Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew with Kale

Here’s a fabulous Sweet Potato recipe from one of our favorite cookbooks (and websites) Food52 Vegan.  The combination of peanuts, sweet potatoes and kale may seem odd, but I’m telling you…they “play well together”!

Author Note: This recipe is a cold-weather favorite from my column at Food52…sweet potatoes, red lentils, and tomatoes are simmered with ginger, cumin and other spices.  But what really makes this dish sing is the peanut butter, with its creamy texture and distinctive aroma…red lentils are a handy thickener for soups and stews, they cook up so quickly and become so soft that they sometimes disintegrate into the soup with no pureeing.


Photo from Food 52 by James Ransom


(serves 4)


  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes (about two large), chopped into 1 inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed well
  • 3 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped (or 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth + more as needed
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 4 cups finely chopped curly kale
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions, green parts only
  • 1/4 cup roasted, salted peanuts, chopped

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot set on medium heat. Add the onion and begin saute until the onion starts to become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger, and saute until the garlic is fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Add the sweet potatoes, lentils, tomatoes, salt, cumin, cinnamon, tumeric and a pinch or two of cayenne and stir to combine.

2. Add the 4 vegetable broth.  If there isn’t enough broth to cover everything by at least 1 inch, add more broth as needed.  Stir well and bring to a boil.  Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes and lentils are very tender, 40 to 45 minutes, adding more broth as needed if the stew gets too dry.

3. Add the peanut butter and stir until evenly incorporated. Using an immersion blender (or using a regular blender and working in batches) blend until about half pureed, with some texture remaining.  It should be creamy but still have visible chunks of sweet potato.

4. Stir in the kale and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is tender.  Season with pepper, then taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. Serve topped with the green onions and peanuts.