top of page

Yam Pesto Recipe


yam pesto inspired by Nigeria
plantain bread made with yam pesto inspired by Nigeria
peanut stew made with yam pesto inspired by Nigeria

The yam is sometimes called the king of crops in Nigeria. This African country is the world’s largest producer of yams. Not only do Nigerians value the versatility of yams, but they also hold an annual celebration at the end of the farming season that honors this tuber. There are dances, parades, costumes, and many yam dishes to eat.

The origin of yams reflect religious beliefs shared among many. One common story is that yams were given by the supreme being or god of various Nigerian subcultures.

yam pesto inspired by Nigeria

Makes 2 cups


1 small yam, peeled and cubed

2 cups chopped leek

1/2 orange, juiced

1 tablespoon butter

1/3 cup pecans

1/4 cup fresh thyme

1/4 cup olive oil


  1. In a large pan over medium heat, combine yam, leek, orange juice, and butter. Cover and let cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent browning.

  2. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Combine yam mixture with the remaining ingredients in a food processor. Blend until a smooth paste forms.

  3. If using a mortar and pestle, crush the pecans until a fine crumb forms. Add the cooked yam mixture, and mash until smooth. Mix in the thyme and olive oil. Mash until the desired consistency forms.

  4. Store pesto in an airtight container or jar in the refrigerator for up to one week. Use throughout the week in the next two recipes. Pesto can last in an airtight container in the freezer for up to six months.


plantain bread made with yam pesto inspired by Nigeria

Plantain Bread

The plantain, or the starchier sister of the banana, is a common ingredient in Nigerian cuisine. It is prepared as chips, blended into pudding, fried, and mashed. These various methods developed and have been refined since plantains were grown in eastern Africa as early as 3000 B.C.

peanut stew made with yam pesto inspired by Nigeria

Peanut Stew

Peanut stew, which is also called groundnut soup or maafe, is a soup native to Nigeria and popular throughout West Africa. Peanuts reached Africa during the 16th century, and the people of Nigeria quickly adopted the new food into their culinary traditions.

bottom of page