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Vegan Oca Peanut Stew with Kale

Vegan Oca Peanut Stew with Kale

We often add ocas to vegetable stews when we have them, but rarely do they get to be the star of the show. This vegan oca peanut stew changes all that and allows the ocas to shine in their own right. The ocas are simmered in a rich tomato and peanut concoction which complements their brisk lemony notes beautifully. Kale adds a splash of colour and a whole heap of additional nourishment.

Guild of Oca Breeders

We haven’t had the time or space to grow our own oca for a while now, but we have occasionally found some in our fortnightly veg box. Last week we received a fabulous box of mixed ocas from a member of the Guild of Oca Breeders. CT founded GOB, as he likes to call it, a few years ago along with a group of other oca enthusiasts. It’s an attempt to breed ocas that will grow much better in our climate.

Mixed Oca Tubers

Like potatoes before them, ocas come from the Andes where days and nights are roughly equal. That’s what they need to form tubers. We need our ocas to tuberise much earlier in the season, so they have a chance to grow to a decent size.

Oca Characteristics

The most common oca you’re likely to find is the pink one, which has the sharpest notes. But ocas come in all shapes, sizes, flavours and textures. Some are relatively bland and floury. This may not sound that exciting, but they are my personal favourite. Some are sweet and waxy in texture and some have distinctive lemon tones.

Sadly, the beautiful colours fade with cooking. Not completely, but they are no longer vibrant.

Halved Oca Tubers

I’ve written about oca in much more detail in my recipe post for chilli roasted oca with hedgerow pesto.

How Do You Prepare Oca For Cooking?

Oca are pretty easy to prepare for cooking. If you grow your own, they may require a good bit of scrubbing, depending on what soil type you have. But  if you buy them, they are most likely to come pre-washed. If this is the case, you only need to give them a quick shake in a bowl of water. The bottoms of the tubers might need trimming, but that’s it, job done.

Oca Tubers Cooking

Vegan Oca Peanut Stew with Kale

My vegan oca peanut stew is loosely based on the classic West African peanut stew. This is a stew of meat or vegetables cooked in a rich peanut and tomato sauce. Most vegetarian and vegan versions I’ve come across are made with sweet potato. This is delicious too and if you really can’t get hold of any ocas, then do substitute them for sweet potatoes.

Vegan Oca Peanut Stew with Kale

The stew is both filling and nourishing, so it can be served in a bowl just as it is. However, if you’re hungry, it’s good served with crusty bread or even cooked brown rice.


Kale also features in this vegan oca peanut stew. It’s tasty, nutritious and easy to get hold of these days, but you can actually use whatever greens you like. Any sort of cabbage would be good, especially spring greens. I’ve made it with the leaves from purple sprouting broccoli before and that worked really well too.

If you add something tender like spinach, do so just a few minutes before the stew is ready for serving so the leaves don’t go too mushy.

Vegan Oca Peanut Stew with Kale

Peanut Butter

If you use peanut butter, as I have done, it makes this vegan oca peanut stew really easy to prepare. I’ve gone for a smooth version as I don’t like the idea of crunchy bits in a stew, but if you prefer crunchy peanut butter, please go ahead and use it instead.


Tomatoes aren’t in season at the moment, so tinned tomatoes can be used to make this vegan oca peanut stew recipe. However, I ended up with four large tomatoes in my veg box last week, so I used fresh tomatoes.

Oca Tubers and Tomatoes Cooking


For this recipe, I kept the smaller ocas whole and cut the larger ones in half. If you were just boiling them straight, they’d take about 15 minutes to cook, but simmering in a stew they take a little longer. They are at their best in this vegan oca peanut stew when they are soft but still holding their shape.

Unlike potatoes, oca can be eaten raw. So if some of the ocas aren’t completely soft and you’re getting impatient to eat, it won’t matter at all.

Other Stew Recipes You Might Like

Keep in Touch

Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make this vegan oca peanut stew, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or via social media. Do share photos on your preferred social media site and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.

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Vegan Oca Peanut Stew with Kale.

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Vegan Oca Peanut Stew with Kale – The Recipe

Vegan Oca Peanut Stew with Kale
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4.94 from 15 votes

Vegan Oca Peanut Stew with Kale

Ocas are simmered in a rich tomato and peanut concoction which complements their brisk lemony notes beautifully. Kale adds a splash of colour and a whole heap of additional nourishment.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Andean, West African
Keyword: curry, kale, oca, peanut butter, stew, tomatoes, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 393kcal


  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 onions - finely chopped
  • 700 g ocas - tips cut off if needed and larger tubers cut in half (can substitute sweet potatoes)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 large tomatoes - chopped (or 400g chopped tinned tomatoes)
  • 4 cloves garlic - finely chopped
  • thumb sized knob of root ginger - finely grated
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • ½ - 1 tsp chilli powder (depending on how hot you like it)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • good grinding of black pepper
  • 4 tbsp peanut butter (I prefer smooth)
  • 150 g kale - tough stalks removed & leaves roughly chopped
  • Coriander leaves - roughly chopped (optional)


  • Heat the oil in a large pan, then fry the onions gently for 5 minutes.
  • Add the cumin seeds and ocas. Stir and cover the pot with a lid. Cook gently for 10 minutes.
  • Add all the remaining ingredients, except the kale and peanut butter, together with 500ml water. Stir, bring to the boil and simmer covered for another 10 minutes.
  • Take some of the liquid out of the stew and mix with the peanut butter to make a pourable sauce. Add back to the stew and stir. Throw in the kale and simmer with the pot covered for a further 10 minutes. Check everything is cooked to your liking. Give the whole thing a good stir, then ladle into bowls and scatter with some chopped coriander leaves if liked.


You may need to add a little less water if using tinned tomatoes. Start with 400ml and add more if needed.
You can serve the stew just as it is for a lighter meal or with some crusty bread for something a bit more substantial. It's also very good with cooked brown rice.
Please note: calories and other nutritional information are per serving. They're approximate and will depend on serving size and exact ingredients used.


Calories: 393kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 10.5g | Fat: 15.9g | Saturated Fat: 2.5g | Sodium: 668mg | Potassium: 1444mg | Fiber: 10.8g | Sugar: 16.2g | Calcium: 1490mg | Iron: 0.9mg


I’m linking my vegan oca peanut stew up to #CookOnceEatTwice with Searching for Spice  and #CookBlogShare with Easy Peasy Foodie.

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  1. angiesrecipes

    26th February 2019 at 3:01 pm

    wow Those ocas are so gorgeous! Have never seen them over here..really pretty and fancy. The stew sounds and looks seriously delicious and healthful.

    • Choclette

      27th February 2019 at 1:54 pm

      Seriously delicious indeed. Ocas are sadly not common in Europe – yet!

  2. Cat | Curly's Cooking

    26th February 2019 at 9:37 pm

    I had no idea what ocas were until seeing this recipe. What an interesting ingredient! I love the sound of the peanut in your stew.

    • Choclette

      27th February 2019 at 1:55 pm

      The peanut sauce is divine Cat. The ocas work really well in it, but lots of other vegetables would be good too.

  3. Helen @

    26th February 2019 at 10:05 pm

    This looks and sounds fabulous. I haven’t seen ocas anywhere – not even in our veg box which often has weird and wonderful items in it. Hopefully they will become easier to get hold of and then I can have a go at some of your terrific recipes for them!

    • Choclette

      27th February 2019 at 1:56 pm

      Thanks Helen. Riverford grow them and that’s who we get our veg box from. I have seen them occasionally in really good greengrocers, but they’re sadly not as common as they should be.

  4. Corina Blum

    27th February 2019 at 10:31 am

    I’ve never tried ocas before but they sound really tasty. I’ll definitely have to look out for them and the peanut stew looks delicious too.

    • Choclette

      27th February 2019 at 1:57 pm

      Thanks Corina. The stew is my new favourite recipe. It’s really good with the ocas, but works well with sweet potatoes too.

  5. Mary

    28th February 2019 at 8:19 am

    We get Ocas in New Zealand but they are called Yams. But only in a pinky/orange colour. Have always roasted them or boiled them like potatoes. Would be lovely in the peanut/tomato sauce. Next time I get some I will try this way.

    • Choclette

      28th February 2019 at 6:36 pm

      Yes, I mentioned New Zealand yams in my other oca recipe post. It’s good to hear you can find them. I think they’re a bit more common in NZ than here, even if you can’t get hold of all the colours.

  6. Anna | Serving Dumplings

    28th February 2019 at 7:59 pm

    I had no idea, I’ve seen ocas earlier but never knew how to prepare them. Seriously delicious recipe

    • Choclette

      1st March 2019 at 8:21 am

      Oh do get some if you can Anna. Oca deserve to be more widely known.

  7. Esha

    1st March 2019 at 11:55 pm

    I have never made ocas before. And this looks and sound so interesting. The recipe seems really delicious. Would love to try it out.

    • Choclette

      2nd March 2019 at 5:11 pm

      If you can’t get hold of ocas Esha, sweet potatoes work well too.

  8. Tanza Erlambang

    2nd March 2019 at 12:08 pm

    I like peanuts.
    thank you for recipe

    • Choclette

      2nd March 2019 at 5:13 pm

      Peanuts are a fabulous ingredient for sure Tanza.

  9. Eb Gargano | Easy Peasy Foodie

    4th March 2019 at 8:39 pm

    Wow – thanks for educating me – I have never even heard of ocas!! I like the sound of them, though 😀 Thanks for linking up to #CookBlogShare. Eb x

    • Choclette

      5th March 2019 at 9:42 am

      It’s a shame they’re not better known. They’re a much underrated vegetable.

  10. Swati

    5th March 2019 at 3:07 pm

    The curry looks so inviting with all the kale, tomatoes and peanut butter. I have read about ocas as a substitute to potatoes and yam but never tried these or even seen in stores here in US or in India. will like to try this curry with potatoes ..

    • Choclette

      5th March 2019 at 4:17 pm

      I expect it would be good with potatoes too. I know it’s very good with sweet potatoes.

  11. Elizabeth

    5th March 2019 at 3:29 pm

    Wow, I’ve never heard of oca before. They sound delicious! And this vegan West African Peanut Stew looks exceptional. Thanks so much for the highly educational post. I’ll be watching for oca at my local farmers market this summer!

    • Choclette

      5th March 2019 at 4:18 pm

      Good luck with the oca Elizabeth. It would be fabulous if you managed to find some. I’d have thought ocas would be more easily available in the States, than over here.

  12. Kate Hackworthy

    6th March 2019 at 1:11 pm

    This stew looks delicious and it’s great to find out more about oca!

    • Choclette

      7th March 2019 at 6:40 pm

      It’s oca knowledge central here Kate. Who knew there was so much to know about it?

  13. Nickki

    6th March 2019 at 1:39 pm

    I haven’t heard of oca before – I’m very intrigued and would love to try it! The peanut sauce sounds delicious.

    • Choclette

      7th March 2019 at 6:37 pm

      The peanut sauce is delicious, but the oca complement it really well too. Sweet potatoes also work particularly well if you can’t get hold of oca.

  14. Camilla Hawkins

    6th March 2019 at 2:15 pm

    I have never had an oca but I know I would love this stew with all those delicious flavours going on in there!

    • Choclette

      7th March 2019 at 6:42 pm

      Thanks Camilla, it’s a really lovely stew and a great way to eat oca.

  15. Kavita Favelle

    8th March 2019 at 3:35 pm

    I came across oca roots a few years ago at a posh event with food by Simon Rogan, and I said to myself I’d look to find them, maybe grow them. Completely forgot! Love the look of this stew, I love veg and peanut soup so I’m sure I’d like this!

    • Choclette

      8th March 2019 at 7:48 pm

      I’m sure you would Kavey. Reckon growing some ocas would be nice project for Pete in your new garden.

  16. Mayuri Patel

    9th March 2019 at 3:16 pm

    Have never heard about the veggie ova but sure was glad to read all about it on your blog Choclette. An interesting tuber. The stew looks so wholesome and healthy with the added kale.

    • Choclette

      10th March 2019 at 9:15 am

      I like to add some sort of green to my stews so we can enjoy a one pot meal with everything we need.

  17. Lucy

    9th March 2019 at 5:30 pm

    I’ve never seen Ocas on sale but have heard about them in your recipes before, they sound really tasty. Good to know you can use sweet potatoes instead, I think this veggie version of the African peanut stew sounds perfect for those cold Spring days.

    • Choclette

      10th March 2019 at 9:13 am

      It absolutely is a good stew for cold spring days. It’s blowing a hoolie down here on the coast. The stew is just what’s needed to lift our spirits.

  18. Jacqueline Meldrum

    10th March 2019 at 12:29 pm

    You always share something new Choclette. I have never cooked or eaten oca before, but I feel I know a bit more about it now.

    • Choclette

      10th March 2019 at 2:44 pm

      Well I do try to be a little bit different where I can. And I do live with someone who loves to explore food plants that aren’t yet mainstream.

  19. Helen at Casa Costello

    10th March 2019 at 2:03 pm

    I don’t believe I’ve ever come across Oca before – certainly not a wide spread ingredient here in ST Helens. I’ll definitely be looking out for them though – they are so pretty.. I love the sounds of using chunky peanut butter in this sort of recipe too.

    • Choclette

      10th March 2019 at 2:47 pm

      Oca aren’t yet widespread, but they do pop up sometimes in independent shops or farmers markets.They are pretty and tasty too.


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