It finally feels like a Winter Day in Southern California. 50 degree high! The perfect day to try a new soup recipe.
I made the change to whole food, plant-based eating nine months ago and while it's had its challenges, the rewards have been greater. The challenges have been to break the Meat, Carb, Veggie meal habit I was in for 50 years, to Carb and Veggie only, minus dairy. Also, I no longer think of carbs as the enemy. In fact, they are my newbff's.
The fun part of teaching myself to cook differently is the ethnic dishes I've discovered. Today, it's African Peanut Soup. Oh my gosh, the spices! I love the way our house smells as I broaden my culinary horizons.
The health benefits of eating whole food, plant-based, for me, have included more energy, weight control (12 lb weight loss initially), Triglycerides dropped by 60 in 3 months, improved cholesterol levels too. My skin looks better as a result of the new way of eating; It's more clear and eye puffiness has lessened--once again proving it's not only what you puton your body, but what you put in your body that improves how you look.
This African Peanut Soup is my adaptation of another recipe I found at the blog Scaling Back.
I made a number of changes but started with their recipe--
1/2 large sweet onion, diced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
pinch of ground cloves
3 tablespoons tomato paste
7 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 large Asian purple sweet potato (or regular sweet potato), cubed
1/2 cup sweet peas - optional (original recipe called for collard greens)
1 can garbanzo beans, drained* optional
1/2 cup brown rice (frozen pre-made in bag-cooked according to directions)
2 tbls chopped cilantro
A few chopped peanuts to top
In large pot or dutch oven over medium heat, add onion and ginger and cook 4-5 minutes until onion softens. Add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes. Add all seasonings and tomato paste. Cook until everything begins to smell toasty and fragrant.
Add vegetable stock and stir well to combine. In a small bowl add the peanut butter along with a cup of stock (from pot) and mix well until smooth. Add peanut butter mixture to pot along with tomatoes and sweet potato. High simmer for 20 minutes - check your sweet potatoes to see if they are fork tender- if not, simmer another 5-10 min. Add peas and garbanzo beans and simmer another 5-7 minutes.
Important: At this point, taste the broth and make seasoning adjustments. I added more cinnamon and a little of my favorite curry blend. I felt it needed a little something more.
Top with cilantro, lime juice (this is super important) and peanuts.