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How to make egusi soup without meat

You can make a delicious vegetarian or vegan Egusi soup without meat by using plant-based ingredients and still enjoy the rich flavors of this West African dish. Here’s a simple recipe for vegetarianvegan Egusi soup:


  • 1 cup egusi (ground melon seeds)
  • 14 cup red palm oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 teaspoons ginger, minced (optional)
  • 2-3 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 2 cups chopped leafy greens (spinach, kale, or collard greens)
  • 1-2 cups chopped assorted vegetables (bell peppers, tomatoes, okra, etc.)
  • 1-2 Scotch bonnet or habanero peppers, finely chopped (adjust to your spice preference)
  • 1 tablespoon ground crayfish (optional, for flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (adjust to your spice preference)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons groundnut paste or peanut butter (optional, for creaminess)
  • Cooked rice, fufu, or pounded yam (for serving, optional)


  1. Prepare the Egusi:
    • In a dry skillet, lightly toast the egusi (ground melon seeds) over low to medium heat until they release a nutty aroma. Stir constantly to prevent burning. This should take about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Make Egusi Paste:
    • Place the toasted egusi in a bowl and gradually add water or vegetable broth, stirring until you have a smooth, thick paste. Set it aside.
  3. Heat the Palm Oil:
    • In a large pot, heat the red palm oil over medium heat. If using vegetable oil, heat it until it shimmers.
  4. Sauté Onions, Garlic, and Ginger:
    • Add the chopped onion to the hot oil and sauté until it becomes translucent.
    • Stir in the minced garlic and ginger (if using) and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add Vegetables:
    • Add the chopped assorted vegetables and chopped hot peppers to the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes until they start to soften.
  6. Add Crayfish and Cayenne Pepper:
    • If using, add the ground crayfish and ground cayenne pepper to the pot. Stir to combine.
  7. Add Egusi Paste:
    • Gradually add the egusi paste to the pot, stirring continuously to prevent lumps from forming.
  8. Add Vegetable Broth:
    • Pour in the vegetable broth or water, and stir until the soup has a smooth consistency. You can adjust the thickness by adding more broth or water as needed.
  9. Simmer:
    • Let the soup simmer for about 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld and the egusi to cook.
  10. Add Leafy Greens:
    • Stir in the chopped leafy greens (spinach, kale, or collard greens). Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes until the greens are tender.
  11. Adjust Seasoning:
    • Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. You can also add more cayenne pepper if you prefer it spicier.
  12. Optional Creaminess:
    • If desired, stir in groundnut paste or peanut butter to add creaminess to the soup. Adjust the consistency with more vegetable broth if needed.
  13. Serve:
    • Serve your vegetarianvegan Egusi soup hot with your choice of side, such as cooked rice, fufu, or pounded yam.

Enjoy your meatless Egusi soup packed with flavor and nutritious vegetables!

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