Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Comfort and Spice and Everything Nice: Peanut Tomato Soup

Fact: I love potlucks. I am slightly addicted to potlucks. In my ideal world, every day would be a potluck.

Fact: I love peanut butter. I love cooking with peanut butter, and sometimes (read: way too frequently) just eat it straight out of the jar by the spoonful. In my ideal world, every meal would involve peanut butter.

Fact: I love soup. I usually have at least three varieties of soup in my freezer. In my ideal world, I would make soup every single day.

Can you see where this is heading?

Yesterday, I had a little potluck with some friends who stayed in town for reading week. This potluck included my usual group of excellent cooks, along with a few new people. This new blood taught us important things like what a man salad is (bacon and garlic are key), that delicious crêpes can be made by anglophones in residence kitchens (who knew?), and that if you don't specify a time people will text you at 8pm after you have all eaten asking what time they should head over. Oops.

The soup that I made was spicy, warming, and flavourful - and healthier than eating my peanut butter straight. It was also a good dish to make while scrambling to tackle the mountains of dirty dishes and the laundry hanging in my living room before my guests arrived.

This recipe was inspired by Cookie and Kate's West African Peanut Soup, which I have been dying to make ever since I discovered that you can, in fact, put peanut butter in soup.

  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 jars strained crushed tomatoes (about 50oz)
  • 2 tbsp harissa (or one, if you are sensitive to spice)
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp ginger (I freeze mine and then grate it)
  • 1 jalapeno, de-seeded and chopped
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped and de-stemmed
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup peanuts, broken into medium pieces
  1. In a large pot, combine vegetable broth, tomatoes, and harissa.
  2. Bring to a boil, and stir in peanut butter. Turn down heat and leave soup to simmer. Stir occasionally.
  3. Stir in spices.
  4. Place coconut oil in a skillet, and add onions once oil has melted. Saute for a few minutes, and then add garlic and jalapeno. Grate ginger into the skillet, and continue to stir until onions start to brown.
  5. Add contents of the skillet to the pot, along with the kale, chickpeas, and cilantro. Stir.
  6. Let simmer while stirring occasionally for about 10-15 minutes, or until your potluck guests show up. Serve topped with peanuts.
Note: Peanut butter takes a lot of stirring to dissolve, and I found it easier to mix when I took out a bowl of the hot liquid, stirred in the peanut butter, and then poured the peanut butter mixture back into the pot.

Pro tip: If you are wondering if harissa is spicy, it is. I would not recommend eating a spoonful to try to determine the spice level. This is a very, very bad idea and may or may not lead to tears.


  1. Sounds delicious, thanks for sharing.


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