Sunday, March 31, 2013

African Inspired Vegetarian Crockpot Soup with Peanut Butter, Chiles, Brown Rice, and Lentils

African-Inspired Vegetarian Crockpot Soup with Peanut Butter, Chiles, Brown Rice, and Lentils
African-Inspired Vegetarian Crockpot Soup with Peanut Butter, Chiles, Brown Rice, and Lentils for Meatless Monday.

(Updated with step-by-step photos and better pictures, March 2013.)  In Utah the spring weather can change in a minute, and I always like to have soup in the freezer for those days when the weather suddenly gets cold.  Before I moved I made this soup with Jake to reshoot the photos and had several containers in my freezer on moving day.  Sadly, that soup (and a whole cooler full of food) was ruined in one of those moving tragedies where something gets put in the wrong spot and isn't discovered for days.  On Saturday I had a few friends over for dinner, so I made more of this tasty soup, and now I'm happy to  have some in my freezer again!

The idea for a soup with peppers, tomatoes, chiles, and peanut butter came from the Crockpot African Peanut Soup at A Year of Slow Cooking, although I upped the spices a bit and added lentils.  With brown rice, lentils, and peanut butter, this soup is loaded with protein and flavor, and a crockpot with this simmering away would be great to come home to after a hard day at work.  This is my Meatless Monday soup for this week, and vegetable stock could certainly be substituted to make this a vegan recipe.  (You can find more meatless recipes by using the label Meatless Monday or checking Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index.  I'm also doing a meatless slow cooker recipe each Monday on Slow Cooker from Scratch.  For more Meatless Monday ideas from other bloggers, follow our Meatless Monday board on Pinterest, or check Meatless Monday at BlogHer.)

Chop up the onions, red bell pepper, and green onions, and mince the garlic. 

Add those ingredients to the slow cooker with the lentils, brown rice, stock, canned tomatoes and spices.  (Blogger oops; not all those ingredients were added yet when we took this photo.)

Cook on high for about 4 hours or on low for about 8 hours, or until the lentils and rice are well done.

Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cup of peanut butter.

Cook on low for about one more hour (or you can do 30 minutes on high if you're in a rush, but the peanut butter stays smooth better if you cook it on low.)  Serve hot, with sliced green onions for garnish if desired.

African Inspired Peanut Butter Soup
And just for fun, here's the original photo for this recipe that I took back in 2008.

African Inspired Vegetarian Crockpot Soup with Peanut Butter, Chiles, Brown Rice, and Lentils
(Makes 6-8 servings, recipe adapted by Kalyn from Crockpot African Peanut Soup; recipe originally found by Stephanie at AllRecipes.)

1 medium yellow onion, chopped in small pieces
1/4 cup sliced green onion
2 red bell peppers, seeds removed and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 T minced garlic (minced garlic from a jar is fine for this)
2 14 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
8 cups vegetable stock (or follow the original recipe and use 4 cups chicken stock and 4 cups beef stock if you don't care about making the vegetarian version)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 T Ancho chile powder
1 tsp. New Mexico chile powder
1 tsp. Aleppo pepper
(Use any combination of chile powders or spicy red pepper that you have if you don't have Ancho chile powder or Aleppo pepper)
1/2 cup uncooked brown lentils
1/4 cup uncooked brown rice
1 cup peanut butter (for South Beach Diet, be sure to choose natural peanut butter with no added sugar)

I used my favorite Crock-Pot 3-1/2-Quart Slow Cooker for this recipe.

Chop onions, green onion, bell peppers, and garlic and place in crockpot. Add canned tomatoes with juice, chicken and beef stock, ground cumin, Ancho chile powder, New Mexico chile powder, Aleppo pepper, lentils, and brown rice. Cook on high for about 4 hours or on low for about 8 hours. (If you're home you can stir it once or twice, but it's not essential.)

After 4 hours (on high) or 8 hours (on low), reduce heat to low and stir in peanut butter. Cook about one more hours. (Or do 30 minutes on high if you're in a hurry for dinner.) Serve hot.

This soup freezes well, and it's great to have on hand for those spring days that suddenly feel like winter.

Printer Friendly Recipe
South Beach Suggestions:
It's important to use natural peanut butter if you're making this soup for the South Beach Diet, since many brands of peanut butter have a lot of added sugar. The use of brown rice would make this a phase two or three choice, but you could leave out the rice if you wanted to eat it for phase one. All the ingredients here are good choices for a low-glycemic eating plan.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Delicious Soups with Peanut Butter:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Squash and Peanut Soup from The Perfect Pantry
African Peanut and Yam Soup from The Well-Seasoned Cook
African Sweet Potato and Bean Soup from Karina's Kitchen
Spicy Carrot Peanut Soup from Eggs on Sunday
West African Peanut Soup from The Gracious Bowl
(I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

Blogger Disclosure:
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon! counter customizable free hit
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Susan said...

That looks great! Love the protein/fiber boost of rice and lentils.

We Are Not Martha said...

I just made a really delicious autumn lentil soup (with nutmeg and cinnamon). However, peanut butter is one of my favorite things in the world (as are chiles), so I have a feeling another lentil soup is in my future!


T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

What amazing flavors! I love the use of lentils, and the use of peanut butter as a "secret" ingredient.

Crockpot Lady said...

Hi Kalyn! I'm glad that you liked this---and I love the addition of lentils. I am a lentil novice, and am just discovering their magical (and frugal!) powers.


caroline said...

I've been bookmarking a lot of lentil soups lately, but the peanut butter in this one makes it unique among the others. I wonder, could it cook for a couple more hours (on low) if I add more liquid? I hate how crockpot recipes only require 8-9 hours of cook time; on weekdays, I am always gone for longer than that!

Rachel said...

I've recently become a little obsessed with my crockpot, and I'm always looking for new yummy African recipes. This one is going to the top of the list:)

Maria said...

I bet this soup has amazing flavor going on! Can't wait to try it!

Ricki said...

Sounds fantastic! Silly question, but one could make this without the crockpot as well, right? (I'm assuming you'd pre-cook the lentils/rice?)

Kalyn said...

I loved this soup, so I"m glad it sounds good to people.

Caroline, I wondered that myself. I think the brown rice might start to fall apart with longer cooking time, but it would probably be okay. Don't add more liquid though. Let me know if you try it.

Ricki, yes you could make it on the stove. I would add at least a cup more water, since some will evaporate while you simmer it on low, and don't pre-cook the lentils. I'm guessing it would take a little over an hour simmered on the stove at a low temperature, then maybe another 15 minutes after you add the peanut butter.

Carol said...

All those ingredients sound fabulous!! I love anything with lentils and the crockpot makes it even better.

maris said...

I love lentil soup and would never think to add peanut butter! I bet this is very filling.

Ameet said...

I've been dreaming of making an african peanut soup and am so glad I found this recipe. I look forward to making this.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Beautiful soup -- and Rand has come through with another stunning banner! Now it really feels like winter is coming.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

This looks so knock your socks off different it begs to be cooked!

Savannah said...

I love your recipes and I'd like to print some of them out and try them. I read your printing instructions, but they only print the text, not the photo. How can I print the photo with the text? I've tried selecting everything and using copy/paste, but it doesn't work. Help!

Mrs. G. said...

Man this looks good.

ttfn300 said...

peanut butter in my stew? i've got to try this!!!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Would you believe the first time I made an African peanut soup, I was inspired from teaching a world literature class! I love, love, love this kind of hearty, warm soup. It looks perfect.

Christine said...

Wow, this sounds so good!

Gita's Kitchen said...

Hi Kalyn,
Thanks for the comment. You can get Fenugreek seeds in any Indian stores also. Check out any nearby Indian stores. These seeds sprout within 2 days and are great in salads.

sassymonkey said...

I do believe we'll be making this soon.

Mercina said...

Oh wow, I would never have thought about using peanut butter in soup, but this looks really good. Usually a make a Greek style lentils soup, called fakes. Lentils are so high in iron, I should really try to make it more often. I'm definitely going to try this recipe.

Arfi Binsted said...

wow, peanut butter in soup? that must be rich! do you make your own peanut butter? that must be flavoursome!

Kalyn said...

Arfi, I haven't made peanut butter, but I hear it's not that hard. I buy the natural unsweetened type.

BTW everyone, I made this with creamy peanut butter but next time I might try chunky!

K and J said...

Your site looks great, Kalyn, and actually makes me excited about this cooler weather and the food that comes with it. Thank you!

vivari said...

that looks great.will try it

Salt Lake City Catering said...

nice recipes. its nice to learn some new soups that i can prepare for the upcoming cold weather :)

Kevin said...

I like using peanut butter in savoury dishes and this sound tasty!

Yu Ming Lui said...

I love peanut butter but in soup...? But from all the comments, it seems like lotsa people use peanut butter in savoury dishes :)

Merrill said...

I tried this last night and it was great. We did think that doubling the lentils and/or rice might make it a little heartier or maybe adding some shredded chicken. Would additional liquid be needed?

Kalyn said...

Merrill, I do think you could add a bit more rice or lentils (or maybe both if you didn't use too much more) and maybe some chicken without needing more liquid.

Johanna said...

this soup looks absolutely deicious - I love a peanut butter style stew but love your addition of lentils and rice - if only I had a crockpot I'd love to come home to this of an evening

renée said...

this sounds like the soup someone made for national soup swap day last year. i accidentally grabbed the wrong one and never got to try it. now is my chance!

MsBlueKatt said...

I made this soup a few days ago. It is delicious!! The peanut butter is such an unexpected addition. When reheating the next day, I added diced cooked chicken. My mother thought it would be good with some added ground beef. Thanks Kalyn. I'll be adding this to my fall soup faves!!

zerrin said...

This soup sounds so flavorful! I love lentils in such soups, it makes any soup so satisfying!
We are enjoying Spring here, but the weather changes a lot here too. It was like a summer day yesterday, but it's rainy today. A perfect day to make this soup!

Kalyn Denny said...

Zerrin, glad you like it. We are having very warm weather right now, but I know we'll have snow a few more times.

Unknown said...

I love this! Glad you updated it and reposted. yES, Utah weather is all kinds of crazy in the spring.

r383cc48 said...

I just wanted to point out a recipe that contains chicken stock and beef stock vegetarian, should not be classified as vegetarian.

Left Blonde said...

Anyone have any ideas on how to make this vegetarian-friendly? I would usually just replace chicken/beef broth with veggie broth, but open to ideas!

Kalyn Denny said...

It says in the recipe commentary that you can replace the stock with veggie stock to make this a vegan recipe.

Kalyn Denny said...

I have been making this for years, both with the original chicken/beef stock combination or with all vegetable stock. When I edited with the new photos, I probably should have edited the recipe to reflect that I usually use vegetable stock now. Sorry I missed that, but I have fixed it now.

Jeanette said...

I hate that when you "lose" food and end up having to throw it out, especially if it's homemade. Hope your move went smoothly. I just made African Peanut Stew last year for the first time, and couldn't believe how good it was. Love the idea of a hearty soup with similar flavors, easily vegetarian and meatless.

Kalyn Denny said...

Jeanette, it was so frustrating because the cooler had all my things like curry paste, soup base, etc., as well as some homemade food. Oh well, onward!

Lan said...

Made it tonight. Was Awesome, Robust and full of flavour. thanx for the great Recipe!!

lyssmg said...

Creamy or crunchy peanut butter?

Kalyn Denny said...

I would use creamy, but if you only have crunchy I don't think it would be bad.

lastdogz said...

I made this tonight but had to wing it on the stove since I didn't buy the ingredients early enough in the day to use my crockpot. It came out pretty good, and I'll definitely make it again. I will add more rice though since I felt it got a little lost. I plan to freeze some next time. Do you freeze it with the peanut butter already added?

Kalyn Denny said...

Yes I freeze with the peanut butter added but you could do it either way.

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