Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew

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If you’re looking for something hearty, comforting, AND healthy the next time you’re out camping, you need to try this vegan sweet potato peanut stew.

Michael holding a bowl of stew near a campfire
We recently cooked up a pot of this stove over our campfire in Anza Borrego and it was everything we could have hoped for and more. If you’re looking for something to warm you up on a cold winter’s evening, then this stew is for you!

Megan and Michael sit around a campfire Megan is serving Michael food from a Dutch oven
We cooked this at Borrego Palm Canyon Campground, just outside of Borrego Springs, CA. While we typically seek out free camp spots while camping in the desert, we decided to splurge and pay for an official campsite (that’s right: a picnic table, fire ring, and access to a nearby flushing toilet now constitute “splurging” in our lives). In our former weekend warrior days, we camped at this campground on more than a few occasions, so our stay here felt like visiting an old friend.
Michael chopping an onion on a wooden cutting board
Ingredients for a west African inspired sweet potato and peanut stew
During these brisk desert, evenings having a campfire is nice, but having a campfire with a simmering stew on top of it is even better. This particular recipe was inspired by an African Peanut Stew we saw while leafing through the amazing Oh She Glows cookbook.

We loved the flavors of the original (chunky sweet potato, creamy peanut butter broth, and a smoky chili aroma) but we decided to make a few alterations in order to streamline it for camp cooking. This stripped down version is loaded with all the essentials you need to get that same big flavor without taking up too much room in your cooler.

So the next time you’re out camping, give this one a try. It just might become your new go-to stew.

Michael adding chopped onions into a Dutch oven that is on a campfire

Michael adding chopped sweet potatoes into a Dutch oven that is on a campfire

Chickpeas and kale in a Dutch oven stew on a campfire

Michael serving himself stew from a Dutch oven

Michael holding a bowl of stew near a campfire

African Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew

New Mexico chili powder gives this stew a smokey flavor with just a hint of spice to it. If you use a different chili variety, you may need to scale the measurement back according to your heat preferences.
Author: Fresh Off the Grid
4.62 from 107 votes
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
4 servings


  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 small onion, diced (to yield 1 1/2 cups )
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 medium sweet potato, chopped into 1/4 inch cubes (to yield 2 cups)
  • 2 cups broth
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons New Mexico chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 14 oz can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 cups tuscan kale, destemmed and chopped


  • Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and saute about 5 minutes, until translucent and just starting to brown in spots. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the sweet potato, broth, tomatoes & their juices, peanut butter, chili powder, and salt. Stir well to ensure the peanut butter is thoroughly mixed in and there's no clumps remaining. Simmer, uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender.
  • Once the sweet potatoes are tender, add the chickpeas and the kale to the dutch oven. Stir to combine and heat until the chickpeas have warmed through and the kale has wilted.

Nutrition (Per Serving)

Calories: 334kcal
*Nutrition is an estimate based on information provided by a third-party nutrition calculator
Main Course
West African-Inspired

Chickpea sweet potato and peanut stew in a Dutch oven

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  1. Pretty much cleared all the food groups on this one, including peanut butter :p I’ve got all of these ingredients in the cupboard and fridge right now, so I think I’ll have to give this one a go!! I need to head out camping so I can try some of your camp recipes at an actual camp site :p

    1. Let us know how it turns out, KJ! I’m sure it will be just as delicious made at home, but there is definitely something about cooking a meal over a campfire and enjoying it with a nice view that really kicks things up a notch 😉

  2. love this!! If you guys can pull this off on a campfire, we should all be able to pull it off at home! Fave flavors in this one!

    1. Thanks, Kathy! This would be so good at home – I can totally imagine cozying up to this on a chilly evening!

  3. This sounds so good. But I can’t eat peanuts. Is there a substitute that you think would work?

    ps. You guys make camping look amazing! 🙂

    1. Hi Kortney! So, I haven’t tried it myself, but I would think maybe tahini would be a good substitute. I’m not super savvy on allergens – what do you think? I might try testing this out and updating the recipe to include it if it’s tasty!

      1. Aw, just clicked over to your site and saw that sesame is an issue 🙁 I’ll keep thinking about this one!

          1. I think the peanut butter is mostly a background flavor, but it also brings a kind of creamy smoothness to the stew’s broth. I did a little more digging, and maybe hemp seed butter would work? It’s not a duplicate flavor wise, but I think it might add a nutty background note and might replicate the creaminess in the broth. Again, haven’t tested it, but perhaps that’s an option!

          2. I’m guessing you probably already solved this problem, but sunflower seed butter is pretty easy to find and would probably be the closest flavor match. And it’s similarly creamy. I’d try and find one without added sweeteners.

  4. Absolutely love these photos! They definitely tell a story, excellent work

  5. Thanks for the recipe! My wife and I tried it a couple days ago and loved it. Very tasty and easy to prepare in a camp setting. We are loving all the plant based recipes you have been posting!

  6. Christine says:

    I made this for camping at first and now I make it in my kitchen at home. Super duper tasty and so easy. Thanks so much for this recipe!5 stars

  7. We went camping in Glacier National Park a couple of weeks ago and our friends made this for us there. It was soooo good I had to get the recipe. Just made it last night at home. It easy and delicious. I know it will definitely become a go-to recipe for us. Thanks for sharing (and a special thanks to our friends for introducing us to both the recipe and your blog!)5 stars

  8. This was unbelievably good, my new favorite! We also adapted it to make foil packets for camping. Mixed veggies with a basic peanut sauce to coat before wrapping them up. Next time we’ll try adding quinoa.5 stars

  9. I’ve made this recipe twice while car camping (most recently this past weekend) and it’s been a hit both times! Double easy if you chop the ingredients beforehand. I’m a huge fan of one-dish meals (especially while camping). Thanks so much for sharing these wonderful recipes and pics of your adventures!5 stars

  10. Sheila N. says:

    This recipe is definitely a hit in our house. It’s a great “meat alternative” if you’re looking for one – very hearty and delicious.5 stars

  11. Loved this! Made if for my family at home as with 5 kids I feel like I’m always cooking in an exotic environment. It was a hit! We replaced the chili powder with a bit of dried ginger and curry to give it a more Thai flavor -my favorite. Anyway, I personally think it is my new favorite recipe. Easy! Delicious! Healthy! Low fat/calories! Filling! Glueten/dairy free! NO processed foods!

  12. Made this in my cast iron dutch oven camping this year (May 2018) and everyone was raving over it! Including the ‘meat eating burly he-man’ types. Anyone ever try it in the crock pot? We aren’t camping any time soon, but I want to give this recipe a whirl indoors.5 stars

  13. This has become one our favorite “at home” recipes as well as when camping. Excellent!5 stars

  14. Diana Barbas says:

    Easy, quick, and delicious!5 stars

  15. James Hanley says:

    I tried this and made a slight variation. We left out the kale and added lemongrass. For my family’s SE Asian tastebuds that made it just perfect. Not criticizing the original recipe, just suggesting something for those who want to try it a little differently.

    It’s good with rice, too.

  16. Excellent recipe! Have made it several times including at an off-grid cabin and for folks who are GF and vegan. I modified to use basic chili powder (+1 Tbsp) and spinach instead of kale (depending on what I have on hand) and it works well. When at home I’ll sprinkle on crushed peanuts which add a nice crunch.

    Thank you for sharing this and your beautiful photos.5 stars

  17. I used this recipe twice. car camping with fresh ingredients it was great. Then dried on a backpacking trip and it needs work.

    Maybe it shouldn’t be dehydrated?

    I made it, dried it in a dehydrator @135° for 10-12 hours. I divided it into 5 Oz portions into freezer ziplocs. That was about 2 servings.

    At camp I poured 12 Oz boiling water in the bag and let it sit about five minutes.

    That wasn’t enough to reconstitute so i poured in a pan and simmered for several minutes. Added more water as it absorbed. Simmering is hard to do in a small pot with an MSR pocket rocket (aka blowtorch!)

    In the end it was ok, but not fully softened. Have you tried to dehydrate this?

    It’s a great recipe for car camping. The peanut flavor brings back memories of groundnut stew we had as Peace Corps volunteers in West Africa.

    I’ll keep it in my car camp repertoire but probably not dehydrate again.

    -@unkwiththefunk on Instagram5 stars

    1. Sorry to hear this recipe didn’t work when you tried to dehydrate it!

      A couple of thoughts:
      – It’s likely that placing it in a bag with boiling water would not be sufficient to rehydrate. It probably will require some boiling/simmer time in order to fully constitute again.
      – This car camping version uses peanut butter. If prepared as instructed and then dehydrated, it’s possible that the oils would inhibit the rehydration process. (basically, coats everything and prevents it from absorbing the water) The way around this would be to pack Justin’s peanut butter packet with you and add it in at the end.

      We will be publishing a dehydrator specific version of this recipe shortly that will address all of these issues. Thanks for giving it a go though!

    2. I successfully made a dehydrated version by doing it in parts. I steamed 1/4″ slices of sweet potato and dried them until the moisture was gone but they were still pliable. I then sautéed the onions, garlic, canned diced tomatoes, greens and spices together, letting it bubble away uncovered until almost all of the liquid evaporated (and added some leftover beans, optional) and dehydrated that mixture until it was dry to the touch. I think I only ran the dehydrator for around 6 hours. I packed the potatoes and sauce stuff together in a baggie. When I was at the mercy of my camping stove, I let it all boil with water for 4-5 min then sit off the heat with the lid on for another several minutes. I had to add a little more water for a stew consistency so I cooked it for just a couple more minutes and this sufficiently rehydrated without burning anything. I stirred in a spoonful of crunchy peanut butter right before eating and it was great!

  18. Has anyone frozen this and reheated for camping?

  19. This is a delicious recipe for car camping – its a bit heavy for canoe portaging but it does warm the soul!

    1. Car camping for sure! But the sweet potato and cans might be a little heavy for an extended canoe trip.

  20. Enjoyed this at home and am looking forward to taking it camping! As a NM resident, it is easy for me to get chile powders of all sorts, so I used a dark smoked chile powder from the Santa Fe Farmers market. Excellent flavors and healthy!5 stars

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! And we’re totally envious of your chile powder selection! Geez, we’re lucky to find one type of generic “chili powder” in our grocery stores here in Oregon.

  21. How do you think this would freeze? Thinking of making ahead of time, freezing and taking already made.

    1. We haven’t tried freezing it ourselves, but can’t see a reason why it wouldn’t work. Go for it!

  22. Made this exactly from this recipe when camping and loved it. Now I make it fairly often at home and usually add red bell pepper for extra veggies.5 stars

    1. Awesome. So glad you enjoyed it! We’ve heard of a lot of people making it for a camping trip and liking it so much they started making it home.

  23. Darja M Pisorn says:

    soooo good! Will definitely be making this at home!5 stars

  24. Kathy Kerwin says:

    This is delicious! I found it before we went camping, and it was easy to prepare. Now we have it frequently at home, and I’ve made it for friends who are vegetarian. Everyone gives it2 thumbs up!5 stars

  25. Theresa Sherman says:

    I did not make this camping. I made this at my friends cabin in Carmel. It was a big hit and we had enough for two meals!
    Highly recommend it, very tasty. Thank you for all your great recipes this is the third one I’ve made.5 stars

  26. I did not make this camping. I made this at my friends cabin in Carmel. It was a big hit and we had enough for two meals!
    Highly recommend it, very tasty. Thank you for all your great recipes this is the third one I’ve made.5 stars

  27. What kind of broth do you use for this recipe?