Mouth sores, dryness or pain, and difficulty chewing or swallowing are common complaints among many patients being treated for some kinds of cancer, including those undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy. These side effects aren’t just uncomfortable; difficulty eating can contribute to weight loss, muscle wasting, fatigue and dehydration, and can eventually lead to further treatment complications or even hospitalization.
Soft, easy-to-eat recipes can help patients keep their bodies strong and operating at their very best, but sometimes they also sacrifice the kinds of complex flavors that many patients may miss from their pretreatment diets. Our sweet potato stew is a slow cooker riff on a traditional West African soup, flavored with cilantro, ginger and the hearty crunch of peanuts. This two-step soup is super simple; a quick whiz in the food processor and a few hours in the slow cooker are all you need to produce a healthy, rich soup that’s easy to eat, even for patients suffering from the side effects of some kinds of cancer treatment.
But the potential health benefits of sweet potatoes don’t stop there. A single sweet potato contains over 500% of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin A, is loaded with antioxidants and may even have specific anti-cancer effects. According to the National Institute of Health
, 80% of the protein in sweet potatoes is a type of protease inhibitor
, which may have anticancer effects and suppress the growth of some types of cancer cells.
Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Stew With Peanuts
- 1 can (28 ounces) peeled whole tomatoes, undrained
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 cup chunky peanut butter
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled
- 6 medium-to-large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” pieces
- 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
- 8 cups chopped fresh spinach
- Chopped peanuts and additional cilantro leaves, to serve
In a food processor or blender, combine tomatoes, cilantro, peanut butter, garlic, cumin, salt, cinnamon, paprika and ginger. Pulse until combined.
Transfer mixture to slow cooker, and add sweet potatoes, chickpeas and vegetable broth to slow cooker, cover, and cook on low, 6-8 hours, or until potatoes are tender. Stir in fresh spinach, and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Serve with additional chopped peanuts and chopped fresh cilantro.