African Sweet Potato Soup with Peanut Butter, Black-Eyed Peas & Beans

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A scrumptious peanut soup recipe - gluten and dairy-free.

African Sweet Potato Soup with Peanut Butter, Black-Eyed Peas & Beans
African Sweet Potato Soup with Peanut Butter, Black-Eyed Peas & Beans

It's a new dawn. It's a new day. And it's time for a black-eyed pea recipe. One of my favorites, with African flavors. Serving black-eyed peas and beans at the start of a freshly birthed year is serious good mojo in some circles. At least that's what they tell me. Why eating a plate of legumes on New Year's Day brings luck I've no idea, but someone somewhere decided these humble little nuggets of vegan protein were a good and fortunate culinary choice. So why not?

Rather than rummage through cookbooks searching for Southern Hoppin' John recipes or Italian white bean escarole stews I turned instead to the sun drenched flavors of West and North Africa and reprised a stew that is spicy and hearty and peanutty. If you cannot use peanut butter try sunflower seed butter. It is no less fabulous.

African Sweet Potato Soup Recipe with Peanut Butter, Black-eyed Peas and Beans

My take on African flavors... Why I love this soup? I admit, it's the peanut butter. It nudges the broth into a rich, garlicky, peppery brew with a citrus-y finish (thanks to lime juice and cilantro). As for the curry spices, you can make this soul-satisfying soup as mild or as spicy as your taste buds prefer.


  • 1 tablespoon light olive oil or peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon red or green Thai Kitchen curry paste- hot or mild, to taste (start with less if you prefer it mild)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium sweet potato or yam, peeled, diced
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, diced
  • 1 jalapeño or other hot chile pepper, seeded, diced fine
  • 1 14-oz. can black-eyed peas, rinsed, drained
  • 1 14-oz. can white beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 14-oz. can black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 quart light broth
  • 1/2 cup 100% natural peanut butter melted in a half cup of boiled hot water (for one cup total)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper flakes, or more, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice from 1 big juicy lime
  • 2-3 teaspoons organic brown sugar or raw agave nectar, to taste
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

For garnish:
Chopped fresh cilantro or parsley


Heat the light olive oil in large soup pot. Add the curry paste and cinnamon; stir for a minute to infuse the oil with spice. Add the onion, garlic, sweet potato, yellow pepper and jalapeño. Stir and cook the veggies for 5-7 minutes, until softened.

Add the black-eyed peas, white and black beans, broth, melted peanut butter, red pepper flakes and cilantro.

Bring the soup to a high simmer, cover, and lower the heat; keep the soup on simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Stir in the lime juice and brown sugar or agave. Season with sea salt and ground pepper, to taste. Warm through and taste for seasoning adjustments.

Serves 4 as a hearty meal. Terrific with my gluten-free Skillet Cornbread.

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