This hearty and healthy Green Pea Soup comes together with simple ingredients, but when cooked until tender, then partially pureed, seasoned, and mellowed out with some toppings, you'll get a deliciously flavored and lovely textured dish. Each bowl leaves you nourished and happily satisfied (vegetarian-friendly with a dairy-free option).
A funny thing about pea soup: it's not a dish that's on my list of memorable foods I enjoyed growing up. Now that I think of it, I can't remember my mom ever making a pea soup. Even with her Dutch roots, I don't think she was a fan either of the traditional Dutch Split Pea Soup (Snert or Erwtensoup as we called it)—it's really thick, often accompanied by smoked sausages or some parts of pork meat. For some people, nothing else will do.
I've had it, of course, mostly at other people's houses. Sometimes I enjoyed it, and sometimes I could feel even a few tablespoons of this thick pottage solidifying into a brick in my stomach. It's not a feeling I particularly enjoy after a meal. For me, that was enough to avoid making pea soup in my own kitchen—funny how I blamed this pod-shaped vegetable.
This green pea soup is nothing like that. Instead, it's a hot cup of green goodness that comes together in as little as 35 minutes—with frozen peas that don't need thawing—and although still comforting, it rather leaves you restored instead of uncomfortably full.
And since I am notoriously known to like my soups on the lighter side, I wasn't sure if I was on to something worthy enough to put on the blog until I also made it for my parents a few years ago. They loved it.
It's just a simple, protein and fiber-rich soup with a nutty character, lightly creamy texture, and refreshing parsley notes. Pack it hot for lunch, enjoy it as a light dinner with roasted vegetables on the side, a salad, or slices of dark farmers bread. Even chilled, it tastes refreshingly sweet and savory as a cold summer soup.
Ingredients, Notes, and Substitutions
Frozen peas: I use frozen peas out of convenience, but this also means that you can make this beautiful green dish any time of the year. They are naturally sweet, and they also don't have to be boiled or thawed. In less than 10 minutes, their creamy texture and natural flavors arise.
Pistachios: they just pair well with peas in this green pea soup recipe. And you can either use roasted, lightly salted or raw and unsalted ones. This colorful nut not only packs this soup with healthy fats and proteins, but it makes it incredibly creamy.
Fresh Parsley: I am not using it here just for the presentation. This vitamin K-rich herb brings a beautiful balance to all the sweet flavors in this humble pottage. I love cooking with parsley and often use it as a vegetable to add nutrients, a vivid contrast, and a finishing touch. If you're a cilantro lover, use it instead. It adds a refreshing, spicy, nutty flavor without dominating the taste of this healthy pea soup.
Garlic: Even with 2 or 3 cloves, you will not end up with a garlicky flavor. But sautéing it together with the nuts and shallots in some olive oil, even for a few minutes, builds up a pleasant aroma setting the tone for a nice-flavored sweet and hearty soup.
Shallots: I know, I am a big shallot lover. But here, I implore you NOT to swap this out for regular onions. Because peas aside, this is the real star of this green pea soup, and not using them will result in a different soup flavor. They add that sweet and soft oniony richness without too much punch—which you want here.
Olive oil: It's delicate and peppery, and a perfect oil to start the base of this soup. I wouldn't swap this for butter. If you must, use an avocado or walnut oil instead.
Vegetable Bouillon cubes: although I don't use them often, veggie bouillon cubes can come in handy when I've run out of homemade or boxed and lightly flavored vegetable stock. So I either use the veggie cubes with water or vegetable broth to submerge the ingredients and add a savory flavor.
How to make the soup super creamy
Sour Cream (or plant-based version)—optional: stirring in a teaspoon when the soup is still hot mellows out the sweet flavors of peas and herbs such as parsley or cilantro. It also gives this soup almost a silky texture and lighter color (see picture below). Offer it directly at the table for those who want a creamier consistency or instead add it before blending the soup. For a dairy-free option, you can use a plant-based alternative.
How to safely puree hot pea soup
I like to use a deeper (5QT) pot to make this vegetarian pea soup and then with an immersion blender, puree the ingredients (carefully) right in it once removed from the stove. A large enough high-sided pot allows me to tilt it slightly while blending the liquid without fear of splatters. Usually, I blend it just enough so that you get a beautiful green mixture but some bits of the nuts still have some texture to it.
If you want a more silky pea soup, I recommend pureeing it in batches using a blender or food processor until completely smooth.
Enjoy as a cold summer soup
Green pea soup is probably more associated with cold winter months. But this is an all-year-round recipe that equally lends itself to a healthy and refreshing cold summer soup. The shallots and garlic add so much depth to the flavor, and you'll be delighted by the sweet peas, fresh herbs, and mild nutty texture pistachios bring to the table. Serve cold or, better yet, at room temperature, perfect for summer lunch or picnics!
More comforting Soups you'll love
Another not-so-traditional soup you might want to try is my healthy carrot soup with fresh parsley. It's a sweet and hearty combo that is best served with lightly salted peanuts and red pepper flakes as toppings.
A more hearty favorite is my satisfying vegetable soup, a mix between my aunt's Italian vegetable Minestrone and my secret love for potatoes that makes this dish a worthy meal all in itself with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top!
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A Protein-Rich Green Pea SoupMariska Ramondino
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2-3 large cloves garlic chopped
- 2-3 large shallots chopped (about 5.5 ounces or 155 grams)
- ½ cup pistachios
- Salt and pepper
- ½ bushel fresh parsley about 1 to 1 ½ cups chopped (alternative: cilantro)
- 1 bag frozen peas (about 3 ½ cups) 16 ounce/ 454 grams
- 32 oz lightly-flavored vegetable broth (about 4 cups) 946 ml
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon Vegetable Broth and Seasoning optional
- Sour Cream to garnish optional and omit if you want to keep it dairy-free and vegan-friendly
- In a stockpot (minimum 5 QT), heat the oil over medium heat. Add in garlic, shallots, and nuts—season with a few pinches of salt.
- Cook and stir for about 2 minutes; do not allow to brown.
- Stir in the parsley and the peas.
- Immediately add the vegetable broth and water (see note).
- Season to taste with salt, pepper, and vegetable seasoning (optional).
- Let come to a gentle simmer and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the peas are ready. Stir occasionally.
- Turn the stove off and let the soup cool a little.
- With a hand mixer, blend the ingredients until you have pureed all the ingredients. Reheat, if necessary, before serving. You can also use a blender or food processor that can handle warm liquids, to puree the soup in batches.
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Nutrition (% Daily value)
Disclaimer: This nutritional data is calculated using third party tools and is only intended as a reference.
This post was originally published in April 2017 and has been updated with an updated recipe, new pictures, and new information.