but have just been buying jars of the stuff lately - but now you have me craving some fresh stuff (and a bowl of that soup)

eatingclubvancouver_js said...

What an intriguing soup: peanut butter and pineapples? I'm willing to try that.

Dewi said...

I discover a new soup here. Never made anything like this, it does sounds delicious!

Deeba PAB said...

I love the different flavours here Susan...I'd love to try this. Love the resolutions too...way to go girl! Have a wonderful 2009!

Manggy said...

I on the other hand have apparently resolved to *eat* more peanut butter this year, heh heh :) (and... sigh.) But I wouldn't feel as guilty if it were in your delicious soup! :)

Anonymous said...

This is going to be tonight's dinner, towards my 2009 goal of making more soups.

Katie Zeller said...

Yeah, I could live with this resolution, too. I like that.
I hereby resolve to eat more chocolate!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Soup - possibilities????

Anonymous said...

This sounds wonderful and I have everything in the house but peanut butter. Peanut butter is not one of my regular pantry items. If I make a small amount of peanut butter by grinding peanuts will the texture be too off for the soup?

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Excellent resolutions to have Susan!!!My resolution might be to cook with more lemon and basil but I already do.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

You have excellent resolutions!

Great soup. I make a similar one with coconut milk, but I love the PB addition. I must try this recipe.

Lori Lynn said...

What a great combo of flavors, I bet that jalapeno really added a nice balance to the sweetness.
2009 is gonna be a good year. Amen.

Anonymous said...

This is a soup I make often. Because I'm not a lover of peanut butter, I generally use a high percentage of squash (a mix of butternut and whatever else I have on hand) with a bit PB for thickener and a hint of peanut flavor.

Heather said...

i like the idea of more PB, susan. Have you ever been to the peanut butter boy's website? I swear he puts pb in everything!! this soup sounds so good :)

MeloMeals said...

Yum! all my favorite flavors here..

Anonymous said...

That really looks delicious. I'd like to invite you to take some time to drop by at Foodista and share your delicious recipe with us. We have launched an online food and cooking encyclopedia ala wikipedia. Add a recipe and you can win a $100 gift card to Sur la table. Don't forget to register first so we know who to thank the recipe for. Thanks!

Unknown said...

I really like the sound of using peanuts in a soup!

whitneyingram said...

That soup is on my list now. Looks and sounds so comforting.

Anonymous said...

I have really enjoy a version of this soup. I love PB, sweet potatoes and spices. Yum!!

Anonymous said...

I made this yesterday (Doubled it) for a pot-luck dinner. It's so easy & it was the dinner favorite.

Tips: I needed to roast the sweet potatoes for over an hour.

I'd recommend doubling the jalapeno amount (or more) if you like kick.

Next time I'm using less coconut milk. I tasted it before adding the coconut milk & it was a much richer-more intense taste. Probably would add 1/2 the amount--but everyone did like it as is!

As always, your recipes rock!

Unknown said...

I simply adore sweet potatoes in any form, but never thought of combining them with peanut butter. While your resolution might be to eat more hamburgers, mine is to keep incorporating 2 days of vegetarian and one vegan into my diet.

Thanks for the vegan recipe - I'm on it!

Brittany said...

Oh! That sounds like a beautiful flavor combo!
I was geting sick of my go-to sweet potato recipes!

Half Baked said...

I love flavor combo in this soup. Peanut butter makes everything better:)

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

Peanuts in savoury dishes are great - especially in soups like this. Great stuff!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

johanna-Uh, I still do that. ;)

js-I hope you do!

elra-Give it a try!

deeba-That's the plan!

mark-I can't resist pb. I simply can't.

susan-Yay! That's another resolution I would gladly make.

katie-Chocolate! Yes! How could I have forgotten? Choc-pb soup? I think there are possibilities.... :)

julie-I haven't done it to know for sure. But I don't see why it wouldn't work. You might also consider adding a bit of corn starch or flour as a thickening agent. Hope it turns out well!

val-I do that too!

sdoc-Why, thanks!

lorilynn-Sweet and spicy I can't resist.

ludia-That's a delicious alternative.

heather-I think once or twice. Great name!

melody-I thought you would like this. :)

foodista-Thanks for the invite.

kevin-They're wonderful.

rookie-It makes feel warm and toasty. :)

gretchen noelle-They just go so well toghether.

healthy librarian-Thanks for the feedback. That's exactly what I hope readers do; tweak it to suit your tastes. That's what cooking is all about! :)

toni-Glad to be of help!

brittany-Thank you so much!

paula-It certainly does. :)

scott-Thanks a lot!

Jaime said...

mmmm i would love that soup! i could only make it when brent is out of town though b/c he hates PB :(

Erin said...

What an interesting combination of flavors. I've lived in Ghana one and off for a total of three years. In Ghana peanut (or groundnut) soup is a very popular dish, almost always served with pounded fufu.

My only question is whether the word "yam" has been correctly interpreted. In susan's recipe, for example, it calls for "yam" not 'sweet potato" and while americans consider them the same thing, in Ghana what they call "yam" is actually a large tuber with flesh that is white, firm and dry even after boiling. More like the consistency of a baked potato. And when pounded it does not get mushy, but chewy like bubble gum.

I have a photo of West African "yam" in my post on Ghanaian Oto.

So my question is: is this recipe from a different culinary tradition outside of West Africa where sweet potatoes are used, or is this something that has acquired a new culinary significance through translation?

Susan from Food Blogga said...

jaime-I didn't know people could hate pb. ;)

erin-Thanks for sharing your experience. You're right. In fact, I have already written about the diff. between sweet potatoes and yams in the US here:

That's why I called the soup African Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup. As for the origin/ translation question, you'd probably have better access to sources for that than I would since you lived in Ghana. Let me know if you find out an answer. Thanks!

Deborah said...

I love your resolutions - I should follow!! This sounds delicious!!

Erin said...

I love that you took the time to dig into yams v sweet potatoes in your previous post. Perhaps there is, botanically speaking, no such thing as an American "yam," at least not if we use the word to mean a bright orange fleshed veg.

Based on looking through your references and my experience traveling through West Africa, I would say I am 95% confident (esp if the recipe is of West African origin, as it seems to be) that the recipes on which the soup is based are intended to be used with West African firm white fleshed yam (wikipedia: "yam" or "fufu"), of no relation to the sweet potato. I am checking with a friend with more South African experience to see if sweet potatoes are in use there.

So I suspect this may be a wonderful moment of lost in translation as culinary inspiration. But I actually really dig how the moment of translation then makes space for more new world Caribbean influences, like the addition of pineapple. Regardless, sounds like a totally delicious soul-warming soup recipe!

Anonymous said...

Have you ever tried peanut butter IN a hamburger. It is an interesting combo. I love it! The best condiment in a hamburger, seriously.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Erin-Thank you for your thoughtful reply. It's funny, as soon as I see "fufu," I think of the novel Things Fall Apart. As for the recipe, let's call it "fusion."

julia-pb in a burger? Nope, I sure haven't. What made you try that? I'm curious.

Anonymous said...

Ooh thanks for this recipe. I really liked the peanut based African stews I tried before.

ames said...

More peanut butter? You are a woman after my own heart, I adore African peanut soup! And since it's a brisk 14 degrees outside today, this sounds just perfect.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this recipe. I made this for a party I hosted recently, and the soup was a big hit. Everyone asked for the recipe. Thank you again!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

jude-You're welcome!

ames-Great minds...:)

laura-That's wonderful! Thanks for taking the time to let me know! :)

Jeanne said...

Thanks - now yo've got me craving this soup too!!

Coffee and Vanilla said...

Love the recipe! This soup must taste like heaven :)
I will post tomorrow peanut butter punch recipe ;) I got addicted to it in Jamaica, but hopefully they don't sell it here.... I tried to recreate it with very good result, kids loved it.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to try this recipe! I wanted to share with you that a TBSP of creamy, natural peanut butter is the "secret" ingredient in my chili. It adds another dimension to it and helps to temper the heat.

Susan from Food Blogga said...


margot-PB punch? Seriously? I can't wait to see that.

edie-Mmmm... thanks for sharing your "secret" ingredient with me. I'll be trying it for sure. :)

Carolyn said...

Peanut butter?! I'm sold! I love discovering savory PB dishes. Thanks!