West African-Style Peanut and Okra Stew

West African Peanut Okra Stew

This peanut and okra stew is a westernized version of a typical African dish, made in various ways around the continent. I first made this stew as part of an “African feast” at my kids’ school some years ago in conjunction with a class project. Privately, I doubted that any of the kids, then third and fourth graders, would eat this. I couldn’t have been more mistaken! The kids not only loved making it, but every last drop was scraped from the huge pot. Recipe adapted from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky.

Serves: 6 to 8

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups shredded white cabbage
  • 2 medium-large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 15- to 16-ounce can diced tomatoes, with liquid
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, or more to taste
  • 2 cups trimmed and sliced fresh okra, or one 10-ounce package frozen sliced okra, thawed (see Note)
  • 2/3 cup smooth natural peanut butter
  • Cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, or Sriracha sauce, to taste
  • Salt to taste

Garnishes (optional):

  • Chopped scallions
  • Chopped peanuts

Heat the oil in a soup pot or steep-sided stir-fry pan. Add the onion and garlic and sauté over medium heat until the onion is golden.

Add the cabbage, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, ginger, and 3 cups water. Bring to a simmer, then simmer gently, covered, until the sweet potatoes and cabbage are nearly tender, about 15 minutes.

Add the okra, then stir in the peanut butter, a little at a time, until it melts into the broth. Stir in the cayenne or red pepper flakes, then simmer gently, covered, for 10 minutes longer, or until all the vegetables are tender. Add a bit more water if needed for a moist but not soupy consistency.

Season with salt, then serve in bowls over hot cooked rice. If desired, garnish each serving with chopped scallions and/or chopped peanuts.

Note: Okra may not be everyone’s favorite vegetable, but in this dish it is very good. However, if you truly want to avoid it, substitute a 10-ounce package of frozen cut green beans (or fresh green beans if in season—about 2 cups green beans cut into 2-inch lengths) for results that are equally delectable, if a bit less authentic.

Nutrition information:
Calories: 219; Total fat: 11 g;  Protein: 8 g; Fiber: 5.2 g; Carbs: 23 g; Sodium: 59 mg

West African Peanut Okra Stew recipe

West African Peanut Okra Stew recipe

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