West African Vegan Peanut Soup with Rice Balls
Having a West African background, peanut soup/stew (or groundnut soup as they say) was always a staple meal growing up.
My mother used to make this thick soup with all kinds of meats and seafood. However, since becoming vegan, it’s been a meal that I’ve missed dearly.
So I decided to take it upon myself to make an African vegan peanut soup recipe which is just as delicious as my mums original!
Usually, my mother would boil the onion and garlic in chicken or beef stock before blending it up and adding it back in the soup pot together with the rest of the ingredients.
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Taking advantage of a blender when preparing a classic African dish
I experimented with sautéing the vegetables in the soup pot first and adding the rest of the blended ingredients later. It seemed to work nicely while streamlining the cooking process.
This is a lovely authentic African meal, however, the way I’ve prepared it is quite similar to our Vegan Cauliflower and Potato Curry and our Leek and Mushroom Vegan White Sauce Fettuccine, where the blender is used to create the sauce, or in this case, the soup mix.
I had a couple of test runs to get the consistency right. I love this recipe because it’s super simple to make and you can easily make it in large quantities.
Feel free to experiment with different vegetables and soy products. You could even add cashews in towards the end if you want something crunchy in the soup.
Let your imagination run wild! I used zucchini and pumpkin because that’s what was available in our house 😉
African-style rice balls to accompany your vegan peanut soup
Another key addition to taking this recipe to another level is preparing the rice balls, which are called Omo tuo in Ghana.
It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but my wife Maša is disappointed if I don’t make the rice balls with the peanut soup. It’s just not the same.
Even though the balls look small, they are tightly rolled, so there’s quite a bit of rice in them. I highly recommend you prepare the balls for the full West African experience. I’ve included the instructions for the rice balls below 🙂
I’m looking forward to hearing what you think about this vegan peanut soup!
Other recipes you’ll love:
- Ghanaian Spinach Stew with Chickpeas (Vegan)
- Immune Boosting Bean Soup
- Vegan Black-Eyed Bean Stew
- Cauliflower Potato Curry with Coconut Milk
- Tikil Gomen (Ethiopian Cabbage & Potatoes)
- Vegan Gado Gado (Indonesian Salad with Peanut Sauce)
If you try this recipe, let me know! We’d love for you to leave a comment and rating below. If you want to go that extra mile, tag us on Instagram or share your photo of the recipe on Pinterest.Print
West African Vegan Peanut Soup with Rice Balls
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4
Enjoy this hearty African vegan peanut soup/stew with rice balls to get the full experience!
- 1 cup jasmine rice, rinsed and drained
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil (we use rice bran or grapeseed oil)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 zucchinis / courgettes
- ½ a large pumpkin
- 1 can /425g / 15 ounce diced tomatoes
- 4 heaped tablespoons unsweetened peanut butter
- 4 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups / 1-litre water (preferably filtered)
- Cook the jasmine rice following the instructions on the packet. However, add a ½ cup / 125ml of extra water.*
- In a large saucepan on low-medium heat, add the oil and the onion and cook for around 5 minutes.
- Chop the zucchinis and pumpkin into small wedges and add them to the saucepan.
- Add all of the soup mix ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
- Add the soup mix to the vegetables and stir well until combined.
- Continue to cook the soup on low to medium heat for 30 minutes and stir regularly until the soup starts to thicken.
- Take a serving spoon and mix and smash the rice until there is a smooth consistency.
- Scoop large portions of rice into a spoon and shape them into round balls using your hands. Tip: use dabs of cold water to bind the balls together.
- Serve with one rice ball on each plate and ladle some of the soup around it.
Water: You need extra water in the rice to make the texture softer to shape into rice balls. Alternatively, you can add more water once the rice is cooked.
- Diet: Vegan
Not vegan, but happy to try all these recipes. So versatile. A widow, so each recipe gets added to what meat I have on hand. Thank you
I hope you enjoy it! You’ll have plenty of leftovers 🙂
Super delicious the rice balls are so easy and soooo worth it. A definite hit.
So pleased to hear you enjoyed it, Julia! I refuse to eat this soup without the rice ball! haha Thank you for the review x
Is there a substitute for the zucchini? I am allergic to it but would like to try this recipe
Hi Jason, yes feel free to experiment with different vegetables. I’ve had the soup with broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, and pumpkin.
This looks wonderful!!!! We have severe peanut allergies in our family (anaphylactic reactions).
Can I use cashew butter instead of peanut butter and swap out any peanut oil for olive oil, or canola oil, or grape seed oil, or coconut oil, or quinoa sesame oil?
Also, I often have leftover kabocha squash, can I add it to this dish? I appreciate your advice.
Thank you very much, but
Hi Bunny! Hmm, I’ve never tried it with cashew butter, so I can’t confidently recommend it. You could certainly use kabocha squash or whatever veggies you’d like, and you can use any of the oils you’ve listed. Perhaps try with a different butter and see how it goes.
Super simple amazing flavour!
I made this dish for dinner and it was amazing. Simple ingredients. I had everything in my cupboard. So easy and really tasty. Also recommended serving with crushed roasted cashews. Thank you x
I made this today, including the rice balls. Didn’t have any pumpkin or squash to hand so used sweet potato. It was DIVINE!
Thank you for sharing it.
So happy to hear you enjoyed it!
At first I thought this was going to be like a curry but it’s more like a pumpkiny peanuty bowl of amazingness lol. You wouldn’t even be able to tell it’s vegan it’s so flavourful! Probably one of the first recipes I have actually followed by the book and not added anything else… oh and you definitely need to have the rice balls to go with it. I will be adding this to my go-to recipes!!
I’m used to making peanut soup with meat. Thanks to your inspiration, I tried this and wow! Delicious! Thank you.
I’m glad you enjoyed this vegan version! 🙂
I blanched then roasted some sugar pumpkin, tomatoes, peanuts, and parsnips, then blitzed them into a base with garlic and seasonings. added sautéed onions and chopped red peppers. salted to taste… topped at serving with a few blister peanuts (crunch!), a dusting of berbere and spiralized zucchini noodles.
That sounds delicious!
Would live to try this.
Can I swap peanut butter for sunflower seed butter?
Hi Kimya, we’ve never tried it with sunflower seed butter and wouldn’t recommend it as the recipe depends on the flavours and texture that peanut butter brings.
Really yummy recipe! Made this for my mom who’s temperamental to spice. This was flavorful but subtle. The peanut butter was just enough so don’t skimp on the amount. It gives such a creamy texture to the soup. I subbed the pumpkin with sweet potato.
Thanks for sharing! Glad you both enjoyed it 🙂 Next time, would you mind leaving a rating alongside your review? Star ratings really help us and readers who are thinking of making the recipe. Thank you!
Such an interesting recipe, will definitely make. Love anything with PB <3
The rice balls on top looks so very cute 🙂
Is it possible to swap the rice bran oil for peanut oil? I only have the latter at home.. feel like it might go with a peanut soup 😛
Hey Christine, yes of course 🙂 seems fitting!
My mouth is drooling. I can’t wait to make this! If you have anymore vegan Ghanaian recipes could you please share! I am originally from Ghana and have been vegan for 8 months now and I really miss many dishes that I had growing up.
Haha of course. We’ll be sharing everywhere we can. I’m so glad you’re finding some vegan-friendly versions of your childhood favourites. I’m still trying to perfect my jollof!
I love this recipe! Thank you so much! When I was little one of my mom’s friends came back from Africa and offered to make us a traditional African meal. I still remember it as one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Can’t wait to make this!
Awesome Kim! Hope this recipe matches your previous experiences 🙂
Yum…I love Ghana and I love “groundnut soup”! Will be making this soon.
Much love Julie! It’s a classic meal 🙂
Just had this for dinner – it was so simple, delicious and incredibly satisfying. I added tofu and substituted the pumpkin for buttercup squash since that’s what I had. Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe!
That’s great to hear Vincent! Thanks for leaving your feedback 🙂
Help please. I’m Just about to make this:
It says “add all ingredients in the soup to blender and blend until smooth” and then “add the soup mix to the vegetables”
What parts should be blended? It implies everything should be blended and then says the vegetables should be separate. What is being blended? The recipe is all vegetables.
Apologies with the wording. It was meant to read “add all of the soup mix ingredients into a blender”