Slow cooker peanut stew is vegan comfort food at it's finest! With chickpeas, sweet potatoes, and peanut butter, it's inspired by the West African peanut stew, maafe. You can assemble this ahead and freeze as a crockpot freezer meal.
Vegan freezer meals can be a challenge to find. Over the years, I've added some recipes to the site, including slow cooker butternut squash lentil curry and spicy slow cooker chickpea chili. This maafe-inspired slow cooker peanut stew is another favorite!
Not only is it warm and cozy, but hearty and delicious! With sweet potatoes, chickpeas, peanut butter and spices...I know, that probably sounds like the most random assortment of ingredients but I promise you it all works together in this soup!
After cooking through, I mashed the sweet potatoes and it ended up thick and almost creamy. So delicious!
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Reasons you'll ♡ this recipe
- it is made with wholesome, clean pantry ingredients
- you can assemble it ahead and freeze
- it is healthy, hearty and delicious!
- it also happens to be vegan and gluten-free
Watch the video below to see exactly how I prepped this this recipe. It’s so easy! You can find more of my recipe videos on my YouTube channel.
What is Maafe?
Maafe is a popular West African stew that originated in Mali (1), but is also prepared in many other countries including (but not limited to) Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria and Mauritania (2). With a base consisting of tomatoes and ground nuts, maafe typically also contains meat, and is served with rice, couscous or sweet potatoes. Recipes vary greatly by chef and region, and can also include corn, peppers, paprika, carrots, onions and leafy vegetables.
For a traditional Maafe recipe + story on the cultural significance of this dish, check out this article.
My goal with this recipe was to honor the traditional flavors, while making it meat-free and slow cooker-friendly, making it easy to prepare in North American (US/Canada) kitchens. I hope this recipe can help introduce the flavors to new home cooks!
- sweet potatoes- cut them into larger chunks- 2 inches or so. I also recommend peeling them as they'll mash into the soup better without the skins
- chickpeas- use cooked chickpeas, whether from a can or homemade (I like these Instant Pot chickpeas)
- stock- use vegetable stock to keep it vegan, or chicken stock if you aren't
- peanut butter- I tested this will all natural peanut butter- the only ingredients are peanuts (and occasionally salt). Processed nut butter can be sweet and might overpower this recipe.
Step by step directions
1. Combine ingredients- To the insert of a 5 quart or larger slow cooker, add the chickpeas, vegetable stock, salt, cumin, coriander, cayenne, diced tomatoes, sweet potatoes, peanut butter, onion, garlic and ginger. Stir to combine.
2. Cook- Place the lid on your slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours.
3. Add spinach- Add four handfulls of spinach to the slow cooker, then stir and put the lid back on. Set it to cook on high for 15 more minutes.
4. Mash & serve- Using a potato masher, mash up the sweet potatoes to thicken the stew. This is not necessary, and you can skip this step if you'd prefer. Enjoy with bread for dunking!
Yes! Reader Cindy successfully cooked it on the stove. I'm estimating you'll need to simmer for 30 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are softened.
Yes! Readers Kavitha and Chloe successfully cooked it in the Instant Pot. I suggest using 5 minutes at high pressure with a 10 minute natural pressure release.
Yes! You can freeze this stew before cooking (as a crockpot freezer meal) or afterwards. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Here are some extras readers have added when serving (you guys have the best ideas!):
- toasted bread or naan bread
- rice or quinoa
- Greek yogurt, coconut yogurt, or sour cream
- fresh peanuts
Meal prep & storage
You can cook this recipe ahead and store, OR you can assemble ahead (no cooking), and freeze.
Cool completely, then portion out into meal prep containers (or keep in a large portion). Refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Reheat individual portions in the microwave, or heat larger portions in a pot on the stove over medium heat, until steaming hot.
Crockpot Freezer Meal
A crockpot freezer meal is assembled ahead without cooking, then frozen. To cook, you simply thaw, then dump into the slow cooker- no measuring!
- assemble all ingredients except for the stock in a good quality gallon-sized freezer bag or 3 quart meal prep container.
- squeeze out as much air as possible and freeze flat for up to 3 months
- thaw completely before dumping into the slow cooker, adding the stock, and cooking as directed
More vegan slow cooker recipes
- Slow Cooker Chickpea Tortilla Soup
- 36 Vegan Slow Cooker Recipes
- Slow Cooker Chai Tea Latte
- Ultra Creamy Crockpot Sweet Potatoes
- 15 oz can of chickpeas drained & rinsed
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- 15 oz can of diced tomatoes including juices
- 4-5 cups sweet potatoes peeled & cut into 2 inch cubes; roughly 2 medium sweet potatoes
- ½ cup all natural peanut butter
- 1 onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 inch ginger finely grated
Just before serving
- 4 handfulls spinach
- Combine ingredients- To the insert of a 5 quart or larger slow cooker, add the chickpeas, vegetable stock, salt, cumin, coriander, cayenne, diced tomatoes, sweet potatoes, peanut butter, onion, garlic and ginger. Stir to combine.
- Cook- Place the lid on your slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours.
- Add spinach- Add four handfulls of spinach to the slow cooker, then stir and put the lid back on. Set it to cook on high for 15 more minutes.
- Mash- Using a potato masher, mash up the sweet potatoes to thicken the stew. This is not necessary, and you can skip this step if you'd prefer.
- Serve- Enjoy with bread for dunking, or one of the toppings suggested in note 1.
- Assemble all ingredients except for the stock in a good quality gallon-sized freezer bag.
- Squeeze out as much air as possible and freeze flat.
- Freeze for up to 3 months.
- Thaw completely before dumping into the slow cooker, adding the stock, and cooking as directed.
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