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Ainsley Harriott’s Sweet Potato, Spinach and Peanut Stew

Heady with spices and Scotch bonnet chilli, this hearty sweet potato, spinach & peanut stew from Ainsley Harriott makes for an easy vegan midweek meal.

From the book


This is a hearty vegan version of one of my favourite one-pots, peanut butter chicken stew. It’s so simple to make and yet it’s incredibly flavourful. Peanut butter is a fantastic ingredient for flavouring and thickening stews and I like to use a crunchy version so there are extra nuts in the sauce. For the series I visited the Funky Nut Company in Birkenhead and they made me a peanut butter flavoured with Scotch bonnet chilli just for this recipe – fantastic! Serve with your favourite grains or roti.

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2 tbsp coconut or olive oil
1 red onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
4cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 Scotch bonnet chilli, left whole (or 1 red chilli, finely chopped)
1 heaped tsp sweet paprika (unsmoked)
½ tsp ground turmeric
5 cloves, ground
2 bay leaves
700g sweet potato, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 red pepper, de-seeded and cut into chunks
1 x 227g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 x 400g tin black-eyed peas or black beans, drained and rinsed
150g crunchy peanut butter
350–400ml vegetable stock
180g baby spinach leaves
2 tbsp chopped coriander, plus extra leaves for serving
½ lemon, for squeezing
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Essential kit

You will need: a heavy-based lidded saucepan or Dutchie pot.


Heat the oil in a heavy-based lidded saucepan or Dutchie pot over a medium heat and add the onion. Cook for 4–6 minutes until softened but not coloured. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli, spices and bay leaves and cook for a further 2 minutes, adding a splash of water if needed. Add the sweet potato and red pepper and cook for 2–3 minutes to combine the flavours. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato purée, black-eyed peas, peanut butter and 350ml stock until well combined. Season to taste.

Cover the pot and gently simmer over a low-medium heat for 20–25 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender. Stir every now and then, to prevent anything sticking to the base of the pot, adding a little more stock if needed. Stir in the spinach until just wilted. Stir in the coriander then finish with a good squeeze of lemon and check the seasoning. Remove the Scotch bonnet and bay leaves before serving.

Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with your favourite
grains or my roti.


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