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Breathe In. Breathe Out. Have Some Soup

OMG – what a week. My blood pressure was just returning to normal after that debate. Then Friday rolled around, and the President, suffering from covid, was rushed in a helicopter to the hospital. If this were a movie, you’d say it was all just too unlikely and absurd. Well, it may have been absurd, but there it was. It was around six o’clock, and my daughter Joanna and I were both exhausted. She looked at me and said, “We need some soup.”

A half hour later, I was sitting with my mug of delicious warmth and feeling calmer. Soup is a miracle. As is Joanna. This recipe is based on one from

Jamaican Spinach Soup



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (see note)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 scallions (green onions), chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ tsp dried allspice
  • 2 cups (or more) fresh or thawed frozen spinach, chopped (see note)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can coconut milk
  • 4 cups vegetable broth, chicken broth, or water
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes or 1/2 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced (see note)


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot on medium heat.
  2. Add onion and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Stir in garlic, scallions, celery, thyme, allspice; and cook until fragrant.
  3. Add the spinach and stir until wilted. Add the coconut milk and broth. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to simmer for about 25-30 minutes.
  4. If you want the soup to be extra smooth and creamy, which is how I like it, put it through a blender (do this in batches, and leave the top slightly ajar if the soup is still hot).

Keep calm, carry on, and enjoy some soup.


  • Joanna used chopped kale instead of spinach because that’s what we had on hand.
  • She omitted the potato, in part because the soup would cook more quickly that way.
  • She used coconut oil because that’s what the original recipe calls for and because it does taste delicious in this recipe – but extra virgin olive oil really is much heart healthier (1), as my friend and pharmacology advisor Jay M has pointed out to me.


(1) Abbasi J. Coconut Oil’s Health Halo a Mirage, Clinical Trials Suggest. JAMA. 2020;323(16):1540–1541. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.5186