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Vegan Slow Cooker Peanut Stew (Maafe-Inspired)

Slow cooker peanut stew is vegan comfort food at it’s finest! With chickpeas, sweet potatoes, and peanut butter, it’s inspired by the West African peanut stew, maafe. You can assemble this ahead and freeze as a crockpot freezer meal.


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Vegan freezer meals can be a challenge to find. Over the years, I’ve added some recipes to the site, including slow cooker butternut squash lentil curry and spicy slow cooker chickpea chili. This maafe-inspired slow cooker peanut stew is another favorite!

peanut stew in bowl with spoon, bread in background

Not only is it warm and cozy, but hearty and delicious! With sweet potatoes, chickpeas, peanut butter and spices…I know, that probably sounds like the most random assortment of ingredients but I promise you it all works together in this soup!

After cooking through, I mashed the sweet potatoes and it ended up thick and almost creamy. So delicious!






Reasons you’ll ♡ this recipe

  • it is made with wholesome, clean pantry ingredients
  • you can assemble it ahead and freeze
  • it is healthy, hearty and delicious!
  • it also happens to be vegan and gluten-free

Recipe video

Watch the video below to see exactly how I prepped this this recipe. It’s so easy! You can find more of my recipe videos on my YouTube channel.

What is Maafe?

Maafe is a popular West African stew that originated in Mali (1), but is also prepared in many other countries including (but not limited to) Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria and Mauritania (2). With a base consisting of tomatoes and ground nuts, maafe typically also contains meat, and is served with rice, couscous or sweet potatoes. Recipes vary greatly by chef and region, and can also include corn, peppers, paprika, carrots, onions and leafy vegetables.

For a traditional Maafe recipe + story on the cultural significance of this dish, check out this article.

My goal with this recipe was to honor the traditional flavors, while making it meat-free and slow cooker-friendly, making it easy to prepare in North American (US/Canada) kitchens. I hope this recipe can help introduce the flavors to new home cooks!

Ingredient notes

labeled ingredients required to make slow cooker peanut stew
  • sweet potatoes- cut them into larger chunks- 2 inches or so. I also recommend peeling them as they’ll mash into the soup better without the skins
  • chickpeas- use cooked chickpeas, whether from a can or homemade (I like these Instant Pot chickpeas)
  • stock- use vegetable stock to keep it vegan, or chicken stock if you aren’t
  • peanut butter- I tested this will all natural peanut butter- the only ingredients are peanuts (and occasionally salt). Processed nut butter can be sweet and might overpower this recipe.

Step by step directions

ingredients for peanut stew in the slow cooker before cooking

1. Combine ingredients- To the insert of a 5 quart or larger slow cooker, add the chickpeas, vegetable stock, salt, cumin, coriander, cayenne, diced tomatoes, sweet potatoes, peanut butter, onion, garlic and ginger. Stir to combine.

slow cooker with 6 hours programmed on display

2. Cook- Place the lid on your slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours.

hand holding fresh spinach

3. Add spinach- Add four handfulls of spinach to the slow cooker, then stir and put the lid back on. Set it to cook on high for 15 more minutes.

potato masher in slow cooker

4. Mash & serve- Using a potato masher, mash up the sweet potatoes to thicken the stew. This is not necessary, and you can skip this step if you’d prefer. Enjoy with bread for dunking!


FAQ

Can I cook this on the stove?

Yes! Reader Cindy successfully cooked it on the stove. I’m estimating you’ll need to simmer for 30 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are softened.

Can I cook this in the Instant Pot?

Yes! Readers Kavitha and Chloe successfully cooked it in the Instant Pot. I suggest using 5 minutes at high pressure with a 10 minute natural pressure release.

Can I freeze peanut stew?

Yes! You can freeze this stew before cooking (as a crockpot freezer meal) or afterwards. Freeze for up to 3 months.

ladle with peanut stew over slow cooker

Serving suggestions

Here are some extras readers have added when serving (you guys have the best ideas!):

  • toasted bread or naan bread
  • rice or quinoa
  • Greek yogurt, coconut yogurt, or sour cream
  • cilantro
  • sriracha
  • fresh peanuts
spoonful of peanut stew over blue bowl

Meal prep & storage

You can cook this recipe ahead and store, OR you can assemble ahead (no cooking), and freeze.

Leftovers

Cool completely, then portion out into meal prep containers (or keep in a large portion). Refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Reheat individual portions in the microwave, or heat larger portions in a pot on the stove over medium heat, until steaming hot.

Crockpot Freezer Meal

A crockpot freezer meal is assembled ahead without cooking, then frozen. To cook, you simply thaw, then dump into the slow cooker- no measuring!

Vegan Slow Cooker Peanut Stew (Maafe-Inspired)
  • assemble all ingredients except for the stock in a good quality gallon-sized freezer bag or 3 quart meal prep container.
  • squeeze out as much air as possible and freeze flat for up to 3 months
  • thaw completely before dumping into the slow cooker, adding the stock, and cooking as directed

overhead view of west african peanut soup in three bowls

More vegan slow cooker recipes

bowl of vegan slow cooker peanut stew

Print Recipe

Vegan Slow Cooker Peanut Stew (Maafe-Inspired)

Course: Dinner

Cuisine: African

Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian

Calories: 263kcal

Servings: 8

Slow cooker peanut stew is vegan comfort food at it’s finest! With chickpeas, sweet potatoes, and peanut butter, it’s inspired by the West African peanut stew, maafe. You can assemble this ahead and freeze as a crockpot freezer meal.

Prep Time15 mins

Cook Time6 hrs

Total Time6 hrs 15 mins

Instructions

  • Combine ingredients- To the insert of a 5 quart or larger slow cooker, add the chickpeas, vegetable stock, salt, cumin, coriander, cayenne, diced tomatoes, sweet potatoes, peanut butter, onion, garlic and ginger. Stir to combine.

  • Cook- Place the lid on your slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours.

  • Add spinach- Add four handfulls of spinach to the slow cooker, then stir and put the lid back on. Set it to cook on high for 15 more minutes.

  • Mash- Using a potato masher, mash up the sweet potatoes to thicken the stew. This is not necessary, and you can skip this step if you’d prefer.

  • Serve- Enjoy with bread for dunking, or one of the toppings suggested in note 1.

Notes

Note 1- serving suggestions: toasted bread or naan bread, rice or quinoa, Greek yogurt, coconut yogurt, or sour cream, cilantro, sriracha, fresh peanuts
Storage
Leftovers may be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. They can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Crockpot Freezer Meal

  1. Assemble all ingredients except for the stock in a good quality gallon-sized freezer bag.
  2. Squeeze out as much air as possible and freeze flat.
  3. Freeze for up to 3 months.
  4. Thaw completely before dumping into the slow cooker, adding the stock, and cooking as directed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/8 of batch | Calories: 263kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 807mg | Potassium: 613mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 9835IU | Vitamin C: 8.8mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 3mg












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