Recipes / Veganism

Meat-Free Monday Recipe: Jamaican Pepper Pot Soup

Happy Meat-Free Monday, Everyone!  I’m back in the U.S. after a week-long vacation in balmy Montego Bay, Jamaica.  As I perused a gift shop searching for trinkets and souvenirs, I discovered the book Vegetarian Cooking Jamaican Style by chef Ayesha Williams.  Always excited to add to my burgeoning cookbook collection, I bought it.  Inspired by the exotic ingredients, I whipped up Williams’ recipe for “Irie Pepper Pot Soup.”

This spicy soup calls for callaloo, a Caribbean vegetable akin to spinach (absolutely delish!), and Scotch bonnet pepper, an insanely hot Caribbean chili pepper.  Unfortunately, my grocery stores stock neither ingredient.  Instead, I improvised and used spinach and habanero pepper.  It’s an intriguing dish with complex flavors: the heat from the habanero, the freshness from the spinach, the creaminess from the coconut milk and the spicy warmth from the Jamaican allspice.  It looks a bit like “lawn in a bowl,” but don’t be fooled.  It’s hearty and delish; perfect for those upcoming cool nights.

Jamaican Pepper Pot Soup

4 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups spinach (or callaloo), fresh & roughly chopped
2 cups spinach (or callaloo), boiled & pureed
1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped
1 cup white onion, diced
1 cup scallions, chopped
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons Jamaican allspice
1 habenero chili pepper, cut in half with seeds removed
2-3 tablespoons Earth Balance soy butter
Salt & pepper to taste


Cook 2 cups of spinach by boiling.  When done, then puree in blender and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat butter and saute onions, carrots and scallions for approximately 3 minutes.  While these are cooking, in a large pot, heat vegetable broth.  Add onions, carrots, scallions and butter to broth in pot.  Mix well. Boil for 3 minutes on high heat.

Add allspice, habenero and fresh chopped spinach.  Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.

Remove habenero halves.  Add pureed spinach and coconut milk.  Season with salt and pepper.  Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.

Serves 4

Bon appetit!


6 thoughts on “Meat-Free Monday Recipe: Jamaican Pepper Pot Soup

  1. I’m sure this tastes good and all but it looks like something…I can’t place my finger on what that something is….that I probably wouldn’t put back in my stomach. Key words: “back in my stomach”. I’m sure it’s great though. Also, sorry for being so immature. We all know appearences can be deceiving, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, etc.

  2. I do love Habenero peppers, I imagine if one wanted a spicier version of this soup they could leave the seeds in to raise the tongue-burning quotient. Mmmmm…. Tongue burning….

    • Don’t even bring up, “Ghost peppers!”

      I lived in an old apartment, haunted by the damn things, back in the mid 90’s.
      You’d be trying to sleep, and they’d start up in the kitchen, banging around pots & pans, whispering, “Cook me…coooooooook me….”

      Later, you’d get up, pour a bowl of “apple jacks” and there they were, floating in the milk.

      My roomate was even possessed by one.
      We called in a gardener to perform an exorcism.

  3. Pingback: jamaican cooking, NBC Today SHow

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