Ring in the New Year with Spicy Peanut Stew
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Ring in the New Year with Spicy Peanut Stew

Whether you believe in “good luck” foods or not, you’ll love to ring in the new year with Spicy Peanut Stew. It’s full of “lucky” legumes – black beans, garbanzo beans, and peanuts. (Feel free to throw in some black-eyed peas, if you’re a purist.)

According to popular folklore in the United States and elsewhere, eating certain foods on New Year’s Day will guarantee good luck in the new year. Legumes – especially beans, black-eyed peas, and lentils – are traditionally “lucky” foods because they symbolize money or wealth.

Other so-called lucky foods (and recipes) are:

What makes Spicy Peanut Stew So Great?

  • Delicious and Comforting. Thyme, cumin, and plenty of garlic and onions provide a savory flavor base. On top of that, spicy salsa and peanut butter really give life and depth to this stew.

  • Healthy: Thanks to the abundance of vegetables, legumes, and whole-grains, Spice Peanut Stew is a wonderful source of fiber, B Vitamins, minerals, complex carbs, and protein.

  • Special Diet-Friendly – Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free: If you have a peanut allergy, substitute almond or cashew butter for the peanut butter. Allergic to peanuts and tree nuts? No problem – use tahini or sunbutter in place of the peanut butter.

  • Easy: Fifteen minutes of prep in the morning, then let your slow cooker do the rest. The original recipe I inherited from my awesome Aunt Janelle (who also happens to be a smokin’ hot vegan yogi) was made for the stovetop. But, I’m lazy, so I modified it for a slow cooker, and I think I like it even better that way. Here’s the original, now tattered, hand-written recipe card. Yes, I renamed it, too – I’m not sure what made it “African” in the first place, but I know it’s peanut-y. 😋
The original recipe, handed down from my Aunt Janelle.
  • Feeds a Crowd: You’ll have enough for leftovers or another meal. I usually freeze half of this recipe and save it for another day. I’ve also shared half of the recipe with someone else (Meal Train, anyone?)

  • So Modifiable: No yams? Use regular potatoes or carrots. No rice? Substitute quinoa or pearl barley. No zucchini? I’ve used everything from broccoli to red bell pepper – it all works.

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Spicy Peanut Stew in bowl angle

Spicy Peanut Stew

  • Author: Brook Hagen
  • Total Time: 4 – 8 hours
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Spicy Peanut Stew is perfect for a lucky New Year meal, or anytime during the cold winter months. 

You’ll need a slow cooker with at least a 6-quart capacity for this recipe.



1 large onion, chopped

2 yams, chopped

2 small zucchini, chopped

46 cloves of garlic, minced

1 can black beans, drained

1 can garbanzo beans, drained

1 cup dry rice

45 cups vegetable or chicken broth

12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) medium salsa

2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves

2 teaspoons ground cumin

salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup peanut butter 


  1. Grab your slow cooker and spray the crock with nonstick spray.
  2. Put all the ingredients (except the peanut butter) into the slow cooker. Stir if it makes you feel better (I usually just pile it all in and leave). Spicy Peanut Stew Ingredients
  3. Cook on low heat for 8 hours or high heat for 4 hours.
  4. At the end of the cook time, stir in the peanut butter. It will look something like this:Finished Peanut Stew in Crock
  5. Serve alone or with toppings and sides (suggestions below).


Substitution Notes

  • Yams can be replaced with any kind of potatoes, carrots, winter squash, or any other slightly starchy vegetable.
  • Zucchinis can be replaced with broccoli, mushrooms, bell pepper, eggplant, or any other vegetable you like.
  • Rice substitutes that I like: Quinoa, pearl barley, and farro. Due to the long cooking time, this is a great recipe for trying new grains.
  • Black and garbanzo beans: Any canned or cooked beans you have will work. Do not use dry beans.
  • Peanut butter: Any crunchy or creamy nut butter will work, as will tahini (made from sesame seeds) or sunbutter. 

Side and topping suggestions

  • Dairy: sour cream (favorite), Greek yogurt, shredded cheese
  • Animal protein: fried egg (favorite), leftover grilled meat, bacon
  • Fruits and vegetables: sliced avocado, diced mango, pickled hot peppers
  • Crunchy: tortilla chips, corn chips, pita chips
  • Bready: crusty bread, naan (favorite), soft tortillas, pitas
  • Greens: sliced green onion, cilantro (favorite), chives, fresh thyme, basil
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 – 8 hours
  • Category: Stew
  • Method: Slow Cooker


  • Serving Size: 1.5 cups
  • Calories: 234
  • Sugar: 5.4 g
  • Sodium: 560 mg
  • Fat: 5.4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.0 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 36 g
  • Fiber: 7.8 g
  • Protein: 10 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free

The last time we made this, I didn’t have yams or zucchini, so I substituted one red bell pepper, about 6 ounces of sliced mushrooms, and a partial bag of frozen peas. It was one of my favorite veggie combos yet!

Spicy Peanut Stew with a dollop of sour cream and some arugula. Yum, yum!

Ready for the New Year?

Even if you’re not, at least you have a recipe for a warm, delicious winter stew. Here’s hoping those beans actually bring us all good luck in the next year!

Did you try this recipe? If so, please let me know how it went by rating it on this page, commenting below, or posting to social media and tagging Diligent Spoon. 🥄


The Spruce Eats: Good Luck Foods and What NOT to Eat on New Year’s Day


  • Zee

    Yum! Your aunt probably named it “Spicy African Stew” because the ingredients (black beans, yams, rice, peanuts, etc.) are heavily used in the cuisine of the South which is directly related to West Africa cuisine brought over by slaves and introduced to America. Peanuts, for example, were brought over to North America by African slaves in the 1700s. The word “goober” comes from the Congo name for peanuts – “nguba.” Feel free to check out my write up on peanuts here: https://www.wokeupandmade.com/blog/peanut-butter-overnight-oats The tradition of eating black-eyed pea soup with collards etc. is also a Southern tradition. The greens represent money, black-eyed peas represent wealth, and corn bread represents gold. 🙂 I love food history!

    • Brook Hagen

      Zee – thank you so much for taking the time to explain the original recipe title! Without knowing the history, I didn’t want to falsely label the recipe “African”, so I really appreciate your insight. Your blog is beautiful and delicious – I will definitely be following you and http://www.wokeupandmade.com/ … and making the Peanut Butter Overnight Oats.