West African Sweet Potato Soup

If you’ve never had sweet potatoes and peanut butter together, you might think this gluten free soup is a bit unusual.  But its rich quick-to-make goodness will win you over.   My entire family loves it.

Preparation Time: 30-40 minutes
Serves 6

  • 1 large sweet potato, cubed
  • 3 cups water

Bring water to boil in a large pot. Peel and cube sweet potato, adding to the water once it comes to boil. When water returns to a boil, turn heat down to medium, and let potatoes simmer for 10-15 minutes as you complete the next steps of the recipe.

  • 1/2 of a large onion, minced
  • 1 cup fresh green beans, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

While sweet potatoes are cooking, chop onions and green beans.  Melt butter and oil in a medium skillet on high. Add onions and let cook, stirring frequently, until onion is wilting and getting browned bits, about 3 minutes. Add green beans and continue cooking on high for 3-5 minute more, until beans soften and start to get some browned bits. Then scoop onion and green beans into the pot with the sweet potatoes and continue simmering soup on medium low.

In a blender combine the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups pureed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • ¼-½ teaspoon cayenne, depending on how much heat you like

Puree until mixture is smooth and thick. If it gets too thick to process well, take a ladle or two of water out of your sweet potato pot and pour it into the blender. When the contents of the blender looks creamy and well mixed, add it to the simmering sweet potato/onion mixture.  Stir to combine and let simmer on medium low for 5-10 more minutes to combine flavors.
Serve with good bread and a salad.


  1. I can’t wait to try this yummy looking dish! Thanks for sharing!

  2. mmm. . . sounds good. I’m going to try it and see if my little Liberians like it!

  3. My family will love this — thanks! I bet it would also work with butternut squash in place of the sweet potatoes.

  4. This sounds yummy, although I can bet my son won’t be so excited. Tough! If I use thawed frozen green beans rather than fresh, I would just reduce the cook time a little for them, right?

  5. Looks excellent, I can’t wait to try it. I’ve never had anything but success with your recipes Mary so looking forward to this one.

  6. Carol the longwinded says:

    Oh MARY! You have made me so very happy! I made this year’s ago when I did a big Tanzanian dinner (based on a wonderful picture book called My Rows and Piles of Coins – teaches multiplication, work ethic, caring for your family etc) and my oldest said “The food in this book looks so good. I wish we could eat it.” So I made an 8 course meal. Ha! Anyway, to everyone that reads this – this soup is good for what ails you! perfect in the winter!

  7. I made this soup yesterday, because we always have these ingredients in stock. And yes, it was delightful! Thank you, Mary, this recipe is now included in my repertoire (along with quite a few from your Family Feast book, by the way).

  8. thriftymomma says:

    I made this soup last night in the middle of canning. It was tasty and easy. Thanks!

  9. We’ve made a similar dish many times, only no green beans, and I make it thicker and serve it over rice. So good! It’s nice to know someone else likes it, too!

  10. Can’t wait to try this! Love when I see “gluten free” in the title.

  11. I just finished making this for dinner tonight. Delicious! Thank you!

  12. We lived in west Africa for 5 years and my family loves West African food. I can’t wait to try this! Thank you for sharing it!

  13. I made this soup for a church group (triple recipe) and they all loved it and so did I. Thank you so much for a very unique and tasty dish!


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