Spicy peanut stew with butternut squash + chickpeas

Spicy peanut stew with butternut squash + chickpeas

I have pages written about India. Dozens of pages of unedited psychobabble, in fact. About the incomprehensible environmental devastation and the stark contrast between the haves and the have-nots and the adverse impacts of globalization that will make you want to come home and sell everything you own.. and then fall off the face of the Earth. I had a very small portion of those words carefully edited to go along with today’s post and then, five minutes ago, I deleted the entire thing because I was terrified that my words might make someone feel equally as shitty as I do right now. And I don’t want anyone to feel equally as shitty as I do right now.

So, today, we’re not going to talk about India because doing so would require me to a) make everyone feel glass-half-empty or b) force a sugar-coated version of our trip that isn’t at all representative of my experience there. India was rough and beautiful and chaotic and spectacular and – at the risk of confusing the shit out of anyone who’s never been – it was simultaneously the most wonderful and awful place I’ve ever visited.

But we’ll talk about that later.

Right now we’re going to talk about the fact that it’s 5AM and I’ve been up for four hours, and I’m currently sitting on the couch in my underwear because IT SNOWED LAST NIGHT (!) and the radiant heaters fired up and, according to the thermostat in our living room, it’s blazin’ hip hop 86˚F in here. Thom’s up, too, watching HBO from the confines of our bedroom, where he’s been since we got home last week. Well, with the exception of that fun trip we took to the hospital where he was tested for malaria and a bunch of other tropical diseases the doctors thought he might have, even though we were told by people who see dengue fever (dang-y) on the regular that he most certainly is suffering from dengue. The good news is, he doesn’t have malaria. And the other good news is that he’s home and dengue isn’t fatal. But the bad news is that recovery can take weeks and I can already tell the poor dude’s getting cabin fever. Unfortunately for him, I run a tight ship and am committed to making sure he shakes this thing ASAP (by way of overpriced juices and cookies and stew), so he won’t be leaving the house anytime soon.

Aaaaanyway. I’m a few hours away from going on live television (!) so I’ve got to go take a shower and brush my hair and contemplate cutting my bangs because I woke up with a giant zit on my forehead and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be the only thing anyone is going to be able to look at. OH! And because it’s that time of the year and you guys have been emailing me like crazy people (I like all of you crazy people, by the way): real deal vanilla extract will be available during the first week of December. I’m not sure which day just yet but, come late November, I’ll post an announcement on both Facebook and Instagram. So follow along if you’ve got your hopes set on snagging a bottle. If sales are anything like past batches, I don’t expect it to be in stock for more than a day.

That’s all from my end. Wherever you are, I hope your belly is full and your head is well rested.

Spicy peanut stew with butternut squash + chickpeasVegCHICKPEASSpicy peanut stew in the makingSpicy peanutsSpicy peanut stew with butternut squash + chickpeasSpicy peanut stew with butternut squash + chickpeasSpicy peanut stew with butternut squash + chickpeasSpicy peanut stew with butternut squash + chickpeasSpicy peanut stew with butternut squash + chickpeasSpicy peanut stew with butternut squash + chickpeas

Notes: This recipe makes a big (BIG) pot of stew. We tend to eat it for a couple of meals and then freeze the rest (it freezes really well), but if you’re not a fan of eating leftovers, I recommend halving the recipe. I don’t always make this with tomato paste, but slightly prefer the tomato paste version to the one made without it. I peel the skins off of my chickpeas because I’m crazy to make digestion a bit easier and, although it’s somewhat time consuming, it’s absolutely worth it. If you don’t have fresh ginger on hand, feel free to use the powdered stuff. About 1/4-1/2 teaspoon should do it. For those of you who don’t like squash (HI ANZE!), you can use sweet potatoes or double the chickpeas. If you don’t have a splatter screen and want to use a lid to cover the pot, reduce the liquid to 3 cups and lower the heat just a tad. Also? HELLA TOPPINGS, FTW. Don’t skimp on ’em.


3 tablespoons roasted peanut oil
1 medium red onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small serrano pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 can (14.5 ounces) crushed fire roasted tomatoes
1 small can (6 ounces) tomato paste
, optional
1 cup creamy peanut butter
4 cups vegetable stock
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2″ chunks (my chunks weighed in at 1 pound 4 ounces)
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup spicy peanuts, finely chopped (recipe follows)
Fine sea salt
, to taste

To serve
Grain of choice
Finely chopped kale
Grape tomatoes
 (if your market still has ’em)
1/2 cup spicy peanuts, roughly chopped (recipe follows)

Add the peanut oil to a large soup pan set over medium heat. Heat just until it starts to sizzle then toss in the chopped onion and sauté until transparent; about 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic, serrano pepper, and ginger and sauté for 1-2 minutes, then add the cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon and mix just until everything is combined. Dump in the fire roasted tomatoes and stir until everything is evenly mixed, then stir in the tomato paste (if using), peanut butter, and vegetable stock, followed by the the squash, chickpeas, and peanuts. Bring the stew to a light rumble then reduce the heat to medium low, cover the pot with a splatter screen, and continue simmering for 35-40 minutes.

When the stew is finished cooking, serve it in bowls and top with a scoop of your favorite grain, some chopped kale, grape tomatoes, and spicy peanuts. The stew will keep refrigerated, in an air tight container, for 3-4 days. It can also be kept frozen, in an air tight container, for at least one month. Just make sure you let it thaw it completely before attempting to reheat it.

Yield: About 8 servings


1 1/2 teaspoons roasted peanut oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Heavy pinch of fine sea salt
1 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts

In a small bowl, stir together the oil and spices, then add the peanuts and toss to evenly coat. Heat a small skillet over medium heat then toss in the peanuts and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the peanuts are hot and just barely toasted. Transfer to a small, air-tight container for keeps.

Yield: 1 cup of peanuts


  • Reply dixya @ food, pleasure, and health 5 November 2015 at 5:52 AM

    i had been patiently waiting to read about your post on India…im sorry about Thom, getting sick after a trip is never fun, but at least its not malaria. you are such a good wifey stocking with all those goodies. I am sure the comforting stew will help him recover sooner. xoxo

  • Reply valentina | sweet kabocha 5 November 2015 at 6:35 AM

    You’re always so fucking awesome. I’m starting to hate you. With so much love <3
    Good luck for the TV!!! :D xo

  • Reply Monique @ Ambitious Kitchen 5 November 2015 at 6:36 AM

    This looks unbelievably delicious and gorgeous. Good luck on your TV gig! :)

  • Reply Elyse 5 November 2015 at 7:15 AM

    Those spicy peanuts look flipping amazing! Cold beer-spicy peanuts, yep!

  • Reply Katrina 5 November 2015 at 7:46 AM

    I want to hop right into this soup. What a comforting combination of flavours! Absolute perfection :)

  • Reply Asa 5 November 2015 at 8:09 AM

    This stew looks amazing. Can’t wait to try it. Also, interested in hearing about India. Sorry to hear you got sick. We went to India about five years ago and absolutely loved it. Although we were only in the South – I can’t recommend Southern India enough. Amazing food, amazing people, amazing sites. Is there a link to your CW TV spot?

  • Reply Dani Mendocha | Styled Variety 5 November 2015 at 8:09 AM

    This stew sounds like such a great way to spice up a warm Fall dinner! :)

  • Reply Alyssa 5 November 2015 at 8:26 AM

    I spent 6 weeks in India, volunteering in Kolkata and traveling in Varanasi, and I think about India most days. The colors, smells, sounds and chaos will stay with a person forever. Your opinion that it is the most wonderful and awful place is 100 percent spot on. It brings up all the big questions and feels that live inside a person.

  • Reply Emma 5 November 2015 at 9:13 AM

    well this looks incredible/has immediately become my sunday night plan. quick q: do you think canned chickpeas would work? I wouldn’t want them to break apart during the 40 minute simmer

    • Reply Ashlae 6 November 2015 at 1:00 PM

      Hi Emma –

      Hell yes they will! I don’t think they’ll break apart but, if you’re worried about that, add them after 15 minutes of simmering.

  • Reply Allysia 5 November 2015 at 9:52 AM

    I love the idea of serving this stew with seasoned peanuts! And I’d be really interested to hear your India trip thoughts at some point in the future, sounds like a wild trip.

  • Reply Gayatri 5 November 2015 at 10:22 AM

    As an Indian having grown up and continuing to live in India, I would love to know your entire story and why you think it is the most wonderful and most awful place. The problems you’ve seen and experienced are true of many parts of the world, whether developed or not. I had a tough time finding decent vegetarian food in Europe and I got sick with the most awful food poisoning in Amsterdam of all places but I think it’s all part and parcel of travelling to countries that aren’t your own. I’m aware of the issues India faces but as someone who works and lives here, I know there is definitely more to it and that we find a way to live with the problems. Do post your stories, I’m curious to know more.

    • Reply Gayatri 5 November 2015 at 10:33 AM

      P.S. I do hope Thom gets better soon and so glad it’s not malaria!

    • Reply Ashlae 6 November 2015 at 12:54 PM

      Hi Gayatri –

      I’d venture to say that getting food poisoning/not being able to find vegetarian food isn’t really that much of an issue, in the grand scheme of things. Especially when you compare aforementioned matters to the serious social and economic issues that plague most of the Indian sub-continent. It was heartbreaking to witness those things for ten days straight and, although I’m sure you get used to it after a while, there are things I saw that will haunt me for the rest of my life. For that I am certain.

  • Reply J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats 5 November 2015 at 11:25 AM

    I’ve never been to India but my dad spent a lot of time traveling there when he was younger and said that everyone has to go to India once, not to take pictures at the Taj Mahal but to see the extent of what humans can adapt to. If people can exist the way they do in India, you can exist with way less in your life now.

    Also I’m sure you know but once Thom recovers he should really really take provisions to never get dengue again. Dengue is quite dangerous the second time around :/

    • Reply Ashlae 6 November 2015 at 12:59 PM

      Hi J.S. –

      Your dad is right. Rough as it was some days, it was one of the most incredible travel experiences I’ve had, thus far. And made me realize how truly fortunate we are/what we can live without/etc, etc.

      And yes, I know. ://// Fatal in up to 50% of people who contract it the second time, I believe. Next time we go to that part of the world (or Hawaii, apparently) he’ll be bathing in DEET. ;)

  • Reply J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats 5 November 2015 at 11:26 AM

    P.S. Would love to hear your complete thoughts on India, maybe on another post dedicated to it?

  • Reply Ali @ Inspiralized 5 November 2015 at 12:25 PM

    I mean…. this may be the most beautiful dish I’ve ever seen!

  • Reply Melissa 5 November 2015 at 1:15 PM

    Your IG photos of India were amazing. I haven’t been there (yet), but would love to someday.
    Best of luck to Thom, wishing him a speedy recovery. My uncle returned from a trip to Thailand earlier this year and got a terrible case of dengue–to the point of paralysis and he’s lost his ability to walk. My cousin almost called off her wedding due to the shock of it all, but he convinced her that the show-must-go-on. He’s doing physical therapy now. Thank god this didn’t happen to you or Thom. And hopefully, he’ll recover very, very quickly! p.s. Loved the last podcast interview you did!

  • Reply Holly 5 November 2015 at 4:25 PM

    I saw you on the news this morning (haha, good job making that pimple unnoticeable!) and came here looking for the raspberry pie recipe but can’t find it. Could you direct me to the link? They looked delicious and I can’t wait to make them with my kiddos.

  • Reply Rosanna 5 November 2015 at 5:55 PM

    I would make this dish just because of the color!.. Amazing! Can’t wait to put this together and taste it! Will snap a photo and instagram it for you! Good luck on your TV appearance!

  • Reply Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry 5 November 2015 at 5:56 PM

    I have mixed feelings on India, a part of me wants to go and the other part is like hell to the no. Five years ago, I went to Vietnam and it was the most beautiful eye opening experience of my life. India might be the same way in the end.

    I’m sorry Thom is sick but at least he has you who makes him delicious nutritious stews like this recipe.

    • Reply Ashlae 6 November 2015 at 12:59 PM


      You must go to India. That’s all.

  • Reply Chrissy 5 November 2015 at 8:43 PM

    Most places that I’ve been that made the most impact are simultaneously wonderful and horrible. Good luck to Thom (and you) on recovery!

  • Reply Rachel 5 November 2015 at 9:57 PM

    Just made this for dinner (slightly adapted to the fact that I’m staying in an airbnb and didn’t want to buy ALL the ingredients) and it was amazing. Please keep making the savory foods. My tummy thanks you.

  • Reply Weekly Obsessions! - Whisk & Shout 5 November 2015 at 10:05 PM

    […] spicy peanut stew with squash and chickpeas is the kind of comfort food […]

  • Reply Meri 6 November 2015 at 5:55 AM

    My husband and I made this last night in our slow cooker and I am so looking forward to eating all the leftovers this weekend. More savory recipes, please. :-)

    P.S. I’m the one who sent you the email about dengue complications. I hope I didn’t frighten you! Wishing for a speedy recovery for Thom.

  • Reply Jacqueline 6 November 2015 at 12:41 PM

    My fiance and I recently came back from a trip to Indonesia where he contracted dengue fever (the same trip he proposed to me on!) so we can absolutely understand! A quick recovery to Thom- it does get better! Btw-this recipe looks perfect.

  • Reply Susannah (Lemon and Coconut) 6 November 2015 at 1:56 PM

    Such beautiful photo’s and recipe, your photo’s have such a lovely lovely quality to them. I think it is always good to be reminded of how precarious life is and how ****ing lucky we are if we’re not raised in a hellish place. It’s reality. Every meal is a wonderful thing to be appreciated. So many people with virtually nothing have so much simple happiness too, and so many with a lot have such complex unhappiness. We should spread joy (which you do, and also you’re making the world a better place by showing what kick-ass amazing plant-based food you can eat) and try to have a light heart in this crazy world x

  • Reply Sami 7 November 2015 at 7:41 AM

    I would love to hear about your trip to India, even if it doesn’t make us feel too happy- it’s the truth. You were so fortunate to go and witness the truth, you should share whatever you are feeling and what you witnessed without second guessing yourself. We are your readers for a reason, we love to hear what you have to share. :)

  • Reply Sarah 7 November 2015 at 4:10 PM

    India is most definitely a place of contradiction and heartache and beauty all rolled up into one noisy, busy package. I’ve been a few times now and it has gotten under my skin in a way few other places have. If you’re looking for a great but devastating read, A Free Man by Aman Sethi is a must. As is Behind The Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo. Both are long-form works of narrative journalism. On another note, I’m going to take advantage of a stormy day here in the Southern Hemisphere and make this stew for dinner tonight!

  • Reply Link Love Sunday | Add A Little 8 November 2015 at 2:01 AM

    […] Cold weather = spicy peanut stew. […]

  • Reply Austin 8 November 2015 at 12:32 PM

    Not sure why I’m just finding your blog, but YUM! This looks awesome :)

  • Reply sara forte 9 November 2015 at 9:05 PM

    oh no! thom! poor thing but such is the cost of being such world travelers I suppose. Hope he gets better soon. And this looks delicious. I am trying more soups in stews lately because pregnant sara doesn’t really cook and those pots always last a few meals and I am into that. This looks like perfection. Take care, sweet lady.

  • Reply Simone Anne 10 November 2015 at 1:00 PM

    Wow, this looks fucking incredible. I can’t wait to make it! Thanks for sharing! Sorry about Thom – I hope your tight ship gets him better real soon!

  • Reply Jacqui 10 November 2015 at 2:56 PM

    This stew is full of so many of my favorite things!! Sounds like Thom is in good hands, hope he feels better soon.

  • Reply Jodi 11 November 2015 at 5:14 AM

    I can only imagine how you guys are feeling right now. Coming home after a whirlwind trip can often leave me feeling a little like what the heck!? But that’s why we travel, even if/when we return to our day to lives, something has changed – the more you know about how life can be, the more aware you are. and not in that first world appreciate what you have, we’re lucky way but aware in way that allows you to set the values that are most important to you and live that life where ever you might be. I came home after a 4 month camping/cycling trip in september and it feels like things are still just settling in. Unsettling but wonderful at the same time. Hoping this made just a tiny bit of sense and hoping Thom feels better now. Spicy peanuts my heart. x

  • Reply Sarah Khalkho 11 November 2015 at 9:19 AM

    A big hi from India!!

  • Reply genevieve @ gratitude & greens 14 November 2015 at 6:37 PM

    Okay, as always, I am going to be first in line for that real deal vanilla extract. TOO GOOD. I have always wanted to go to India but I don’t know if I’m going to get to do that in the near future. My boyfriend’s sister went and said the exact same thing about it being simultaneously wonderful and terrible. She’s also sworn off Indian food for the next decade or so, haha!!! This spicy peanut stew sounds perfect for the Canadian winter I’m about to experience. No snow yet… but I’m waiting!

  • Reply Lanet 18 November 2015 at 11:33 AM

    This is a delicious stew!!!!!!!!!! Already making it for the second time.

    • Reply Ashlae 18 November 2015 at 4:39 PM

      Hi Lanet –

      I’m so happy to hear you’re enjoying it! <3

      • Reply Lanet 22 November 2015 at 3:04 PM

        I’m making it again for my in-laws this week 😄 And I am so excited to be sharing this with them.

  • Reply January Things - Warm Vanilla Sugar 28 January 2016 at 3:02 AM

    […] by Half Baked Harvest (pictured below) Spanokopita Quiche with Phyllo Crust by Yummy Mummy Kitchen Spicy Peanut Stew with Butternut Squash and Chickpeas by Oh, Ladycakes Twix Thumbprint Cookies by Cooking Classy Stovetop Goat Cheese Shells and Cheese […]

  • Reply Lindsey Anderson 9 March 2016 at 9:51 AM

    Made this yesterday to have for lunches and it’s so delicious! We got 6 portions out of it. It’s the first recipe I have made from your blog (stumbled across it by chance last week) and looking forward to trying more! Thanks!

  • Reply Vi 27 April 2016 at 2:16 AM

    I read this post a while ago and held off on responding for a while, I just didn’t really know what to say. My parents are Indian, I was born and raised in Australia. We made trips to India about once every two to three years throughout my childhood, and that increased to about once a year by early adulthood. I’m from a pretty bourgeois background, so I think those trips were really important for me personally in understanding how other people live and how little others have. Most developing countries were dealt a wicked hand during colonisation. But India is also so much more than its poverty. It sucks a little bit that often, that’s all that visitors can see. I hope you enjoyed your trip and hope you got to see some of the good, too.

    This stew was fantastic – I did need a hefty dose of salt at the end though to bring it all together. Maybe because I used natural peanut butter? Anyway, definitely making a repeat appearance.

  • Reply claire 27 September 2017 at 7:25 AM

    we LOVE this stew and have made it many times–and our omnivore friends love it as well. question: we have a buttercup squash sitting on our counter–do you think that would work as a sub for butternut? thanks!

    • Reply Ashlae 27 September 2017 at 8:03 AM

      Hi Claire –

      I am so happy to hear that! Not sure about buttercup but it wouldn’t hurt to try. As long as you use a semi-sweet squash, you’ll be fine.

      • Reply claire 3 October 2017 at 2:39 PM

        tried it with buttercup squash and it’s just as delicious!

        • Reply Ashlae 3 October 2017 at 5:58 PM

          Hi Claire –

          WOOOOT! So happy to hear it.

  • Reply Emma 17 October 2017 at 10:34 AM

    Okay, I don’t normally love tomato-based stews so I was a bit skeptical to try this, but WOW – this is insanely delicious. The peanut butter is what sold me and it really takes it to a whole other level! I saw a similar recipe on NYT Cooking recently and it reminded me to come back here and try your version, as I suspected it would be incredible and I was correct :)

    Side note – I know this is an old post but I am going to India (Rajasthan area) at the end of this year. Curious about your experience although I know you never posted about it here. I’d welcome any tips you may have!

  • Leave a Reply