Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew

In the past 10 months in South America, I found thrill in jumping from fifty-foot bridges into rivers, dancing salsa with strangers and hiking in canyons. Back in Maryland’s suburbs, I get my kicks from processing food.


You turn the dial to either 1 or 2 (or “pulse” if you’re really an adrenaline junkie), and watch all of the ingredients meld and blend together with a spinning blade. What were once chunks of tender potato are now purreed potato. Magic.

I’ve cooked about a quarter of all the recipes in Food52’s Vegan cookbook, and each time I’m pleasantly suprised: another delicious, not-difficult meal. This peanutty sweet potato stew marks the first in a series of soups from the book. (It’s soup season here, okay?). This one is thick, hearty, and nearly too-filling. Expect leftovers for lunch the next day.

Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew with Kale

Original recipe: Food52 Vegan Cookbook

(It’s also available online at Food52.com)

Serves 6

What you need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 pounds (900g) sweet potatoes, chopped into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (plus a bit extra)
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion (to garnish)
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped (to garnish)


Pour the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté the onions for about five minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for another three minutes. Add the sweet potatoes, lentils, tomatoes, salt, cumin, cinnamon, and a pinch of cayenne. Stir it all together.

Add the vegetable broth. Add more broth until all the potatoes are covered. Stir and bring to a boil. Decrease to a simmer and let cook for about 40 minutes until the potatoes are soft-ish. Meanwhile, take a shower. Wash some laundry. Suburbia is for multitasking!

Add the peanut butter and give it a stir. In the food processor, working in batches, blend until mostly pureed, with some chunks of sweet potato remaining. Feel particularly accomplished for using such an exciting kitchen appliance.

Pour it all back in the pot. Over low heat, stir-in the kale until it softens. To serve, top each bowl with green onions and peanuts. Call yourself fancy for actually using a garnish.

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