I have a confession to make: I don’t really like peas. Well, I guess that’s not entirely true. For the longest time, I thought I hated peas. As it turns out, I just don’t like mushy peas. You know, the ones that come freeze-dried in the Cup Noodles or packed in those frozen shepherd’s pie dinners. Those peas have an unpleasant texture and don’t really have any flavor to speak of. It wasn’t until I went out to a restaurant and had a spring pea soup that I realized something – I actually love peas!
The type of peas I’m willing to eat is very specific, though. They’re either high-quality frozen baby sweet peas (which are also called spring peas or petit peas) or the fresh-off-the-vine, farmer’s market peas available for a short window in the spring. Unlike older peas (which are starchier in content), these spring peas are tender and crisp.
Why This Soup Tastes So Good
A good pea is like a little flavor nugget. It has a natural sweetness and it’s bursting with spring flavor. Not only that, but spring peas have an incredibly delicate taste that becomes creamy and light when pureed with a little vegetable or chicken stock. Add some fresh herbs (like mint or dill) and you’ve got a recipe for success.
The other reason this soup tastes so good is the addition of spinach. We puree some lightly wilted spinach into the mix to add body to the soup. It not only amps up the nutrition by adding vitamins K and A, but it also gives this spring pea soup a pleasantly mineral flavor and helps boost the bright green color.
Finish it off with some freshly squeezed lime juice to add some acidity and some Greek yogurt to add a creamy tang. If you’re thinking about skipping the yogurt because you’re dairy-free, consider swapping coconut milk instead of just omitting it. The yogurt adds fat to the soup, which not only helps carry the flavors but makes it more texturally appealing.
A Spring Soup or a Burst of Flavor in the Winter
This soup is perfect in the spring when you can take advantage of fresh, baby spring peas at the market, but don’t worry if you’re out of season. Many grocery stores carry high-quality frozen peas that are picked and packaged at the peak of their sweetness. This lets you make this delicious spring pea soup all year long. Talk about a perfect ray of sunshine in the middle of winter!
If you’re a former pea hater (or, a current one), we’d love to know what you think of this soup. Do you think that, like me, maybe you just don’t like mushy, starchy peas? We’d love to know if you gave it a try anyway. Give us a shout in the comments to let us know if we converted you to a spring pea lover!
Yields: 4 servings | Serving Size: 1-3/4 cups | Calories: 146 | Total Fat: 2 g | Saturated Fat: 1 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Cholesterol: 0 | Sodium: 230 mg | Carbohydrates: 24 g | Dietary Fiber: 6 g | Sugars: 10 g | Protein: 11 g | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 5
- 1 (16 ounce) bag good quality frozen baby sweet peas (also called petit peas or spring peas), or 4 cups fresh baby spring peas (must be at height of freshness spring peas or frozen are preferred)
- 3-1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
- 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves OR fresh dill, plus a few sprigs reserved for garnish
- 2 cups loosely packed fresh baby spinach leaves
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
- 1 cup low fat plain Greek-style yogurt (can use nonfat if preferred)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Put the stock and peas in a pot and cook over medium-high heat, uncovered for 5 to 8 minutes, until just tender but still bright green.
- Remove from the heat, add the baby spinach, mint OR dill, salt, and stir so that it wilts into the soup. Blend with an immersion(hand) blender in the pot, or blend in batches filling the blender halfway each time and holding the lid with a kitchen towel, starting from slow speed to higher. Add each batch back to the blender, and continue to blend until the whole thing is pureed.
- If pureed soup is too thick stir in additional stock or water to get a soupy consistency.
- Whisk in the citrus juice until incorporated. Lastly, stir in the Greek yogurt to combine well into the soup. Spring Pea Soup can be served hot or cold. Garnish each bowl with whole mint leaves or dill sprigs, if desired.
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