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West African vegetable stew in peanut sauce {vegan, gluten-free}

West African vegetable stew in peanut sauce, a great main dish for vegans.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about adapting favorite recipes for changing dietary needs (newly gluten-free, pre-diabetic, vegetarian). When Jared, a local filmmaker who just happens to be vegan, and Jessica, an old friend of my husband Ted's, came to lunch a few weeks ago, I decided to take the West African chicken mafé recipe in my previous post, and veganize it. Out with the chicken, in with chickpeas. Potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms: the combination of firm and soft vegetables really worked, and with the rich peanut, tomato and coconut sauce, nobody missed the meat at all. Reaching for a tube of tomato paste in the refrigerator, I grabbed an identical-shaped tube of harissa instead, and added it to the dish before I realized my error. Wow! Great flavor, just a hint of smoky heat, that elevated the vegetable stew to another level; that's one error I'll make again and again.

West African vegetable stew in peanut sauce has amazing, creamy "mouth feel"!

West African vegetable stew in peanut sauce

From the pantry, you'll need: onion, garlic, cayenne pepper, kosher salt, fresh black pepper, jalapeño, harissa, peanut butter, coconut milk, canned chopped tomato, ginger root, canned chickpeas.

Serves 4-6.


1 medium onion, quartered
2 large red-skinned new potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 bell peppers, cut into 1-inch chunks (use any colors)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs removed, minced
8 oz sliced mushrooms, any type (I like cremini)
1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 Tbsp harissa
1/4 cup drained canned chopped tomato
1 tsp peeled, grated fresh ginger root
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup chopped parsley, for garnish


Place the onion, potatoes, zucchini and bell peppers in a large mixing bowl, and add the salt, black pepper, chopped garlic, and cayenne. Use your hands to mix everything together, making sure the spices are distributed all over the vegetables.

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add the vegetables from the mixing bowl, all at once. Sauté 4-5 minutes, until the onions are translucent and there are bits of browning on the vegetables.

Add the jalapeño pepper and mushrooms, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.

Then, stir in the chickpeas, peanut butter, harissa, chopped tomatoes, ginger, and coconut milk.

Add 2 cups of water.

Bring to a simmer, and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 25-30 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.

Garnish with chopped parsley, and serve hot, over rice.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More vegan stew options:
Vegan butternut squash and chickpea stew, from The Perfect Pantry
Slow cooker vegan black bean and sweet potato stew, from The Perfect Pantry
Spicy vegan zucchini and tomato stew with garlic and mint, from The Perfect Pantry
Vegan "sancocho" (root and vegetable stew), from Dominican Cooking
Slow cooker vegan white bean stew, from Cafe Johnsonia

West African vegetable stew in a rich peanut sauce. You'll never miss the meat! #vegetarian [ThePerfectPantry.com]

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


It really does sound great; love the addition of a little Harissa.

Kalyn, a little smoky flavor pushed this stew to a whole new level. I love happy accidents.

You are too funny. I printed the original recipe with chicken, and when I was invited to a vegan potluck for this Saturday thought it was a shame I couldn't make it. Now I can! Thanks so much!

Thanks for doing the work for me - I was too busy to think it through, and I love the way you've done it! Just sent husband out with mushrooms added to the shopping list.
Caution to people new to harissa: the first time I bought it, I didn't 'refrigerate after opening' and after a while sitting out, exploded - gently, but what a mess, and what a waste. Now I keep it in a glass jar in the freezer, and shave off what I need.

New toys? I love the new 'reader view' and the beautiful printer friendly options.

Janice, glad to help! I should do this more often, because there are many readers who would like a meatless version of some of the recipes here.

Susan, go for it! And great advice about the harissa. I buy in the tube, so it's easy to use just a little bit and keep the rest in the fridge.


Diane, you can easily obtain the calorie count for any recipe on this blog, by entering the ingredients in an online calorie calculator like this one: http://www.caloriecount.com/cc/recipe_analysis.php

Yes, I made it. Not only was it delicious - and the generous leftovers from 1/2 the recipe will benefit from the 'day after' phenomenon - but my vegetable bins thank you.
I picture having it over polenta for the next round.

We have made this twice in the last few months and love it so much. Thanks for posting it!

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