Yellow Pea and Coconut Milk Soup with Spinach and Rice

This is a great post-Christmas soup. The coconut milk makes it a little rich, but it is still very nourishing so that you can ease down from that sugar high. As with the others, this is adapted from Deborah Madison's book.

1 cup of brown rice

2 cups of yellow split peas, rinsed and soaked for 24 hours

2 bay leaves

3 cloves

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

4 tablespoons of light sesame oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup minced cilantro stems

1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

15 oz can of coconut milk

juice of 1 lime

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

organic baby spinach leaves, 2 big handfuls, coarsely chopped

1. Cook the rice according to package directions.

2. Drain the peas and put them in a pot with 1 quart of water, the bay leaves, cloves, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook while you go on to the next step.

3. Warm the oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the onion and the cilantro stems and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion starts to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the spices and 1/2 cup of water from the simmering peas and cook until the water has cooked away. Add the mixture to the pot with the peas, and continue cooking until they are very soft, about 30 minutes more. Remove the bay leaf and the cloves. Stir in the coconut milk and lime juice. Taste for salt and season with pepper. Stir in the chopped cilantro leaves and spinach.

4. To serve, ladle the soup over brown rice. The original recipe called for a dollop of plain yogurt on top, although I chose to keep this one vegan.