07 December 2006

African-Inspired Quinoa Peanut Soup

I thought I'd share this recipe today since I made it for the second time last night and really enjoyed it once again. This is African-Inspired (but not) Quinoa Peanut Soup from Nava Atlas' soup book. I seriously love this book, I have the newer all-vegan version. I tend to modify from it, but come on, what cookbook don't I do that from (maybe Dreena's?!). Anyway, this soup is more like a stew or a hearty protein-filled all-in-one bowl of goodness.

I created the soup the first time with a few modifications, specifically the following: I added paprika to the recipe, about a teaspoon. I also added a bunch of red pepper flakes to oomph up the spice. I didn't have zucchini and I didn't care, so I subbed one green thing for another, using a small bell pepper. I also had a yam instead of sweet potato, but at this point I am so confused as to what's what, I don't care what it is called... they are good, both yams and sweet potatoes. Finally, the last and what I think is the most important modification, is that I used a lot (like, a real lot, for me) of salt and pepper. I probably used at least a teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper (maybe more?) and at least 1-1.5 teaspoons of salt. The boullion I use is low-sodium, so that could be the reason I added more salt. Anyway, I swear, it's the salt that perks it up, which is weird because I usually don't say that about salt and spices. So, those were my modifications and it came out really earthy and good.

I like how this soup is creamy from the peanut butter and not runny because of the quinoa and at the same time it has a nice kick of spice. I like peanut butter with spicy foods, sort of reminding me of a Thai dipping sauce, but not. It is more like a regular veggie soup, just with a hint of pb kicked in. Vicki posted about this soup one time and said she didn't really care for it. I wonder if it was the spices (or just not a soup for her). She posted about this around the time when I first made this. I was hesitant during the cooking because it was a different recipe by a longshot than what I am used to... stirring peanut butter into a stew that seems to be "done" already? But that was the best part, seriously, this soup rocks! I made this soup again last night and used pretty much the same modifications:
I didn't have as chunky peanut butter. I grinded my own at the co-op yesterday and it was pretty smooth. I enjoyed it better the first time (peanut-wise) with more chunks. Yesterday I didn't add a green bell pepper, instead I added red and yellow and a few local green chilis. Yum! I also think I had a yam again, but I am still confused. All of these photos you see are from round one. I took photos last night but they pretty much look the same... just with more red and yellow. I highly suggest trying this soup. The flavors are unique and interesting and very tasty.


Julie said...

So fancy! Looks yummy--I want some!

Anonymous said...

This definitely sounds like a soup I would love. Although I pretty much scarf down anything with peanut butter in it.

Anonymous said...

looks so creamy and good!

Dori said...

The soup looks good enough to try sometime. What are the cookies along side of it, they look pretty?

Sorry about the frightening picture of the inside of my oven, I hope it didn't cause you any flashbacks.

Kris said...

Les, that looks so good! I've always wanted to try something more African inspired. I was always curious, but freaked out about the peanut butter concept, but now that you mention it, I've been eating peanut Thai stuff, so it's no biggie!

Looks so great! I love your bowl/plate set up, too.

Chris said...

I'm really digging Nava's soup book too and I was just eyeing that recipe the other day. Now I must definitely try it...

Urban Vegan said...

We have our first snow flurries of the season right now in Philly--and I really want a bowl of that African sunshine.

aTxVegn said...

I think the soup looks and sounds really good - quinoa, sweet potatoes, and pb - all great ingredients. I like eating something different on occasion.

I bought a Japanese white yam from the asian market. It's delicious and very white.

Have you tried the minestrone soup from Nava's book or do you have a fave minestrone recipe?

bazu said...

I prefer savory things (like soup) with peanut butter in them over sweets with peanut butter. I'm not a big chocolate/peanut butter lover, for example. I know this puts me in the minority! But your soup looks wonderful. Why don't I have that cookbook yet??

And I love your soup bowl and plate! ;-)

Eat Peace Please said...

Julie, ok... we talked about this already. In fact, you commented while we were talking!

Crystal, if you'll scarf down anything with PB, this one's for you. I really like how unique it is. I know I keep saying unique, I just don't know what to call it. Try it and help me with an adjective.

Johanna, it is so creamy and good, you are right.

Dori, the crackers are Mary's Gone Crackers. They are usually quite expensive (over $4 I think) and were on sale at our co-op. They are wonderful, wheat free (gluten free), made with flax, quinoa, all organic and just awesome! Super-crispy and heatlhy... And about the oven photo you posted: I only had good flashbacks from viewing it, no worries!

Kris, the whole time I was eating it I was trying to put my finger on what to relate it to, the oomph of spice and the PB blended in. The only thing close, but not right on is Thai peanut, and if you like that, you'll probably like the soup.

Chris, I had my eye on the recipe for a few weeks before I tried it. I'm glad I did (you should too).

Urban Vegan, this is a warm, filling, nutritious bowl and jam-packed with protein. Good for snow or anytime, really.

Diann, I'd love to see what the white yam looks like and what you do with it. How neat to hear of (now I'm gonna look for it). I have only peeked at the ministrone recipe, it sounds good, I like ministrones. And NO, I do not have my own recipe. I tried to make one a few times and they pretty much all suck (my own recipes). I think I'm going to try it soon now that you mention it.

Bazu, I don't know why you don't have the cookbook yet either. Maybe beacause you and Daiku make good stuff on your own, just made up. Either way, the book is wonderful if you like PB like this, you'll like the soup. I used to prefer chocolatey stuff and PB but these flavors are growing on me.

Candi said...

That sounds like a great soup to try!! I will definitely try it. The two soups I have made from that cookbook (Chickpea tahini, and morrocan chickpea and lentil) were both great!!!

Yours look so fancy with the crackers and cute dish and bowl combo!! Very nice. I'll definitely make this one!

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

I would love a bowl of that soup right now. So just bring it to Portland okay?

Vanessa (of vanesscipes) said...

I second! it looks wonderful and since quinoa and peanut butter are probably my two favorite foods I've got to try it!

maybepigscanfly said...

I commented earlier, but blogger must not have saved it- so I'll try again.

This soup looks super yummy. I'm always trying to find new ways to eat quinoa. (I keep hearing about Nava's books and think I should pick hers up- what is the name of the one you are talking about?)

Do you think it would be wierd to make this soup with almond butter instead of peanut butter?

I'm right there with you on the sweet potato/ yam thing. I'm always asking people if they now the difference and no one ever seems to have an answer for me- so I guess we aren't the only confused ones.

I love those Mary's Gone Crackers that you have next to the soup. Very differnt from "regular" crackers, but still good and super healthy! My favorite kind is the cardamom!


laura jesser said...

Spicy peanut butter sauce--I love the combination of those flavors too. All your modifications sound like just what I would have done! I am in love with homemade soup... Those crackers look great too!

Anonymous said...

OK - I've really got to uy that cookbook!

Those crackers on the side look very good.

Patty said...

That looks really good, its chilly here tonight and soup seems the perfect meal. I will have to see about getting hold of that book so I can make some too.

Brooke said...

This soup sounds so unique and yummy!

From your comment on my blog...nope, I haven't checked out the new coop yet, but plan to asap! :-)

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

Okay, I still want some soup, and where's our more frequent posting, lady? Seasons' greetings....bring it on!


VeganCyclist said...

hey, what city are you near? I want to get my sister and bro. in law a GC for a good veg. resturaunt in Arizona, somewhere near either Tucson or Phoenix/Mesa--Do you know of any good ones?

VeganCyclist said...

THANKS for your response. I've decided to go with Green, it sounded the most OMNI friendly. --you've been a huge help!

SandraTee said...

I recently made this soup and posted a picture on my blog too - yum - I will make it again!

Jody from VegChic said...

Wow, that soup does sound great. I'll add it to my "try list".

I've got a tomato soup that I'd like to try first and then this one is next up.

I love Mary's crackers too, but they are indeed expensive. When they are on sale, I always buy a package.

Will said...

Here's another really good African peanut soup recipe I've had for a while.
My mom (non-vegan) likes it a lot.

African Peanut soup:
2 cups choopped onions
1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp grated fresh ginger root (peeled) -- I usually use 2
1 cup chopped carrots
2 cups chopped sweet potatoes
4 cups vegie stock

2 cups tomato juice
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon sugar (ooptional)
1 cup chopped scallions or chives.

Saute the onions in the oil until just translucent. Stir in the cayenne
and the ginger. Add the carrots and saute a couple more miutes. Mix in
the potatoes and stock or water, bring the soup to a boil, and then simmer
for about 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender. In a blender or
food processor puree the vegetables with the cooking liquid and the tomato
juice. Return the puree to the soup pot. Stir in the peanut butter until
smooth. Taste the soup. Its sweetness will depend upon the sweetness of
the carrots and sweet potatoes. You can add the sugar if you want. Reheat
the soup gently so that you don't scorch the bottom. Use the chives or
scallions to top it off.

Carrie™ said...

Sounds incredibly delicious!

Candi said...

It's so cold out here (well, for me!) that I have to make this soup. It looks really good and I have to run out and get a few ingredients before I can try it! :)

Hope you had a great holiday!

Fiber said...

I absolutely love quinoa, and this recipe looks like it makes good use of it. I also adore the bowl and plate set.

Have a very Happy New Year!!

Peace, Love and Veganism said...

Just thought everyone would like to know that Mary's Gone Crackers are under $4 at Amazon.com! I think I may have to order some right now - they look so good! I also love the soup recipe - looks great! I always seem to be making peanut or coconut flavored soups and stews. Just love 'em!

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

(I know this is late...) I'm glad you like the soup!! I contributed the recipe to Nava's book when she saw I'd posted it over at Veggieboards. http://tofu-n-sproutz.blogspot.com/2007/01/quinoa-peanut-veggie-soup-from-africa.html I honestly wasn't sure anyone would like it except me...