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Starchy Foods That Are Common in Nigerian Cuisine

Nigerian cuisine has become known for its stews and soups, with many of these dishes using meat as the main ingredient. However, if you're trying to eat less meat or avoid it altogether, there are still plenty of delicious options to be had at your local Nigerian restaurant. Here are a few starchy dishes that are common in Nigerian cuisine.


If you love fried, crunchy foods, then akara is the perfect dish for you to order. It is made from ground beans that are then shaped into patties, coated in batter, and then fried to a crisp in palm oil. The resulting cake is really flavorful and filling — a good source of both carbohydrates and protein. Akara can be enjoyed on its own or dipped in a stew made from peppers and tomatoes.

Beans and Plantain

If you want to enjoy a typical Nigerian stew without all the meat, then order beans and plantain. This is a thick, porridge-like stew with a heartiness from the beans and a sweetness from the plantain. Some restaurants may garnish the stew with flakes of dried fish. These add a nice flavor to the dish, but you can always ask for them to be left off if you're trying to avoid animal products altogether.

Pounded Yam

Yam is a really healthy option. In Nigerian tradition, it is boiled and then pounded into a mash using a mortar and pestle. Although yam is really high in starch, as a potato would be, it is far more nutritious than a potato; it's packed with vitamins A and C. Pounded yam is often served in a bowl, sometimes topped with a ladle of whatever stock or soup happens to be around. It can also be served with some beans on top if you're hoping for a vegetarian meal.


Garri is a staple dish in many Nigerian homes, and Nigerian restaurants also tend to serve it. The dish is made from cassava, which is a root vegetable. The cassava is peeled, chopped, and boiled in a manner similar to mashed potatoes. It is then pushed through a sieve to create an even texture before being fried in oil for a crispy finish.

If you visit a Nigerian restaurant and are craving something starchy, order one of the dishes above. In a cuisine dominated by meats and proteins, there are some starch-based options for anyone who prefers them.