September 28, 2012

Baked Sweet Potatoes with West African-Style Peanut Sauce

Sweet Potatoes with West African-Style Peanut Sauce

My twin sister Genevieve (from Vanilla & Spice) is in Kenya right now and I'm super jealous, so I thought I'd make myself an African-style meal to pretend that I'm also over there.  It didn't quite work (the pretending I'm in Africa part), but the meal did turn out to be delicious!

This is a simple, filling, and comforting dish made by baking a sweet potato and smothering it in a thick, creamy tomato-peanut sauce.  I know Kenya isn't in West Africa, and honestly I don't even know if this is a true West-African dish anyway, but Cooking Light says it is, so I'm going with it!

Sweet Potatoes with West African-Style Peanut Sauce

You might think it's weird to pair sweet potatoes and peanut butter together, but trust me, it works!  This actually reminded me of a lot of the African sweet potato and peanut stew that I love so much, except that the sweet potato is more the star of this dish.

If you're not convinced, the sauce pairs well with veggies too.  I served some of my extra sauce with steamed broccoli for a light lunch, and really enjoyed it!

Broccoli with West African-Style Peanut Sauce

Cooking Light suggests pairing a sweet potato with chicken, but I was really full from the sweet potato alone.  This may be because I doubled the amount of sauce called for, and the sauce is pretty filling, but I thought it was necessary to double it to make sure there was enough for every  bite of sweet potato.  I think pairing one of these smothered potatoes with a side of salad makes for a satisfying vegetarian meal, but go ahead and add a protein if you like too, I do think the sauce would work well with chicken!

This may or may not be a completely authentic African meal, but it's still something a little different than what I'm used to, and is a great autumn dish!

Sweet Potatoes with West African-Style Peanut Sauce

Baked Sweet Potatoes with West African-Style Peanut Sauce

Adapted from Cooking Light

Serves 2


2 medium sweet potatoes
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 a small onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons grated or minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Dash of cayenne
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes (tomato sauce)
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped peanuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 400°F.  Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork all over, and bake directly on the middle oven rack for 45 minutes or until tender.

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion, ginger, and garlic, and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often.  Add cumin, coriander, and cayenne, and cook for another minute.  Add water, tomato sauce, peanut butter, lemon juice, sugar, and salt.  Stir or whisk until smooth, bring to a simmer, and cook for 2-3 minutes, until slightly thickened.  Remove from heat.

Split potatoes lengthwise (not cutting all the way through), and squeeze the sides of the potato (with oven mitts on) so the filling fluffs out, if desired.  Spoon sauce over potatoes and sprinkle with peanuts and cilantro.  If you want to make sure sauce covers more of the sweet potato, cut the sweet potato up before adding the sauce.


  1. I haven't seen anything like this in Kenya, but I wish they had it! Actually, I have eaten peanut soup and sweet potato separately since I've been here, so the inspiration definitely works! Too bad you can't get the real African sweet potato in Canada, I think it's so much tastier...I ate a couple pieces as a teatime snack the other day and it may have been my favourite thing I've eaten here so far!

  2. I'm so jealous that you and your sister travel so much!

    This is totally something I'm going to make. I know I'd love it! I'll let you know what I think.

  3. Kiran @ KiranTarun.comSeptember 28, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    Never knew y'all are sisters!!

    PB and sweet taters, can't go wrong with it :)

  4. Wow! That is so amazing that she is in Kenya. I love trying different types of international cuisine so thanks for posting!

  5. You'll have to learn to make that peanut soup when you get back, I want to try it!

  6. Thanks, Kelli, look forward to hearing your thoughts!

  7. Me too, I'm hoping she'll give me some ideas for new recipes when she gets back!

  8. Velva- Tomatoes on the VineSeptember 30, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    What a fabulous combination of African flavors. This rocks! Love it.

  9. Monet@anecdotesandapples.comOctober 1, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    Love this recipe. Such a new and different sauce for me. Thank you for sharing. Your blog was a delicious stop during my lunch break. I hope you have a great Monday!

  10. Kiersten @ Oh My VeggiesOctober 2, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    I've made this too! :D And it is SO good! This post makes me want to run out and get some sweet potatoes so I can have them for dinner.

  11. Glad to hear you liked it too! I have so many other African-inspired recipes bookmarked that I want to try now!


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