West African Peanut Soup with Shrimp

West African Peanut Soup with Shrimp

Peanut butter and shrimp lovers will enjoy this tomato-based West African soup. Once when it was my turn to host my book club, I looked for a recipe to set the tone for the novel set in Africa we would be discussing.  I came across a West African Peanut Soup recipe I’d cut out of a newspaper years earlier.  I compared it to a few recipes I found online and picked out my favorite ingredients in each one. 

Since this soup freezes well, I usually make a full batch and freeze the rest.  When it’s time to thaw the soup, I try to remember to have fresh cilantro and peanuts on hand, but we’ve enjoyed it without the garnish several times. 

Preparation time: 20 minutes        Total time: 40 minutes

Specialized Kitchen Utensils: 

  • Microplane zester/grater or box grater. A microplane zester/grater takes up less room in my one-butt kitchen.  If you use a box grater, use the small holes.
  • Freezer space for future meals if you have leftovers.  

Serves 6 to 8


  • 2 tablespoons avocado or peanut oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 28-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
  • 5 to 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup chunky or smooth peanut butter
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, shells and tails removed
  • 2 cups cooked rice (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped and divided
  • 1/3 cup roasted peanuts


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, garlic, red pepper, and ginger.  Sauté until the onions are slightly browned on the edges.  Stir in the tomatoes and chicken broth.  Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

Add the peanut butter, stirring until it is well blended.  Just before serving, add the spinach and shrimp.  Simmer until the shrimp is pink and thoroughly cooked, about 5 minutes.

If you want a heartier soup, you can add rice. When I have leftover rice I’d like to use up, this is a good use for it. The soup is good either way.  If you do add rice, you may want to add another cup of chicken broth.

Season with salt and pepper.  Stir in half of the cilantro.  Ladle into serving bowls.  Garnish with remaining cilantro and peanuts.


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