Cream of Pea Soup with Ginger and Cilantro

September 24, 2010 · 17 comments

filed in: Dairy,Gluten-Free,Soups/Stews,Vegetables,Vegetarian/Vegetarian Option

Cream of Pea Soup with Ginger and Cilantro

I feel that I can almost chart my culinary life with pea soup. It was the first dish I learned to “cook” at age six, and, as with other North Americans of my vintage, it involved a can of Campbell’s Split Pea. Mastering that canned soup gave me confidence to tackle bigger challenges, such as grilled cheese sandwiches and hot dogs. Onward and [not always] upward!

At least once a month throughout my childhood, my mother, who never lost her Depression-era frugality, served us a big pot of homemade split pea soup for dinner, a family favorite. And later, during my own poor years, Mom’s lessons about cooking on the cheap proved useful when I realized that a week’s worth of delicious soup dinners could be made from a then 50-cent bag of dried split peas and a ham hock. Although my poor years are behind me now, good old split pea soup is still often on the menu at my house in fall and winter.

But, hey, a little variety is welcome, even in pea soup. In this recipe, which includes a vegetarian option, I have opted for a freshened up, more delicately-flavored approach using fresh or frozen peas, ginger, cilantro, ground coriander, cream, and a touch of green chilies. This quick and easy soup, which is modeled on the classic Indian dish of hara shorva, requires only ten minutes of cook’s time. Start to finish, it can be on the table in 40 minutes or less.


1 medium-sized potato, peeled and quartered
1 medium-sized onion, peeled and sliced
A one-inch cube of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, peeled and sliced
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/4 teaspoons ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 pound fresh or frozen green (English) peas
1 1/2 teaspoons finely minced hot green (serrano or similar) chilies
1/2 cup lightly packed, coarsely chopped cilantro (fresh coriander greens)
1/3 cup cream, half-and-half, or coconut milk
Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a stock pot, combine the potato, onion, fresh ginger, garlic, broth, ground coriander, and ground cumin. Bring to a boil and simmer for approximately 20-25 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  2. Add the peas, green chili, and cilantro to the stock pot. Simmer for an additional 3-4 minutes or until the peas are just cooked through but still brightly colored.
  3. Ladle the contents of the stock pot into the container of a blender or food processor (in batches if necessary) and puree the mixture. Add the cream, half-and-half, or coconut milk and pulse a couple more times until incorporated. Return the soup to the stock pot, stir, and briefly reheat. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed, by adding salt and pepper to suit your taste. Serves 4-6.

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Leave a Comment

{ 17 them below or add one }

Alina October 9, 2010 at 11:19 am

Aww I love your blog! I just love how flawlessly you combine flavours and how airy and crisp your pictures are! The colour of your pea soup is amazing.


Alta October 7, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Ooh, fresh pea soup? Yum! This looks gorgeous.


marla {family fresh cooking} September 30, 2010 at 10:44 pm

I found your pea soup at just the right time. I was thinking of making some-your addition of coconut milk and cilantro is such a great flavor twist from the normal pea soup. The color of this is gorgeous. Thanks for the inspiration Barbara!


A Canadian Foodie September 30, 2010 at 9:57 am

Gorgeous, gorgeous soup and photography. Love the last shot, too. The recipe looks fantastic and complex, yet exceedingly fresh. This is definitly a keeper! Thank you


judy September 28, 2010 at 11:56 pm

so simple and refreshing! yum. this looks like something I can enjoy easily during the day. or something warm for rainy nights!


SMITH BITES September 28, 2010 at 4:07 pm

BEAUTIFUL!! Am such a fan of pea soup in general but adding the ginger & cilantro and I would just love me a bowl of that right now!!


Jenny (VintageSugarcube) September 27, 2010 at 4:42 pm

This soups looks divine! I truly love your website and all your recipes. Classic Elegance meets dirty deeeelicous!!


Suzanne Collier September 26, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Oh, my! Beautiful! I just LOVE pea soup and, as you described, mom made pea soup frequently enough to be frugal but not so much that we every got burned out on it. I still love it and can’t wait to try with the ginger! Genius!!


Barbara Bakes September 26, 2010 at 10:44 am

My husband loves pea soup. Nice twist to spice it up with the green chilies.


Amanda September 25, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Wow Barbara the colors in this are fabulous, I bet it’s delicious!


Megan September 25, 2010 at 10:21 am

There is a restaurant in California famous for their split pea soup. Bet it doesn’t hold a candle compared to this recipe. Love the ginger addition! And the pics!


Angie September 25, 2010 at 7:59 am

What a beautiful soup! It sounds perfect for any season, I love the flavors.


Faith September 25, 2010 at 7:47 am

Pea soup was a favorite in my house when I was a kid! Your variation is really lovely with the spices you used and the coconut milk!


Cookin' Canuck September 24, 2010 at 10:43 pm

What a beautiful color! I really like the addition of fresh ginger – nice twist on a classic.


Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog September 24, 2010 at 5:19 pm

Love this creamy-greeny soup here is very popular the ingredient that is lacking is ginger. Very comforting. Cheers, Gera


Mags September 24, 2010 at 2:34 pm

I think we had split pea soup at least a couple of times a month when I was growing up too and for the same reasons you stated…. cheap and can feed lots of mouths. I love your recipe using real peas. Such vibrant color!


Arnold September 24, 2010 at 1:36 pm

I love pea soup but I have never tried it with fresh peas, I always use dried peas. This looks delicious, I am definitely going to give this a try.


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