During the last several weeks, there’s been at least one kind of soup in my kitchen. As soon as one kind is nearly finished, I get a different soup cooking in the slow cooker. It seems like there’s always something simmering! Soups are one of the easiest things to make because you can add, increase, or eliminate various ingredients to suit your taste.
One of my favorite soups in Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker is the Crockpot Callaloo Soup (photo by Lori Maffei). This colorful and flavorful soup, with its subtle heat and light coconut broth, is a delicious change from the usual vegetable soup. Because this recipe uses spinach instead of actual callaloo, it’s more correct to say that it’s a callaloo-inspired soup. The traditional Jamaican recipe uses callaloo leaves (aka taro leaves), which taste like a cross between spinach and cabbage, but they’re not available to most people. If you can find actual callaloo leaves at an Asian market, then by all means use them instead of the spinach for a more authentic soup. Also, chard can be used instead of spinach, if you prefer.
Crockpot Callaloo Soup
If you use medium-sized vegetables, the soup ingredients will fit in a 4-quart slow cooker. If you increase the vegetable sizes to large, you will need a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. This recipe is from Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker (c) 2012, by Robin Robertson.
Slow Cooker Size: 4- to 6-quart
Cook Time: 6 hours on Low
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (2 cups)
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 to 2 jalapenos or other hot chiles, seeded and minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cups cooked dark red kidney beans or other red beans or 1 (15-ounce) can, rinsed and drained
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces baby spinach
1 (13.5-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
1. For the best flavor, heat the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Alternatively, combine the oil, onion, and garlic in a microwave-safe bowl, cover, and microwave for 4 minutes.
2. Transfer the onion mixture to the slow cooker set. Add the sweet potatoes, bell pepper, chile, tomatoes, and beans. Stir in the broth, thyme, and allspice, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours, or until the vegetables are tender.
About 30 minutes before ready to serve, stir in the spinach and coconut milk, stirring to wilt the spinach. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Cover and cook for 30 minutes longer, or until the spinach is wilted. Serve hot.