Low Carb Groundnut Stew with Chicken and Spiralized Sweet Potatoes

Creamy, spicy, savory, with a touch of sweetness,  Low Carb Groundnut Stew with Chicken and Spiralized Sweet Potatoes hits the flavor notes of a traditional West African groundnut stew in a less traditional fashion. Spiralized sweet potatoes make a perfect base for this healthy, flavorful stew, and it can be on your table in less than 45 minutes!

Low Carb Groundnut Stew
Talk, talk, talk!” said the chief. “Too much talk. Yams don’t talk! Fish don’t talk! Cloth doesn’t talk! And water doesn’t talk! All this foolish talk will disturb the village! Go away, before I throw you in jail.”

~~ Too Much Talk: A West African Folktale, Angela Shelf Medearis

I often recall this favorite story we read to our boys when they were little, and as I worked on this recipe I remembered it with fondness once again. People use yams and interchangeably, but they are two different vegetables!

Focus Ingredient: Sweet Potatoes

What is the difference between yams and sweet potatoes, and why does it matter? Most grocery stores in the U.S. offer two similar-looking varieties of tubers, and they’re frequently labeled “sweet potatoes” and “yams.” You might be surprised to find out they’re in all likelihood both sweet potatoes. Yams are native to Africa and Asia, with the majority coming from Africa. They’re not widely available in this country. You may find them in specialty international markets in large metropolitan areas. Yams and sweet potatoes are both tuberous root vegetables, but they are not related, and are really not all that similar. In the typical U.S. market, you will find different varieties of sweet potatoes, and probably no yams. 🙁 See more on sweet potatoes.

About Low Carb Groundnut Stew with Chicken and Spiralized Sweet Potatoes

This stew is gluten free, dairy free, and relatively low carb. Sweet potatoes do have carbs, but they contain fewer per serving than standard white (or even brown) rice, and their fiber content is higher.

So, let’s get back to my Low Carb Groundnut Stew with Chicken and Spiralized Sweet Potatoes… This dish evolved over 25 years, and its earliest form originated on the pages of Sundays at the Moosewood – a favorite mainly vegetarian cookbook published by the Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York.

Our 4 young boys were frequently heard saying “not another Moosewood meal!” As a young mom, I was drawn like a magnet to the healthy, ethnically-inspired recipes. The “boys” – now in their twenties and thirties – still don’t care for groundnut stew, but my husband Mark and I are big fans! Right, hon? 😀

Africans refer to this dish as a groundnut stew, and like many other dishes that exemplify a cuisine, it exists in as many forms as there are cooks preparing it.

The key ingredient is ground nuts – ie. peanut butter. We prefer it very thick, but many cooks prefer it more like a soup. It is really a matter of personal preference.

I have chosen to use boneless, skinless chicken in this recipe, but it is a fabulous, nutritious vegetarian dish without the addition of meat or poultry. The recipe is easily adaptable to whatever vegetables are seasonal, fresh, and (hopefully) local. Lastly, you can use sweet potatoes or yams, or neither if you choose…

Low Carb Groundnut Stew in a Cast Iron Skillet

I chose to serve the groundnut stew with spiralized sweet potatoes as we’re cutting down on carbs after holiday excesses. Africans may serve it over rice or another starch such as mashed sweet potatoes or fufu (a starch made with a combination of plantains and cassava).

I tried a sauté on the sweet potatoes first, but we love the crispy edges that resulted in roasting them. The choice is yours!

I’m curious… Would you consider trying this dish, or is the lack of familiarity (or the peanut butter) giving you pause? I’d love to hear from you!

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes.
Low Carb Groundnut Stew Square Image

Yield: 6 servings

Low Carb Groundnut Stew with Chicken and Spiralized Sweet Potatoes

Low Carb Groundnut Stew

West African flavors come together in this simple and healthy groundnut stew - chicken, yuca, and fresh okra in a savory sauce flavored with peanut butter, atop spiralized and roasted sweet potatoes...

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


Spiralized Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and spiralized
  • olive oil, to drizzle
  • sea salt/fresh ground pepper

Groundnut Stew

  • 2 tablespoon refined coconut or olive oil, divided
  • 3 cups okra, cut in 1" pieces
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken, cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. ginger, minced or grated
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon cayenne, to taste
  • 26 ounce can of petite diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup mango, apricot, or peach juice
  • 1/2 cup all natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. salt and a few grinds pepper
  • cilantro, parsley, or scallions (chopped), for garnish


Spiralized Sweet Potatoes

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (375 convection). Toss the spiralized sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Cook until some of the edges are browned, and sweet potatoes are tender but not soft. (15-20 minutes).Spiralized Sweet Potatoes

Groundnut Stew

  1. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to a heavy pot or dutch oven. Bring to high heat. Add okra. Cook and stir over very high heat until some of the edges are blackened, and gooey substance is less present. Place in a prep bowl until needed. Okra
  2. Add remaining oil to the pot or dutch oven. Bring to medium-high heat. Add chicken. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken edges are beginning to brown. Add onion, ginger, and garlic. Adjust heat to keep from burning garlic and ginger. Saute until onions are translucent.
  3. Add coriander, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and cayenne. Cook an additional 1-2 minutes stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add tomatoes.
  4. Whisk broth/stock, juice, and peanut butter until smooth. Add to the pot along with the prepared okra. Cover. Lower heat.
  5. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes to allow flavors to combine.
  6. Taste for seasoning, and adjust if necessary. 
  7. To Serve: Using tongs, plate the spiralized sweet potatoes. Add a generous ladle or two of the groundnut stew. Garnish as desired. See notes for additional information.


I really prefer boneless, skinless thighs in this dish, but breast will certainly work too.

Cayenne adds the heat in this dish. Start conservatively, and add additional cayenne if desired. You can also substitute with crushed red pepper or a couple of dried chile de arbol (toss them in with the sauce and remove prior to serving).

As explained in the post, we really don't see yams in U.S. markets, but you can use either yams or sweet potatoes in this dish.

Fresh okra is amazing when you can get it! You can substitute frozen with good results. Skip the charring step adding with the tomatoes.

This dish is versatile. Add meat (lamb, beef, pork) or poultry, or make it vegetarian. Chick peas are a great addition if you choose to do it vegetarian.

Use fresh and seasonal vegetables when possible - eggplant and squash are great additions or substitutions.

Be creative with garnishes. You might like chopped peanuts, scallions, hard boiled egg, cashews, lime, toasted coconut... to name a few. We like chopped cilantro

The recipe includes instructions for spiralized and roasted sweet potatoes. You may prefer mashed sweet potatoes, polenta, rice, couscous, etc. The choice is yours.

Macronutrients (approximation from MyFitnessPal.com as specified): 449 calories; 34 g protein; 31 g carbohydrates; 23 g fat.

Nutrition Information:



Amount Per Serving: Calories: 449Total Fat: 23 ggCarbohydrates: 31 ggProtein: 34 gg

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  1. This is so nostalgic, I have that cookbook! Your stew looks amazing and I am game for anything sweet potatoes. I like the versatility of that tuber, spiraled, mashed, fried, baked etc. Love this recipe, thanks for sharing!

    1. I have found that I like a little sweetness in many of my savory dishes. I do think most people will love it (unless they’re okra haters 😉 )!

  2. I love the Moosewood cookbook. I haven’t thought about that in years! This stew looks so delicious! What a fabulous combination of flavors!! Especially the peanut butter!! I can’t wait to make this and serve it to hubby! He’s going to love it! Great recipe!

    1. Yay! I’m so happy to finally know someone that is familiar with Moosewood. I’d love to hear back when you make this Groundnut Stew… Thanks Elaine 🙂

    1. Thanks Ashley! We love the texture (and crisp edges) of the spiralized sweet potatoes, but rice or mashed taters is certainly delicious as well!

  3. Wow….this looks and sounds delicious. YES….yams and sweet potatoes…..one or the other. Unfortunately I can only rely on the grocery store for options….most of the times they are labeled sweet potatoes. The spices in this stew sound fantastic.

    1. The spices and peanut butter make this stew something special… And yes, it bothers me that our markets don’t really “get” the difference!

  4. These flavors sound incredible! I looooove sweet potatoes, too. So good! I’ve never had anything like this. Can’t wait to try it!

  5. What a great recipe. For the longest time I have been hunting a good vegetarian recipe from Africa. I have found one now. I am saving this to give it a Vegetarian try. Spices use dare so much of that Indian Curry.. beautiful color also…
    thanks for sharing Tammy!

    1. I have actually made this vegetarian my lovely Sonal! The chick peas are delicious! Of course you can do basmati rice with it as well… so versatile! Thanks for stoping by!