Roasted Hazelnut Sauce and African Peanut Soup


Roasted Hazelnut Sauce with Scattered Mushrooms and Hazelnut Pieces

The Daring Cooks July challenge was to use nut butters in a savory recipe, sponsored by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. As of a week ago, there were already so many amazing dishes posted (many Asian themed) that I knew I couldn’t compete with them.The most impressive was a dish posted by Australian food blogger Audax Artifex: Crisp Waterchestnut Sardines Stuffed with pinenut and macadamia nut butter, served with Green Thai cashew butter AND with homemade seaweed noodles. Incredible! So, I decided to stay away from competing in Asian flavors and use nut butters in a Mediterranean sauce and an African style soup.

First, I made a roasted hazelnut cream sauce for pasta (seen above on cheese ravioli). I thought the earthiness of mushrooms went well with hazelnuts, so I blended half of the mushrooms into the sauce and scattered the rest on top. The sauce was deep and rich and savory. There really is nothing like the taste of roasted hazelnuts, is there?


A Kelly Family Favorite: African Peanut Soup

Then, I reworked a family favorite of ours: African Peanut Soup. This is a hearty, rich vegetarian soup that fills you up with just a small bowlful. I made my own peanut butter for this, and was amazed at how intense the flavor was compared to store-bought peanut butters. I just roasted the peanuts first then whirled then with some EVOO and sea salt.

Thanks, Daring Cooks Margie and Natashya for a fabulous challenge!


Makes 3 cups sauce; total time 20 minutes

2 cups hazelnuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds cremini mushrooms, sliced 1/4 inch thin
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon hazelnut oil or black truffle oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake hazelnuts for 10 to 12 minutes, until skins are darkened and nuts are fragrant. Let cool. With a kitchen towel, roll nuts until most of the skins of the nuts are removed.

While nuts are baking, saute shallots in a large skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until softened and translucent. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes, stirring frequently until mushrooms are lightly browned. Remove vegetable from pan and add vegetable broth and simmer down to one-half.

Place hazelnuts in a food processor and process for 2 to 3 minutes, until begins to be smooth. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, sour cream, vinegar and hazelnut or truffle oil. Process until very smooth. Add in sauteed vegetables and reduced broth. Process until smooth.

Serve over pasta of choice.


Serves 6 as a main course; total time 30 minutes

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup minced cilantro
3 cups vegetable broth
8 ounces silken tofu
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes in puree
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
A dash of cayenne pepper sauce
1 cup freshly made roasted peanut butter
Diced roasted peanuts for a garnish

Saute the bell pepper and onion with the oil in a large stockpot over medium high heat until softened. Stir in garlic and cilantro.

Blend the tofu with the broth in blender and then pour into pot. Add in all remaining ingredients except peanut butter and peanuts. Simmer on stovetop for about 20 minutes, or until rice is done. Add water if necessary to desired consistency.

Stir in peanut butter and serve garnished with peanuts.

Check out some other Daring Cooks takes on nut butters:
Duck and Shitake Lettuce Wraps with Cashew Sauce, Healthy Delicious
Giant Cream Cheese Wontons with Pistachio Butter, Put a Fork in It
Kare Kare in Peanut Butter Sauce, Filipino Cuisine
Chicken with Pecan Cream, The Creative Pot

— posted by Donna


  1. gabriella says

    I’ve been wanting to leave a comment on your african peanut soup for over 2 years now. It is a regular dinner dish at our house and every time i made all i can do is praise you! who ever didn’t try this recipe you MUST do it soon.

  2. Chrizelle says

    Oh Donna! Won’t you have us for dinner this Sunday? Please? I nearly died when I saw this post. That soup is just delicious and to my deprived pallet it would surely taste like heaven!

  3. Anne says

    We called them filberts in Colorado too – I think it was the standard name until some savvy soul on the Filbert Council decided to improve the branding! :O) Sort of the way they’re trying to get “prunes” remarketed as “dried plums” and so on.

  4. says

    Wow, your hazelnut cream sauce looks delicious! I will definitely try this when hazelnuts are fresh in the pacific northwest!

    And, I can’t wait to try the soup during the winter. It looks amazing, and something I would make over and over during the colder months.

    • says

      Ranae – I lived near Portland for 20 years – LOVED all the produce and fell in love with hazelnuts (we called them “filberts” where I lived!)

    • says

      chef_d – It means so much to have a comment from someone obviuosly as accomplished in the kitchen as you are. Thanks so much for your kind words.


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