Vegan Red Red Stew from Zoe's Ghana Kitchen by Zoe Adjonyoh
5 from 4 votes
By Zoe Adjonyoh | Zoe's Ghana Kitchen: Writer, chef & food justice activist

This Vegan Red Red Stew recipe is an exclusive from Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen: An Introduction to New African Cuisine – From Ghana With Love by Zoe Adjonyoh. Click here to find out where you can order the book.

Vegan Red Red Stew

*So good they named it twice. This dish is so called, I’m told, because it’s coloured red twice–once from the red of the palm oil and a second time from the tomatoes. But there’s a lot of duplication in the titles of dishes in Ghanaian cooking in any case. This stew of black-eyed peas (cowpeas) cooked in a gently spiced tomato sauce is a great vegan dish eaten all day long in Ghana–an alternative to baked beans for breakfast or as a bean casserole for lunch or dinner. Usually eaten with Dodo–Simple Fried Plantain, this is tasty, nourishing comfort food that’s super-easy to make.

How to Make Vegan Red Red Stew

Vegan Red Red Stew from Zoe's Ghana Kitchen by Zoe Adjonyoh

Vegan Red Red Stew from Zoe's Ghana Kitchen

5 from 4 votes
This stew of black-eyed peas (cowpeas) cooked in a gently spiced tomato sauce is a great vegan dish eaten all day long in Ghana–an alternative to baked beans for breakfast or as a bean casserole for lunch or dinner.
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Author: Zoe Adjonyoh | Zoe's Ghana Kitchen


  • 200 g 7oz dried black-eyed peas/cowpeas, or 400g (14oz) can organic black-eyed peas/cowpeas
  • 75 ml 5 tablespoons sustainable red palm oil
  • 1 red onion finely diced
  • 2.5 cm 1-inch piece fresh root ginger, finely grated (unpeeled if organic)
  • ¼ tablespoon dried red chili flakes
  • ½ red Scotch bonnet chili deseeded and diced
  • 1 teaspoon extra hot madras curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon extra hot chili powder ground birds eye or habanero
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 400 g 14oz can chopped, or 600g (21oz) plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • sea salt to taste
  • 50-100 ml 2-3 ½fl oz bean pot liquor or water gari (fermented, dried and ground cassava), for sprinkling


  • If using dried beans, ideally you should soak overnight. If this is not possible, rinse and place in a large saucepan, cover with a good depth of water and add ½ tsp of potash or baking soda (it will help soften the beans faster whilst they are cooking) – bring to the boil, then simmer for at least 1hour or until the beans are tender enough to be squeezed easily between thumb and forefinger. Drain and set aside. If using a can of beans, just drain, rinse and drain again.
  • Heat the palm oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a low–medium heat until it melts (palm oil has a low smoke point, so be careful not to let it burn). Sauté the onion until translucent before adding the curry and chili powders, ginger, chili flakes and Scotch bonnet and sauté gently for a few minutes more, then add the tomato paste and a little water to deglaze the pan.
  • Add all the tomatoes, sea salt and black pepper and stir through. Leave to cook over a medium heat for 45–60 minutes or until the tomatoes start to break down. If you want a smooth sauce, blend with an immersion blender at this point.
  • Add the cooked or drained canned beans, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for a further 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the beans don’t stick to the pan, until the beans are tender and the tartness of tomatoes has dissipated.
  • Check the seasoning before serving in a bowl with some gari sprinkled on top, along with a side of Simple Fried Plantain.


TIP: If using canned chopped tomatoes, add them 20 minutes into the cooking time or stir in1 tablespoon sugar to counterbalance the tartness of the tomatoes.
Follow Zoe on Instagram at @ghanakitchen.
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Vegan Red Red Stew from Zoe's Ghana Kitchen by Zoe Adjonyoh

Excerpted from ZOE’S GHANA KITCHEN by Zoe Adjonyoh. Copyright © 2021 by Zoe Adjonyoh. Photographs by Nassima Rothacker. Used with permission of Voracious, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company. New York, NY. All rights reserved.

Zoe's Ghana Kitchen by Zoe Adjonyoh Cookbook Cover

Click here to order your copy.

About the Author

Zoe Adjonyoh is a writer, chef, and food justice activist on a mission to bring African food to the masses. As a mixed-race, queer woman born to a Ghanaian father and Irish mother who works at the intersections of food, culture, identity, and politics, she is driven to create change in the food landscape. Through her online single-origin spice shop, teaching, and cooking, Zoe seeks to inspire African food entrepreneurs, cooks, and chefs from the continent and the diaspora. Zoe also founded the platform Black Book for Black and non-white people working within hospitality and food media. Join her as she dismantles, disrupts, and decolonizes the food industry while supporting marginalized communities and building a more equitable food system.

About the Book

Remix classic Ghanaian dishes for the modern kitchen in a cookbook that is “bright, bold, and bursting with flavor” (Bryant Terry) and “provides a new perspective and a sense of wonder for Ghanaian cooking” (Sicily Sierra)

Celebrated cook and writer Zoe Adjonyoh passionately believes we are on the cusp of an African food revolution. First published to widespread acclaim in the United Kingdom, Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen began as a pop-up restaurant in London featuring dishes such as Pan-Roasted Cod with Grains of Paradise, Nkruma (Okra) Tempura, Cubeb-Spiced Shortbread, and Coconut and Cassava Cake. Soon those dishes evolved into this tempting and celebratory cookbook, newly revised and updated for American cooks.

Join Zoe as she shares the beauty of Ghana’s markets, culture, and cuisine, and tells the evocative story of using these tastes and food traditions to navigate her own identity. Whether you are familiar with the delights of Ghanaian cuisine or new to the bold flavors of West Africa, this book contains inspiration for extraordinary home cooking.

With flexible recipes for hearty salads, quick and wholesome dinners, flavorful feasts, and much more, Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen brings truly exciting and flavor-packed dishes into your kitchen. This is contemporary African food for simply everyone.

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