Satisfy your cravings with this Vegetarian Peanut Curry

As you read these words, let me whisk you away to the heart of West Africa with my African Inspired Vegetarian Peanut Curry. This dish is a dream come true for all curry lovers! The aromatic mix of spices, slow-cooked vegetables, and creamy peanut butter sauce will work together to create a symphony of flavors in your mouth.

But what sets this dish apart from other curries is its origin. This recipe carries the soul of the Mandinka Bambara people of Mali, where it is commonly known as groundnut soup or stew. As a vegan chef, I have taken their classic recipe and reinvented it with plant-based ingredients, without sacrificing the flavor!

Now that we have established some context and infused this dish with history and tradition, let me tell you why I think you will love this recipe. Are you ready to take your taste buds on an unforgettable adventure? Let’s dive into the details!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Vegetarian Peanut Curry (African Inspired)
Vegetarian Peanut Curry (African Inspired)

Curry is not just a dish, it is an experience; and this vegetarian peanut curry recipe delivers a bold and complex flavor that will make your taste buds dance. One of the reasons why you will love this recipe is because it’s not only vegan but also gluten-free, making it the perfect option for everyone, regardless of your dietary restrictions.

The creamy peanut butter sauce is the heart of this West African-inspired curry recipe, adding richness and depth to the dish. The combination of coconut milk, crushed red pepper flakes, ginger paste, and garlic cloves offers a balanced heat to the peanut butter sauce, which is poured over chickpeas, sweet potatoes, carrots, and collard greens.

Not only is this curry deliciously flavorful but it’s also packed with nutrients from its fresh ingredients. The sweet potatoes provide a rich source of beta-carotene while the chickpeas serve as an excellent source of plant-based protein. Additionally, the kale in this recipe offers an array of vitamins and minerals that aid in maintaining optimal health.

In conclusion, you’ll love this recipe because it’s a hearty stew that offers you a true taste of West Africa’s vibrant flavors. This vegan peanut curry doesn’t sacrifice flavor for health benefits; rather it provides both without compromising on taste. So go on ahead and whip up this African-inspired peanut stew to transport your taste buds to exotic lands.

Ingredient List

 Get ready to spice up your life with this African-inspired vegetarian peanut curry!
Get ready to spice up your life with this African-inspired vegetarian peanut curry!

Before diving into the recipe how-to, familiarize yourself with the ingredients you will need to make this delicious African-inspired vegetarian peanut curry. Don’t worry if some of them are unfamiliar. I’ve included substitutes and variations to give you flexibility in creating this dish.

Main Ingredients:

  • Garbanzo Beans: Also known as chickpeas, these beans provide a good dose of protein and fiber. Rinse and drain one can before adding it to the stew.

  • Sweet Potatoes: High in beta-carotene, fiber, and vitamin C, sweet potatoes give this stew a hint of sweetness. Dice two medium-sized ones into bite-sized chunks.

  • Coconut Milk: This adds a creamy texture to the stew while keeping it vegan-friendly. One 13.5 oz can is all you need.

  • Creamy Peanut Butter: This gives the stew its trademark nutty flavor. Opt for an unsweetened variety with no added oils.

Aromatics and Spices:

  • Onion: A staple in many dishes, onions add depth and complexity to this recipe. Use one large onion that has been peeled and chopped.

  • Jalapeno Pepper: These will add some heat to the dish but not too much that it’s overpowering. Finely chop one for this recipe.

  • Garlic Cloves: No savory recipe is complete without garlic! Use fresh garlic cloves for best results.

  • Ginger: Fresh ginger root gives the stew its earthy, warm undertones. Peel one 1-inch piece and use ginger paste as an alternative.

  • Tomato Sauce & Diced Tomatoes: Two canned tomatoes add body and texture to the curry sauce.

  • Vegetable Broth: One cup of vegetable broth enhances the flavors of other ingredients in the stew while keeping it vegan friendly.


  • Curry Powder: The combination of bold spices like turmeric, cumin, coriander, cardamom, among others, makes curry powder a pantry essential!

  • Ground Coriander & Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: Add extra flavor and spice to your peanut curry with these additions.


  • Adding a pop of freshness on top of your bowl never hurts; garnish your Vegetarian Peanut Curry (African Inspired) Recipe with cilantro and lime wedges for some extra flavor.

Note: If you plan to cook brown rice to serve along with the stew, make sure you have some cooked brown rice on hand (1/2 – 3/4 cups per serving).

The Recipe How-To

 This deliciously creamy curry is packed with nutritious veggies and plant-based protein.
This deliciously creamy curry is packed with nutritious veggies and plant-based protein.

Now, it is time for the main event. Let’s dive into how to make this Vegetarian Peanut Curry recipe come to life.


To begin, let’s gather all of our ingredients:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
(2) 15 oz cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
3 cups vegetable broth
1//3 cup creamy peanut butter (make sure it’s vegan-friendly if needed)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 cups kale, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Salt, to taste

Let’s Get Cooking

First, start with heating the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once heated, add the onions, carrots, and jalapeno pepper. Cook for 5 minutes or until they are tender.

Now, add garlic and ginger paste. Cook for an additional minute while stirring frequently so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. Next, add coriander powder and cook everything for another minute until fragrant. This will really bring out all the different flavors.

Add crushed red pepper flakes, canned garbanzo beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and vegetable broth to the pot. Mix everything together until well-combined.

Now, it is time to add creamy peanut butter! Simply stir in the peanut butter until it melts completely into the stew. Add golden raisins and cubed sweet potatoes next.

Finally, add chopped kale leaves into the pot as well. Cover with a lid and let everything simmer for about 25 – 30 minutes or until both sweet potatoes and kale leaves become soft.


Once ready to serve your masterpiece stew, sprinkle some chopped fresh cilantro on top for added freshness!

Serve hot on its own or with some freshly cooked brown rice on the side for a heartier meal.

Enjoy every bite of this African-inspired Vegetarian Peanut Curry!

Substitutions and Variations

 Smells so good, you'll want to dive in before it's even cooked!
Smells so good, you’ll want to dive in before it’s even cooked!

In the world of cooking, there are always opportunities for improvisation and adaptation. Perhaps you’re looking to bring your own spin to this recipe or just want to adjust some ingredients to your taste preferences or dietary restrictions. Whatever the case may be, here are a few substitutions and variations for this vegetarian peanut curry recipe that you can try out:

– Instead of chickpeas, you can use other types of beans such as kidney beans, black beans or lentils. They will add more fiber and texture to the dish.

– If you’re not a fan of spicy food but still want the flavor depth from jalapeño peppers, feel free to remove its seeds before dicing or swap it with a less hot pepper like poblano or bell peppers.

– You can play around with the vegetables too. Any root or hardy vegetables like cauliflower, butternut squash, zucchini or eggplant make great candidates in this stew. Just adjust their cooking time according to their texture and density.

– If you cannot find creamy peanut butter, you can use almond butter or cashew butter instead. The choice is yours.

– For a gluten-free option, substitute regular soy sauce with tamari or coconut aminos. And if you prefer your curry spicier, add more crushed red pepper flakes and ground coriander to the mix.

– In case you want to dress up this stew even further, top it with freshly chopped cilantro leaves and lime wedges before serving. You can also add a dollop of nonfat yogurt on top for an extra tangy flavor.

Remember that experimentation is often the key to discovering new spins on tried-and-true recipes such as peanut curry. So don’t be afraid to dig deep into your pantry and experiment!

Serving and Pairing

 Peanut butter lovers, this one's for you.
Peanut butter lovers, this one’s for you.

When it comes to serving and pairing this African-inspired Vegetarian Peanut Curry, there are many options that will compliment the flavors of the dish. The creamy, savory, and slightly spicy notes in this stew pair well with a variety of sides and drinks, making it easy to customize to your liking.

One classic pairing for this dish is cooked brown rice. The fluffy grains absorb the flavor of the curry sauce and provide a hearty base for the dish. I recommend using brown rice for its nutty flavor and healthier nutritional profile.

Another option would be to serve the peanut curry with a side of steamed vegetables such as broccoli or cauliflower. This not only adds some extra nutrients but also provides a refreshing contrast to the warm and filling stew.

If you’re looking for a gluten-free option, roasted sweet potato wedges make a delicious addition to this dish. The sweetness of the potato pairs perfectly with the savory flavors of the peanut curry, while also providing a crispy texture.

To finish off the dish, top each serving with chopped cilantro or non-fat yogurt for an extra burst of freshness. Squeeze a lime wedge over it all for a citrusy twist that brings everything together.

When it comes to pairing drinks with this dish, opt for a light-bodied beer such as an amber ale or wheat beer. The mild hoppy flavors in these beers balance out the spiciness of the curry without overwhelming your palate. Alternatively, try sipping on an iced tea or lemonade to cool down your taste buds after enjoying a bowl of this hearty vegan stew.

No matter how you choose to serve this West African-inspired peanut curry, be prepared for a flavorful ride that will tantalize your taste buds!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 A satisfying and flavorful meal perfect for any occasion.
A satisfying and flavorful meal perfect for any occasion.

Preparing meals ahead of time can be a real lifesaver when you’re pressed for time. Luckily, this Vegetarian Peanut Curry recipe can be made up to 2 days in advance, saving you time and hassle on busy days.

To make ahead, simply prepare the curry as directed and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When you’re ready to eat, reheat gently in a large saucepan or microwave until piping hot.

If you have any leftovers from this hearty stew, they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for later use. To freeze, transfer the cooled stew into a freezer-safe container or plastic bag and label with the date. Frozen peanut curry can be stored for up to 3 months.

When reheating frozen peanut curry, defrost overnight in the refrigerator and reheat gently in a saucepan or microwave. Be sure to cook until piping hot throughout before serving.

But keep in mind that reheating the curry might cause it to thicken, so feel free to add a splash of vegetable broth or coconut milk to thin it out before serving.

With these storing and reheating tips, you can easily enjoy this delicious African-inspired meal without spending all your precious time in the kitchen.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Spicy but not overpowering, this curry is a crowd-pleaser for everyone from the spice-curious to the heat seekers.
Spicy but not overpowering, this curry is a crowd-pleaser for everyone from the spice-curious to the heat seekers.

To make this Vegetarian Peanut Curry a recipe that everyone will talk about, I want to share with you my tips for achieving perfect results every time. These are the tricks and techniques that I’ve learned over years of experimentation and practice with making peanut curries.

Firstly, when cooking this recipe, take your time with the onions, carrots, and garlic. Soften them slowly over medium heat and stir them frequently until they become very tender. Doing so helps to develop the flavors and ensures that no bitter aftertaste remains.

Another tip is to use only high-quality ingredients. I always recommend using organic produce when possible, as these fruits and vegetables don’t contain any harmful pesticides or additives. Also, be sure to use natural peanut butter without any additional sugar or oils, and opt for full-fat coconut milk for a creamier texture.

When incorporating the tomato paste into the dish, be sure to cook it thoroughly to avoid any metallic or bitter taste that can arise from uncooked tomato paste. Use a wooden spoon that doesn’t react with acidity.

If you are using a slow-cooker or simmering the curry on low-heat on the stove, add chickpeas towards the end of cooking time to prevent them from becoming mushy. Additionally, always cover the pot when cooking low and slow so that water is not lost during cooking.

Finally, don’t be afraid to adjust seasoning as necessary. Add extra sea salt or crushed red pepper flakes based on your personal preferences. Garnish each bowl with fresh cilantro leaves and squeeze in some lime juice for some added brightness.

With these tips in mind, your Vegetarian Peanut Curry will be a triumph- fragrant, hearty, and mouthwateringly delicious dish that showcases the beauty of plant-based cuisine inspired by West African flavors.


By now, you may have developed an appetite for this Vegetarian Peanut Curry Recipe with African inspiration but still have a few questions lingering. In this section, I have taken the most frequently asked questions about the recipe and answered them for you. So, let’s dive in!

Why is it called African peanut stew?

This flavorful sauce has its origins in Mali and is known as “domodah” or “tigadegena” in the Mandinka and Bamanankan languages, respectively. Its name translates to “peanut butter sauce” in English, reflecting its key ingredient.

What is the origin of Maafe?

Mafé is a popular West African meal that typically features meat cooked in a scrumptious peanut or peanut butter sauce and served alongside rice or couscous. Its origin can be traced back to Mali and gradually became a favorite in Senegal and the Gambia, thanks to the push to increase groundnut production during the colonial era.

What is peanut curry made of?

Get ready for a mouth-watering experience with this flavorful peanut curry recipe. This vegan dish showcases an exciting blend of Thai spices, featuring sweet potatoes, carrots, red peppers, and kale, all cooked together in a creamy sauce made of red Thai curry paste, peanut butter, and coconut milk. For a perfect meal, serve the curry with some fluffy basmati rice or fiber-rich cauliflower rice. Trust me, it’s going to be love at first bite!

Where did West African peanut stew originate?

Stews made with peanuts have been a popular dish in West Africa for centuries. Maafe, a particular type of peanut stew, is believed to have originated from the Mandinka and Bambara ethnic groups in Mali long before the introduction of peanuts from the New World in the 16th century.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this African inspired Vegetarian Peanut Curry is a dish full of rich, creamy flavors that will tantalize your taste buds. With its blend of spices, ginger paste and garlic cloves, you won’t be able to resist the aroma it creates in your kitchen. You will also be pleased to know that this recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and made with healthy ingredients like sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and kale.

Not only is this dish delicious and healthy, but it is also easy to make. Whether you are cooking for a big group or just for yourself, this recipe can easily be scaled up or down according to your needs. You can even make it ahead of time and store it in the freezer for a quick dinner on a busy weeknight.

This Vegetarian Peanut Curry is a must-try recipe that is certain to become a favorite in your kitchen. So go ahead and give it a try today!

Vegetarian Peanut Curry (African Inspired)

Vegetarian Peanut Curry (African Inspired) Recipe

Created for the Dining on a Dollar contest. At first this was inspired by Senegalese peanut soup which has Asian influences but it evolved more into a South African curry with the addition of dried fruit which is optional if you don't like fruit in your curry. This turned out very flavorful and filling. The peanut butter is an undertone and not overpowering. It's packed full of good fats, fiber and protein. I made this Vegetarian but you could easily add chicken broth and chicken. I made this mild but you could increase the chilies to spice it up. Next time I may try chopped fresh tomatoes and green onions on top. Enjoy!
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Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine African
Servings 10 cups
Calories 507.7 kcal


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 -2 jalapeno, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, fresh grated or 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 lime, zest of
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder (I think this would work with almost any type but I used Madras)
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans vegetable broth
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 (13 1/2 ounce) can coconut milk
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (chickpeas)
  • 1/2 cup dried apricot, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup golden raisin (optional)
  • sea salt, to taste (I used 2 tsp)
  • cooked brown rice, to serve
  • nonfat yogurt, to serve
  • cilantro, chopped, to serve


  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add onion, carrots and jalapeno and sauté until almost soft about 8 minutes.
  • Add garlic, ginger and lime zest and sauté another 3 minutes.
  • Add spices and sauté until fragrant.
  • Stir in broth, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and bring to a boil.
  • Stir in peanut butter, reduce heat and simmer until it melts.
  • Stir in coconut milk, garbanzo beans and dried fruit and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • Salt to taste.
  • Put cooked brown rice in bowls and ladle curry over rice. Top with a dollop of yogurt and cilantro.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 339gCalories: 507.7kcalCarbohydrates: 65.2gProtein: 13gFat: 24.3gSaturated Fat: 10.7gSodium: 600.3mgFiber: 9.3gSugar: 32.1g
Keyword < 30 Mins, African
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