By Sara Holden
I was not a vegetable eater until recently. My mother can attest to the struggle of convincing me to eat vegetables growing up. She persisted enough that before I left her house I’d learned to at least tolerate a few things; spinach, broccoli, peas.
Others - squash, brussel sprouts, and especially dark leafy greens - I continued to struggle to choke down well into my college years.
Of course, dark leafy greens are the key to life. And being a health and fitness professional I knew I had to get them in. I found things to hide them in, like smoothies and stew. I slowly got more and more used to the subtle flavor of kale in a smoothie until, eventually, I could eat kale alone.
OK, I don’t go around munching kale leaves straight out of the garden, but I can eat it, and other leafy greens, as the main part of a dish now. Without gagging. Because I’m an adult.
Even though I don’t necessarily need to hide those greens from myself anymore, sometimes a girl wants to get in her greens while enjoying something warm and comforting. Which is why this African Peanut Soup remains one of my favorite dishes.
When doesn’t peanut butter make anything taste better? As an added bonus, this recipe is super easy and comes together quickly. Perfect for throwing together after an evening workout.
I’ve made this recipe with all kale and chard or a combination of both, and haven’t been able to tell the difference. It’s great on it’s own. But if you’re feeding a teenager (or spouse) that never seems to get full, add extra greens and enjoy it over brown rice or quinoa to make it more filling.
Vegetarian West African Peanut Soup
Recipe: Cookie and Kate
6 c. low sodium vegetable broth
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 T peeled and minced fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
1 bunch chard (or kale), ribs removed and leaves chopped into 1-inch strips
¾ cup unsalted, all-natural (no sugar or additives) peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
½ cup tomato paste
Hot sauce, like sriracha (AKA rooster sauce)
¼ cup roughly chopped peanuts, for garnish
In a large pot, boil the broth. Add onion, ginger, garlic and salt. Cook on medium-low heat for about 20 minutes. In a medium bowl, combine peanut butter and tomato paste. Pour a cup or two of the stock to the bowl. Whisk until the peanut butter mixture is smooth, then pour it back into the soup and mix. Stir in your choice of greens and add with hot sauce to taste. Simmer for about 15 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Serve with brown rice or quinoa and top with chopped peanuts.