I know that peanut butter, tomatoes and collard greens may seem like an unlikely combination, but I hope you’ll trust me on this one. This homely soup is good—so good that I’m almost tempted to:
- Put on my big puffy coat.
- Shovel my car out from under 10 inches of snow.
- Drive to the store for collard greens so I can make more soup.
This recipe is courtesy of my most handsome fellow. He’s a good cook (jackpot!), one who is more apt to follow his instincts than consult a cookbook. This recipe is from one of his two cookbooks, a random, photo-less vegan cookbook called Local Bounty. With the author’s headnote, “Of all the soups we serve in my restaurant, this one is by far the most popular,” and his endorsement, I trusted that this soup was a safe bet.
If you love this recipe, be sure to check out the revamped peanut soup with sweet potatoes and chickpeas in my cookbook!
We taste tested the soup with a few different hot sauces (none of them African) and decided that we liked sriracha was the best. It provides just the right punch of heat.
The end result is a creamy, nourishing soup made of basic pantry ingredients, herbs and greens. It doesn’t require much prep and the hot sauce cuts down on the total number of ingredients, so it’s perfect for cold days and lazy weeknights.
I originally titled this soup “West African Peanut Soup.” While it’s inspired by West African peanut soups, it’s not authentic by any stretch. I’m told that authentic recipes do not contain collard greens, and I believe they often contain meat, among other details.
As a vegetarian, this recipe may be the closest I’ll ever taste to the authentic dish, and I love it for all of the aforementioned qualities. Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, or follow any diet under the sun, I hope you love it, too!
Vegetarian Peanut Soup
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 35 mins
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: African
This West African-inspired peanut soup recipe is a creamy and comforting, spicy vegan soup. Made with a simple combination of peanut butter, tomato paste and collard greens, this soup comes together quickly and would be a great weeknight meal. If you love spicy flavors like me, don’t hesitate to use liberal amounts of ginger and garlic.
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 bunch collard greens (or kale), ribs removed and leaves chopped into 1-inch strips
- ¾ cup unsalted peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
- ½ cup tomato paste*
- Hot sauce, like sriracha (AKA rooster sauce)
- ¼ cup roughly chopped peanuts, for garnish
- Cooked brown rice, for serving (optional)
- Combine the broth and water in a medium Dutch oven or stock pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, then add the onion, ginger, garlic and salt. Cook on medium-low heat for 20 minutes.
- In a medium-sized, heat-safe mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter and tomato paste, then transfer 1 to 2 cups of the hot stock to the bowl. Whisk the mixture together until smooth, then pour the peanut mixture back into the soup and mix well. Stir in the collard greens and season the soup with hot sauce to taste.
- Simmer for about 15 more minutes on medium-low heat, stirring often. Season with additional salt or hot sauce if desired. Serve over cooked brown rice if you’d like, and top with a sprinkle of chopped peanuts.
- Adapted from Local Bounty: Vegan Seasonal Recipes by Devra Gartenstein.
- *The cookbook author suggested that 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes is a suitable substitution for the tomato paste, but commenters report that the crushed tomatoes produce a runny soup (unlike the thick soup shown here). I highly recommend using tomato paste if you can find it. I also recommend Muir Glen‘s organic tomato products—they come in BPA-free cans and seem to be readily available.
- Most African peanut soup recipes include sweet potatoes. I suppose you could toss in a chopped sweet potato when you bring the stock to a boil, but I liked the soup as is.