African peanut and sweet potato soup

africanpeanutsoup1I love the vibrant color of this soup; the orange intensity and satisfying ingredients really perk me up during some of those grueling days in the lab. I’ve been playing around a bit with the wonderful orange treats that nature has to offer, and this recipe includes 3: orange bell peppers, carrots, and sweet potatoes. I had always wanted to try making an African peanut soup after an awesome vegetarian chef named Carla made a challenge-winning version on one of my favorite shows, Top Chef. It sounds like an odd combination, yet I promise it works together! And despite the fact that this soup is vegan and gluten free (which I didn’t even realize until it came time to categorize my recipe, which is a fun surprise), it’s a very hearty and filling soup, especially scooped up with some homemade sourdough bread. It was oh so satisfying on one of those cold and snowy Boulder nights.

Ingredients

  • 4 T olive oil
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 2 orange bell peppers, chopped
  • 4-5 tsp fresh minced ginger
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 2 sweet potatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup unsweetened natural peanut butter
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • cilantro for garnish

Instructions

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sautee the carrots, bell peppers, onions, ginger and garlic for about 10 minutes or until beginning to soften. I added about a half tsp of salt to the veggies to help them cook down faster. Add the spices and sweet potatoes, then the can of tomatoes (including the juice) and vegetable broth. Raise the heat to bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are thoroughly cooked through, about 20-30 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup to your desired consistency. Finally add in peanut butter, brown sugar, and vinegar and stir together well. Add a few turns of freshly ground black pepper and up to a teaspoon of additional salt (slowly, to taste! I used unsalted peanut butter so this may vary). Finally, serve garnished with cilantro.

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