Initially, when I started recipe testing this dish my intention was to try and recreate the African Peanut Soup from Native Foods Cafe. But here we are… with a Thai peanut soup. I’m not sure where this ship got off course, but I seem to have ended up with an African-Asian fusion (heavy on the Thai).
I’m not giving up on that African Peanut Soup, but this version came out so good that it definitely deserves it’s own post!
One of the biggest problems I have with most soups is that they don’t keep me full. An hour or so later, I’ll be reaching for a snack. Hearty stews might be an exception… but those aren’t usually the healthiest and sometimes you don’t want that heaviness.
Enter: healthy fats, fiber, and protein – all of which contribute to satiety and all of which are found in this soup!
And do you know what’s not found in this soup? Heaviness that will leave you feeling sluggish.
Let’s talk healthy fats for a minute. The two healthy fat sources in this soup are the coconut milk and peanut butter. Both of these can have “sticker shock” if you look at the fat content on their nutrition labels, but here’s a general snapshot on what makes these the good kinds of fat:
- Coconut milk contains medium-chain fatty acids that are easily absorbed into the body for sustained energy, are known to promote gut health and some studies show they improve good cholesterol levels while lowering bad cholesterol levels. Some studies also show MCT’s help aid in weight-loss, but I’m not sold on this research yet (however I can tell you that I’m sold on coconut fat not contributing to weight-gain when eaten as part of a balanced diet).
- Peanut butter is a great source of monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fat is one of the most commonly praised ‘good fats’ as its heart health benefits have been widely researched and documented. Peanut butter is also a good source of polyunsaturated fat, which are your essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6). Humans need both O3’s and O6’s, both of which have to be obtained through diet as our bodies cannot synthesize them on their own (hence the term “essential”). In previous posts, I have mentioned the importance of balancing your O3’s and O6’s (more detailed blog post forthcoming!). While it is true that peanut butter has a high concentration of O6’s (typically we are O3 deficient, which can lead to inflammation), as long as you try to eat a balanced diet that limits processed foods, incorporates good sources of O3’s (like salmon) and/or supplements with fish oil, then eating peanut butter in moderation is fine.
Maybe none of that was new information to you, but I just wanted to share a quick 30,000ft summary because it always amazes me how many people I still hear avoiding healthy fats, just because it’s fat – which is more than likely a leftover mindset from the 1990’s low-fat marketing frenzy.
So dish yourself out some of this savory, creamy, peanut-y soup, your tastebuds and heart will thank you!
- 2 - 3 tbsp coconut or avocado oil, separated
- 2 tsp minced garlic (about 2 - 3 cloves)
- 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger (about 1" knob)
- 1 tbsp thai chili paste
- ¾ cup creamy peanut butter (organic recommended)
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 13.5oz can coconut milk
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- 1 - 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
- 1 tsp pepper, plus more to taste
- ½ cup chopped green onion, plus more for garnish
- 2 - 3 cups chopped tuscan kale
- 2 medium zucchini, spiralized or diced if you don't have a spiralizer
- 24 raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, rinsed and patted dry (16 - 20 count size)
- chopped peanuts for garnish
- fresh mint for optional garnish
- sliced fresno peppers for option garnish and heat
- In a large, heavy pot, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 - 2 minutes. Add the chili paste and sauté another minute. Add the peanut butter, stirring until melted, less than a minute. Add the remaining ingredients through salt and pepper, whisking to combine. Bring soup to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and continue to cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste periodically and adjust salt and pepper to taste, if needed (more salt with bring out more peanut flavor, but add a little at a time). About 2 - 3 minutes before serving, add the chopped kale and green onions, stirring to combine.
- Meanwhile, when there is about 5 minutes left on the soup, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle shrimp lightly with salt and pepper, and cook about 2 - 3 minutes per side, until no longer translucent and cooked through.
- Serve immediately. To serve, divide shrimp and zucchini among bowls, then top evenly with soup (the hot soup will cook the zucchini ever so slightly). Garnish with chopped peanuts, more green onion, and optional pepper.
Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
*Nutritional Information provided is a rough estimate for informational purposes and based on the recipe measurements, specific ingredients used and nutritional data available. Any variance in ingredients or measurements may affect the Nutritional Information accordingly.