Because of their sweet flavor, many children’s first foray into green vegetables is green peas. I started my son with the less sweet of the greens—spinach, broccoli, asparagus, etc.… By the time we got to peas, he may have thought he was having dessert. I didn’t like green peas as a child. I recall discretely pushing the little round starchy balls to the side of my plate. It has only been in recent years that I’ve grown a greater appreciation for the sweet taste, texture, and nutritional benefits of sweet green peas.
We don’t usually think of green peas as a nutritional powerhouse in terms of nutrient composition—but we should. A springtime favorite, green peas are loaded with vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, and a unique assortment of health-protective phytonutrients—one of which has been associated with stomach cancer protection.
Creamy Green Pea Soup with Mint
2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
1 leek, white part, sliced
1 shallot, chopped
3 cloves garlic
10 ounces peas (fresh or frozen)
3 cups vegetable broth
¼ cup fresh mint, chopped coarsely, plus more for garnish
salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup coconut milk or cashew cream
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks, julienned in about 3-inch slices
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add leek, shallot and garlic and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Add peas and cook until tender, about 3-5 minutes if using frozen peas, longer if using fresh. Remove from heat. Add mint and ½ teaspoon salt.
Purée the soup in a high-speed blender until very smooth. Return to cleaned pot. Stir in cream and adjust salt and add pepper. Alternatively, you can add the cream later, as a dollop on top of your bowl of soup, just before serving. Or, you can choose to omit it altogether.
For the frizzled leeks, heat oil in a pan, add leeks and sauté until slightly browning. Season with a little salt. Set aside.
To serve, ladle soup in bowls, drizzle with olive oil and a dollop of cream, if using. Garnish with mint leaves and frizzled leeks. Sprinkle with black pepper.
More Peas, Please!
After my recipe post of the Sweet Pea Breakfast Muffins, I received a few requests from readers to come up with a gluten free version. Here it is. I hope you love it!
This was my first time venturing into the realm of gluten free baking. At first I was a little nervous as I’ve heard it can be tricky. So I did some research and learned several interesting tips and techniques to ensure successful gluten free baking and cooking. If you’d like me to expand on this topic, please let me know in the comment section below. I’d be happy to do a post about it.
Pistachio and Peas Breakfast Muffins (Gluten Free)
½ cup gluten free rolled oats
½ cup pistachios
1 cup gluten free flour blend (see note)
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
½ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup coconut oil
3/4 cup sweet pea purée
½ cup yogurt, whole plain
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup whole peas
1-2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
Rolled Oats Topping, optional
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon honey (or 1 1/2 tablespoons brown rice syrup)
1/4 cup gluten free rolled oats
In a food processor blend oats and pistachios. Whisk oats/pistachio blend with flour, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk sugar, oil, pea puree, yogurt, eggs and vanilla together until well combined. Using a rubber spatula, stir egg mixture into flour mixture until thoroughly combined and no lumps remain, about 1 minute. Gently fold in peas until evenly distributed. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let batter rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 375F. Grease 12-cup muffin pan with coconut oil. In a small bowl, mix the rolled oats topping. Using an ice cream scoop or a large spoon, portion batter evenly into prepared muffin pan. Spread oat topping or sprinkle turbinado sugar over top. Bake until muffins are golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes.
Notes: You can omit both the rolled oats or turbinado sugar topping, but both toppings add flavor and a lovely texture. A less sweet alternative would be use brown rice syrup instead of honey.