Pretty much any doctor, nutritionist, or average joe with some common sense will sing the praises of eating a colourful diet of fresh fruits and vegetables to achieve optimal health and wellness (and a pretty plate at a meal time). But what about their frozen counterparts?
Many people assume that frozen vegetables are terrible for your health or that they lack flavor and nutrients compared to fresh, but in reality the opposite is true. Frozen vegetables are flash frozen soon after picking, ensuring they keep all their nutrients, color and fresh flavor. They’re just as good as fresh, especially when your market doesn’t have really fresh produce available. And one of my all-time favourite frozen veg options is the green pea!
For many, frozen peas seem kinda vintage. After all, frozen peas were like the kale of the 1950s, often representing the only colour on a plate of mashed potatoes and overcooked roast beef (definitely having flashbacks to dinner at Grandma’s right now…). But despite their retro vibe, green peas are still an awesome freezer staple today. Not only are they versatile and readily available at any time of year, but in the midst of winter (when I’ve begun to tire of root vegetables but spring is still a long way off) I welcome the bright, green flavor (and colour) they add to side dishes, appetizers, entrées, and soup. So today I am showing some love to the mighty (and oft misunderstood) frozen green pea with my Vibrant Green Pea Soup recipe.
Not only is this soup SO easy to make (under 10 minutes of prep time; 5 if you’re fast with a knife like me), but it’s also packed with tons of nutrients. In fact, Green peas are one of the most nutritious leguminous vegetables, rich in health benefiting phyto-nutrients, minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants. They have a ton of vitamin C (boosts immune and protects against free radical damage); vitamin K (helps build bone mass); and folic acid (required for DNA synthesis and super important for expectant mothers!). They’re also super low cal, with a half cup of green peas containing only 62 calories. On top of that, they contain no cholesterol, 4g of protein, and 4 grams of fibre per serving, which (you guessed it) keeps ya regular!
Plus, they make soup a pretty colour. So pretty….
So take that old bag of peas you’ve been using in place of an ice pack from the freezer and instead give them the chance to fulfill their meal-time destiny in a delicious batch of vibrant, nutrient- and flavour-packed soup!
The Natural Blonde
p.s. Full disclosure: this scene from the animated classic The Rescuers Down Under ALWAYS plays in my head when I make this soup. Every. Single. Time.
Vibrant Green Pea Soup
- 4 cups frozen green peas
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 green chili pepper, seeded and minced
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 cups chicken broth
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- Salt and pepper
In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add in the onions, chili pepper and garlic and sautée for 4-5 minutes (or until translucent). Next add in the peas and the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover, simmering for 20 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and add the cilantro and season with salt and pepper before blending the soup until smooth. I use an emersion blender (best tool for the avid pureed soup cook!) because it is so much easier than messing around with a blender and hot soup. But if you do use a blender, allow the soup to cool slightly before blending (possibly in batches).
Store the soup in an airtight container for up to a week. I almost always double this recipe because it’s so easy and then I have lunch AND dinner for pretty much an entire week.