This green pea soup is vibrant, creamy and vegan. It’s super simple to make with a short list of ingredients. This recipe works great with both fresh garden peas and frozen peas.
Healthy green pea soup recipe
There are very few genuinely healthy green pea soup recipes available on the internet.
Most of them call for ham or bacon and it’s absolutely false to call a dish with carcinogenic processed meat healthy!
The healthiest foods are those that come in whole plant-based form, and this simple vegan pea soup is chock-full of whole foods.
Green peas are super healthy and nutritious.
They’re one of the best plant-based sources of protein and are high in fibre, which is what makes this simple soup super filling.
Rather than the heavy cream called for in most green pea soup recipes (which is high in calories and saturated fat), this recipe uses cashews to deliver the same creaminess in a much healthier way.
Finally, the broth for this recipe is made from half vegetable stock and half water.
This is to let the lovely flavour of the green peas shine through without being overpowered by the stock, but has the added benefit of lowering the sodium content since most stocks are very high in sodium.
Green pea soup vs. split pea soup
If you’re looking online for a pea soup recipe, you’ll notice that the most common way to make pea soup is with split peas.
Split peas are green peas that have been dried and their skin removed so that they naturally split in half.
Split peas have a long shelf life but they take considerably longer to cook (also the colour isn’t very appetizing!).
Green pea soup is a vibrant green colour and can be made with either fresh peas or frozen peas.
Whereas split pea soup has an earthy flavour that’s more similar to lentils, green pea soup highlights the delicate sweetness of fresh peas.
Green pea soup is super quick to prepare since both fresh and frozen peas cook in just a few minutes.
This recipe is great if you grow peas in your garden and have an abundance in the springtime!
- Shallots and garlic: As with most recipes, this soup starts with a flavour base from the allium family. In this case I use shallots instead of onion for their less pungent, sweeter flavour that compliments the sweetness of the green peas.
- Green peas: This recipe can be made with fresh green peas straight out of the pod or you can use frozen peas to save time. Although shelling fresh peas takes quite a bit of time, you’ll be rewarded with superior flavour over frozen!
- Cashews: Be sure to choose raw cashews and not roasted cashews for this recipe. The cashews are a healthy non-dairy ingredient to add creaminess to vegan recipes. You can substitute coconut milk if desired.
- Vegetable Stock: A nice vegetable stock will help to add to the flavour base of this soup. You can substitute this for a stock cube and water, if desired.
- Water: In order that the flavour of the stock does not overpower the flavour of the peas themselves, I mix vegetable stock with water.
- Olive oil: To fry the shallots and garlic.
- Salt: Season your soup to taste depending on the saltiness of your vegetable stock.
How to make green pea soup
Vegan pea soup is very easy to make and takes just 15 minutes!
1. Prepare your ingredients
Soaking the cashews softens them and makes them more bendable. If you remember, you can start soaking them the night before.
I usually just put them to soak before I start shelling the peas or chopping the shallots. Even 15 minutes of soaking will help soften them a bit.
If you’re using fresh peas, you’ll need to shell them. You’ll need three cups of peas and shelling that much takes a bit of time. If using frozen peas, they’re already ready to use. No need to thaw frozen peas.
Finely mince the shallots and garlic.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the minced shallot and fry until softened, then add the garlic and fry until softened and fragrant.
Add the peas, cashews, stock and water to the pot and bring to a boil. If using frozen peas, no need to thaw them, just toss them in frozen.
Reduce the heat to a simmer, partially cover the pot and cook until the peas are sweet, tender and heated through.
The cooking time will depend a bit on what type of peas you’re using. Larger fresh peas need more time than smaller and frozen peas have already been pre-cooked. 5 - 10 minutes is usually enough time.
Blend the soup into a creamy consistency either with the help of an immersion blender, or by carefully transferring the soup to an upright blender.
If using and upright blender, be sure to keep the lid slightly open to allow steam to escape.
Add salt to taste and adjust the consistency of the soup to your liking by adding a few more splashes of water if you find it too thick.
Mint and peas are a classic combination. Add about ¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves before blending the soup.
2. Other herbs
If you don’t like mint, you can add another herb such as thyme, tarragon or basil, either fresh or dried.
3. Coconut milk
If you don’t have or want to use cashews, you can substitute coconut milk for creaminess. I recommend starting with ¼ cup and adjusting to taste.
4. Make it chunky
I like this soup to be smooth but you can also partially blend it to make it more similar to split pea soup with a chunky consistency.
This vegan pea soup can be garnished in a lot of different ways. Top with some reserved green peas, croutons, a drizzle of cashew cream, oat cream, coconut milk or vegan yogurt. Sprinkle over some fresh herbs or a squeeze of lemon juice.
What to serve with it
Bread: Pea soup goes great with any kind of bread but especially a crusty bread or vegan dinner rolls that you can dip.
Sandwiches: Vegan grilled cheese sandwiches or chickpea salad sandwiches. Or try a wrap like these vegan Mediterranean wraps.
Salad: A fresh green salad or a veggie-packed pasta salad.
Hearty vegetable main: This soup is a nice side dish to something more substantial like roasted cauliflower steaks or vegan stuffed sweet potatoes. If you’re looking for something “meatier”, check out these vegan recipes for meat lovers.
Make ahead and storage tips
This green pea soup stores very well and can be made a day ahead if needed.
Keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 - 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
The soup can be reheated on the stove or in the microwave. If frozen allow to thaw overnight in the fridge before heating.
Green Pea Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 shallots finely diced
- 1 fat clove of garlic minced
- 3 cups (425 grams) peas fresh or frozen
- ½ cup (70 grams) raw cashews soaked for a least 15 minutes
- 1 cup (240 ml) vegetable stock
- 1 cup (240 ml) water plus more as needed to thin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the shallots and fry until soft and transparent. Add the garlic and fry until soft and fragrant.
- Add the peas (if frozen no need to thaw), cashews, stock and water and bring to a boil. Reduct the heat to a simmer and partially cover the pot.
- Simmer until the peas are tender and heated through - 5 to 10 minutes. The time they need will depend on if you’re using fresh or frozen peas. Taste them as they cook and remove the pot from the heat when the peas are sweet and tender.
- Blend the soup either with an immersion blender or by transferring the soup to an upright blender. Be careful to leave the lid slightly opened to allow the steam to escape.
- Add salt and adjust the thickness of the soup if necessary by adding more water to thin if you find it too thick. I added an additional ¼ cup (60 ml).
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