Vegan Yam and Peanut Stew with Kale

Yam and Peanut Stew with Kale

All photos © Food52.

Well, it had to happen sooner or later: winter is upon us. As a self-proclaimed cold weather gal, I’m not complaining, though it did occur to me as I bundled myself into a parka at 6 am the other morning that my love of cold weather may be more ardent in theory than in practice. Regardless, when temperatures drop, I like to take refuge in warming spices and comforting foods. For me, comfort food is epitomized in the sweet, spicy, and nutritious vegan yam and peanut stew with kale that I’m sharing today on Food52.

The title of this post is a little misleading, since most of us who make this soup will do so with sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are moist, sweet root vegetables, while yams—native to many parts of Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean—are actually tubers, and have drier, starchier flesh. We call sweet potatoes yams in the US as a matter of convention, and I do it too, but it’s a slightly misleading moniker.

That said, yams and sweet potatoes have a lot of interchangeable properties in cooking, which means it’s easy to use sweet potatoes in place of yams when we explore hearty, fragrant West African recipes. Yam and peanut stew is traditionally attributed to West African cuisine, and it is one of my favorite vegan soups. The spices are alluring and the texture is hearty, but what I love most is the unusual pairing of tomatoes and peanut butter, which create a rich and delicious broth.

Yam and Peanut Stew with Kale

Though kale is not necessarily a traditional ingredient in the stew, I think it makes it all the more tasty and nutrient dense, so I always add some. You can explore my recipe for yam and peanut stew with kale—a vegan one pot wonder—over at Food52 today! Along with it, you’ll find some of my tricks of the trade for making vegan soups and stews sing. I hope you’ll all enjoy it, and be inspired to whip up something warming tonight!


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Categories: Stews
Method: One Pot, Stovetop
Ingredients: Kale, Sweet Potato
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, Soy Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: Meal Prep

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  1. Oh my goodness this stew is positively calling my name! I’m a total sucker for stews that have peanut butter and sweet potatoes/yams – it’s such a delicious combo. I will have to try this as soon as I can! Thanks Gena!

  2. This looks delicious Gena. I’ve long had my eye on a similar stew in my collection of recipes, but never gotten around to making it, sadly. The combo of peanut and tomatoes does seem intriguing! Sending you sunshine from the warmest weather in the country! aloha, Andrea

  3. I recently made African Peanut Stew from Vegetarian magazine and it was a big hit with the family. I never would’ve thought that veggies and peanuts were good together, but they are! I agree that the kale makes the stew, I like to add kale to everything.

  4. Thanks for the recipe. I found you through Food52. The whole family cleaned the plates (even 2y/o). The only thing I did different was putting dandelions leafs for the kale (didn’t have any, and it was to late to get more). Yum 🙂

  5. I’m glad to see such an awesome recipe! I have to say sometimes (like your last post) i wonder if i’ll be hungry again an hour later but this looks really hearty and comforting.
    Peanut butter and tomato are a great pair in soups! Best of luck with the rest of finals-

  6. Gena this looks great, I have some kale and sweet potato sitting in my kitchen and I was feeling a bit over all the usual recipes I make. This is perfect timing as we’re in summer now where I am, but tomorrow will be a slightly ‘cooler’ day for me to get one last cold weather stew in 🙂

  7. This looks so delicious and unique. I love the idea of adding peanuts to a yam dish, very creative. Kale in stew, mmm. I’ll be making this one!

  8. This looks fantastic! I’ve made a few stews that feature peanuts before, and I’ve loved them all. Definitely adding this to my to-cook list.

  9. Sound amazing!
    Because there are so powerful flavours in the recipe , can you still taste the PB very much?

  10. Sweet potato and peanut sounds like a perfect warming winter combination! Yay! 🙂 I also wanted to let you know that I made your coconut oil-cashew pumpkin pie for T-day dessert this year, and it worked out exceptionally well. Thank you!

  11. I’m loving your articles on Food52, and also am grateful for you introducing me to the site, which has some other fabulous recipes too.
    This stew is right up my street- hearty and rich with the red lentils and pb but with a nice little dose of green 🙂

    • I love Food52! And even though my column for them is dedicate vegan, they do have a ton of already vegan recipes.

  12. Oooo goodness this looks just wonderful for the wintertime. Where does one go about getting a real yam from? I’m assuming an African market would have it, but any other places? I always forget about red lentils in soups for some reason. Thanks fro this lovely recipe!

    • I assume the same, Lia, and specialty stores. I actually doubt I’ve had a real one, so I use “yam” somewhat incorrectly on my blog!

  13. Gena I’m loving this one! Earlier in the fall I made a roasted carrot and red pepper soup with peanuts and peanut butter and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I know you love your sweet potatoes and kale and this is so you – and I need to try it! Looks delish!

    • I remember seeing that soup and thinking it looked superb. I’m glad you like the recipe!

  14. My mouth is watering just looking at the photo… this is the perfect cozy meal on a snowy, cold winter day like it is here today!

  15. I’m not a cold weather gal! If it’s under 30, it might as well be Siberia for all my body can tell the difference. Warming foods do help, though.

  16. I have been DYING to try a peanut stew so this will be my test run and I’m sure it is amazing!!! (Native Foods makes a very great peanut stew here in LA)

  17. I recently started buying yams and much prefer their flavor to sweet potatoes. Alas, they are not the same (as I’ve been thinking all these years!). This recipe looks and sounds amazing! Perfect comfort food.

      • My weekly grocery store trip includes a visit to both Market Street (inexpensive organic produce and an organic store brand) and Whole Foods. Around Thanksgiving time, Market Street had a giant display of sweet potatoes for $.99/lb and a giant display of yams for $.99/lb. Side-by-side, they really do look different, and now I know that they taste different, too. It’s yams all the way for me, baby. I just love ’em!

  18. This looks delectable, Gena! I’m definitely going to add this to my list of soups and stews to make this winter. Alas, it’s still in the 80s here in Phoenix; this might appeal to some, but this vegan wants to sip hot cocoa by the fire!