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West African Peanut Stew with tofu

Congo Tofu - West African-Inspired Peanut Stew

This recipe is inspired by the national dish of the Congos. Crispy tofu bites float in a creamy and delicious stew that is 100% vegan and gluten-free. Even the biggest tofu skeptic will love it!

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine gluten free, vegan, West African
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings


  • 1 package extra firm or firm tofu
  • 1-3 Tbsp vegetable oil*
  • 1 medium-large yellow or white onion
  • 3-5 cloves minced or pressed garlic
  • 2 Tbsp fresh minced ginger 1-2 inch piece, peeled
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms or other veggies*
  • 1/2-1 jar marinara sauce*
  • 1-2 can crushed or diced tomatoes* + 1/4 cup tomato paste *
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 can chickpeas divide the can in half
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasonings* optional
  • 2 Tbsp sriracha sauce
  • 1-2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1-2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • chopped cilantro or parsley optional topping
  • crushed peanuts optional topping
  • salt to taste


  1. You will first need to press the tofu to remove any excess moisture. I do this by wrapping the block of tofu in a clean dish towel and placing on a plate. Place something heavy, such as a cast iron pan, on top in order to press the moisture out of the tofu. Leave it pressing for at least 5 minutes, but ideally 10-15 minutes.

    While the tofu is pressing, you can chop the onions, garlic and other veggies.

    Once the tofu is pressed, you can either fry it or air-fry it. Cut the tofu into cubes.

    If you are frying it, add 1-2 Tbsp of oil to a hot skillet on medium-high. Add the cubes to the oil and spread them out, but don't stir them until they are browned on the bottom. Give them a stir, trying to get the un-browned sides down so they crisp up. Once they are browned on at least three sides, remove them from the pan and place on a plate or bowl lined with a paper towel. Set aside.

    If you want to air-fry the tofu, just lightly spray the cubes or coat them with some oil (optional but recommended). Place in the air fryer and cook at 400F degrees for 10 minutes. Give them a shake and cook for about 5 more minutes or until crispy.

  2. Heat about 1 Tbsp. of oil in a large saucepan. ( I usually use a 2" deep cast-iron skillet). Sautee the onions, garlic, ginger, and a pinch of salt until translucent. If you are adding mushrooms or other veggies, add them now and cook for 3-5 minutes.

    Add the marinara, tomato sauce, sriracha, and the additional spices. Please see the notes below on options for this.

    While the tomato sauce is simmering, you will be making a paste with the peanut butter and 1/2 your chickpeas.

  3. To make the paste, it will be easiest if you have a food processor. If you don't have a processor or high-power blender, mash your chickpeas as finely as you can and mix with the peanut butter. The end texture will be a little more chunky, but that's okay!

    If you do have a processor, simply add the chickpeas and peanut butter and blend. You may need to add up to a 1/2 cup of water to get a somewhat creamy texture. (watch the video to see the desired texture)

    Add the paste to the tomato sauce and stir until it melts in and is fully incorporated.

  4. Add the rest of your chickpeas and simmer another 5-10 minutes.

    Add salt to taste.

    If you would like to add some greens, such as spinach or kale, add them in the last 5 minutes.

  5. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro or parsley and some crushed peanuts. Add more sriracha if you want some more heat! Serve with rice or flatbread, or try your hand at some Fufu! (I haven't tried that one yet!) Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

*Notes on tomato sauce/marinara/tomato paste -

I like to use a combination of marinara and tomato sauce. I just find that it tastes really good and I don't have to add much additional salt. If you only have a jar of marinara, use that. If you only have canned tomatoes, use those, but you will need two cans and you may want to add some tomato paste and Italian seasonings such as basil, oregano, and thyme to round out the flavor. You will probably also need a little extra sauce. Taste it toward the end and add as needed.

*Note on vegetable oil - If you don't want to use oil, you can sautee your veggies in a little water or vegetable broth. You can also air-fry the tofu without oil. I like to lightly spray the tofu with oil to make it a bit crispier.

Please see the blog post for other ingredient swaps.