A recipe for people who can’t follow directions.

I had to make a dish for a staff potluck, and one of my coworkers is vegetarian so I decided to look for something new to try. Because it felt wrong to make something with loads of meat in and then be like “SORRY NONE FOR YOU.”

It would also be decidedly less funny the next time she was handing out paychecks and was like “SORRY NONE FOR YOU.”

Although to be fair, it would probably be hilarious for everyone else.

I’m getting off-topic.

Anyhow, everyone loved it and demanded the recipe so I promised I’d share. Then I was asked if I’d followed the recipe exactly, and of course I did because being exact is very, very important to me of course I didn’t, so I also promised to add notes with my variations.

And the notes turned out to be funny, so I’m sharing the whole thing with you too.

Here’s a photo I took to send to my sisters because when I make things I sometimes like to take photos of it in order to pretend that I have my life together. I call it The Instagram Illusion:

It’s actually delicious.

Vegan West African Peanut Soup

  • Author: Cookie and Kate
  • If it isn’t obvious, my notes are in italics.
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: African



  • 6 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped (I used a super large one cause that’s what I had.)
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger (I used pre-minced ginger cause ain’t nobody got time for that shit. Have you ever actually tried to grate ginger? It’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (Again, I used a pre-mined garlic. There was a time I really enjoyed mincing my own garlic but those days are behind me now. I guessed at how many tablespoons would equate to 4 cloves then doubled it cause I like garlic. But then I had to use less because I ran out. The moral of the story is no one really knows how much garlic I used in the making of this soup.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I used a pink Himalayan salt here, and cause it’s in a grinder I just ground out a little pile that looked like it might be a teaspoon. You might notice my cooking style is very relaxed. The only necessity is music played at a high decibel level. It relaxes the vegetables before they’re cooked, resulting in a sweeter taste. At least, that’s what I yell over the music when my roommate asks me to turn it down.)
  • 1 bunch collard greens (or kale), ribs removed and leaves chopped into 1-inch strips (I used kale. I did remove the ribs, but I didn’t ‘1-inch strip’ it. I just chopped it up. The 1-inch thing felt a little demanding and ain’t NO recipe gonna tell me what to do.)
  • ¾ cup unsalted peanut butter (chunky or smooth) (I went smooth, cause that’s the only peanut butter that makes sense. Also, I used a little more – see why below – so… like… 4 giant heaping spoonfuls. Whatever amount that is.)
  • ½ cup tomato paste* (I picked up little cans of compliments tomato paste. ½ a cup 118ml and my little can was 152ml and there’s totally no way I was save a tiny little bit of this tiny little can so it all went in. I just added more peanut butter to balance it out).
  • Hot sauce, like sriracha (AKA rooster sauce) (three generous swirls, added to the pot in ½ inch concentric circles because I’m not a monster.)
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped peanuts, for garnish (I have no idea how much I used – garnishes literally do no matter. I used a mortar pestle to crush. Actually, more accurately, I WOULD HAVE used my mortar pestle except I can’t find it in my moving boxes at the moment so I just used a shot glass and bowl to crush the peanuts, realizing as I did so how much I was ripped off when I bought my mortar pestle. But this recipe is not the right place for a cultural commentary on consumerism through the lens of mortar pestles, so I’ll leave that for another day. You’re welcome.)


  1. In a medium Dutch oven or stock pot, bring the broth to a boil. Add the onion, ginger, garlic and salt. Cook on medium-low heat for 20 minutes. (I just used a large pot, cause who actually has a Dutch oven? No one living on a not-for-profit salary, that’s who.)
  2. In a medium-sized, heat-safe mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter and tomato paste, then transfer 1 to 2 cups of the hot stock to the bowl. Whisk the mixture together until smooth, then pour the peanut mixture back into the soup and mix well. Stir in the collard greens (or kale) and season the soup with hot sauce. (I just kept adding swirls and tasting until I liked it. I wanted it to have a little heat but not so much it would cause anyone to throw up, like last soup* I made, should they try it.)
  3. Simmer for about 15 more minutes on medium-low heat, stirring often. Serve over cooked brown rice if you’d like, and top with a sprinkle of chopped peanuts. (I used Basmati rice, cause no other rice matters. Also, I probably simmered for closer to 20 minutes as I thought the kale could use some more softening up.)


  • Adapted from Cookie and Kate as well as Local Bounty: Vegan Seasonal Recipes by Devra Gartenstein.
  • *The cookbook author suggested that 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes is a suitable substitution for the tomato paste, but commenters report that the crushed tomatoes produce a runny soup (unlike the thick soup shown here). I highly recommend using tomato paste if you can find it. I also recommend Muir Glen‘s organic tomato products—they come in BPA-free cans and seem to be readily available.
  • Most African peanut soup recipes include sweet potatoes. I suppose you could toss in a chopped sweet potato when you bring the stock to a boil, but I liked the soup as is.


*The last soup I made really did make someone throw up, but they have terrible indigestion but love spicy stuff and the soup was really spicy. I’d like to point out in my defense, that they said it was delicious on the way down. I didn’t ask how it was on the way back up.