A vegan style light and hearty legume Gungo peas soup is a copy cat version with yam, callaloo and sweet potatoes for nutritional density
During the summer period soup is probably the last thing on your mind. I know when I'm feeling overly warm the last thing on my mind is to consume something that's hot - are you crazy? My body would feel like a furnace, just thinking about it sends on a hot flush.
Lately I've been looking at a few recipes to add to my website, something that is passable yet uncommon over the summer time which brought me to this Jamaican gungo peas soup.
While I know most of you guys are sipping on smoothies, pimms and chomping on healthy salads.
I thought I might be able to get away with slipping in this Jamaican gungo peas soup - it's tasty, brimming with tropical flavours and filling too!
What are gungo peas?
In case you're not in the know, gungo peas are a localised term for what others may know as pigeon peas. Gungo peas and pigeon peas are legumes so they belong to the same family.
A few weeks ago I created this pigeon pea salad with an irresistible ginger lime dressing. The feedback exceeded my expectations.
My aim is to appeal to everyone's taste buds (at least I try to) and present many variations of Caribbean cuisine which is why I also made this Jamaican Curry Gungo Peas dish.
Adding that vegan twist
Now it must be said that this gungo peas soup dish is a copy cat version. The originally contains a small selection of meat (ham hock, stewing beef and pigs tail).
My family always made this recipe omitting the meat with great results, mom would follow the traditional format only leaving out the meat and supplementing with more veggies just like I did in my Jamaican Pumpkin Soup.
Being the health freak that I am, I couldn't resist applying even more adaptations to make my very own signature style.
For instance, adding vegetable stock to form the foundation, then adding the vegetables and ground provisions to the body of the soup.
What are ground provisions?
In the Caribbean, tubular root vegetables are known as ground provisions or hard food, they usually consist of sweet potato, cassava, dasheen (taro), yam anything that's grown from the ground (the clue is in the name) and used in soups, stews or simply eaten by themselves.
Making Jamaican gungo peas soup
This texture of the soup is a light broth considering there's a few starchy vegetables thrown in - yam and sweet potatoes. You can add more if you wish, just be mindful that starch veggies are dense and this could alter the taste and texture.
I try to keep a subtle balance because the duration of simmering is approximately an hour. As the soup is left to simmer it thickens on it's own, no powdered starch is required.
I also added some fresh callaloo - a leafy green that belong to the spinach family.
Feel Free to add any dumpling if you want to this recipe. Here are a few good choices Cornmeal Dumpling, Boiled Dumpling (plain) and Cassava.
You may even want to add some Green Banana too or instead.
Notes and tips
- Most of the ground provisions listed can be purchased with a Caribbean grocery, just ask if you're not sure about what to buy.
- Make sure to use brown gungo peas NOT the green ones.
- If you can't find callaloo, just use spinach or kale instead.
- This soup is suitable for vegans and a gluten free lifestyle
- Gungo peas are also known as pigeon peas
Click here to learn how to make your own veggie stock for all your recipes.
Other Caribbean soup recipes to try
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Jamaican Gungo Peas Soup
- ⅔ cup of dried gungo peas
- 1 litre of vegetable stock see post for recipe
- a bunch of callaloo approx 2 cups worth shredded (or spinach)
- 2 large spring onions chopped,
- 4 sprigs of thyme or 1 tablespoon of thyme
- 1 tablespoon pimento seeds ½tsp of ground allspice
- 1 large sweet potato peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 large piece of yellow yam peel and cut into chunks
- 1 small onion sliced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 scotch bonnet or use 1 fresh chilli
- 1 large carrots sliced (optional)
- 1 cho cho (optional)
- pink salt to taste
- Place the gungo peas in a large pot with water and leave to soak overnight.
- Discard the water that soaked the gungo peas and rinse thoroughly.
- Then add another batch of water (approximately 5 cups) to the pot with the peas, bring to the boil uncovered for around 1 hour or until slightly tender. The peas will cook in it's entirety when added to the soup but do make sure they have parboiled for the most part.
- Meanwhile, proceed with preparing the base of the soup, add the stock to the pot and bring to the boil.
- Add the scallion, pimento, garlic, thyme and sliced onions to the pot with the stock and give a good stir.
- Reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover with lid on for 15 minutes to allow the aforementioned to infuse.
- Remove the lid, gently stir before adding the sweet potato, yam, callaloo, sliced carrot and cho cho (if you're adding) to the pot. Carefully add the scotch bonnet, ensuring it doesn't burst to release the heat, we want the flavour to penetrate the soup not heat.
- Finally cover the pot with the lid and allow to gently simmer for a further 45 minutes, during this time the soup will take on a thick texture (add more vegetable stock/water if needed).
- Do a taste test and adjust for pink salt and black pepper if needed
- Serve accordingly.
Hey good day Your soup looks very healthy and delicious I do have one question for you about cooking the pigeon peas you stated I should uncover the pot for 45 minutes line 3 of the instruction can you explain a little bit more do you want me to cook the peas for 45 minutes uncovered?
Hi Mikey, Yes! please cook the peas uncovered for 45 minutes.
Tried this today. Very tasty. I had houmous with it.
How much thyme should you put in, it's in the instructions, but not the ingredient list?
Glad you liked it Megan and thank you for pointing out that too. I've updated the ingredients list to reflect the amount. I usually use 4 springs of thyme which is approximately a tablespoon worth of the dried herb.
This is a looks like tasty and nutritious recipe. I'm ble to use alot of my fall vegetables from my allotment. I've exchanged Kale for Callaloo and Pumpkin for Sweet Potato...lovely.
Excellent! I hope you like it 😉
I've saw a bunch of Jamaican spices at a store recently. I am going to have to go grab some and then stalk your blog.
Yay! That's what I like to hear, let me know if you need any assistance with anything.
This soup looks like a real winner. We love the taste of Caribbean food and spices. I will definitely have to give this one a try.
Sam @ SugarSpunRun
This looks delicious, and I could eat soup anytime of the year!
Thanks Sam, me too and glad I'm not the only soup addict.
I've seen your recipes through Foodgawker (under vegan search options) and every time they are presented in a straight forward way and look so tempting, I can't handle any heated foods right now but as soon as fall hits here I'm going to invest in some of those "ground provisions" and make this. Thank you!
Hi Kirsten, that was such a beautiful comment, it really means so much to me. Thank you for your continued support. I hope you give this a try during fall and let me know your thoughts.
Really good to see some West Indian food. Many of my recipes are too as I live part of the year in St. Lucia. This soup looks delicious and your photos are lovely
Thank you so much, sadly they aren't many Caribbean food bloggers out there, so it's good to put island food on the map. I'm definitely keeping tabs on your blog, let me go check it out.
Cassandrea at chewsandbrews.ca
This soup looks fantastic! I will be trying it this fall/winter for sure!
Yay, that's what I like to hear...roll on this fall 😉
MMMM...looks delicious...I am wondering about some of the ingredients...they are not familiar to me unless they have other more popular names like the beans and the callaloo?
Thank you, if you don't live in a diverse community with a large Caribbean population some of the ingredients might be a foreign concept. I will go back and tweak the recipe with suitable substitutes. I will say you can use black eyed peas instead of pigeon peas and spinach in favour of callaloo.
OMG love all the veggies in this!! Now off to read about making my own vegetable stock. Great info!
Aww thank you!