Jamaican Gungo Peas Soup

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This easy Jamaican Gungo Peas Soup is so delicious and hearty, perfect for the colder months. Full of flavor with gungo peas, yam, carrot, and dumplings.

Jamaican Gungo Peas Soup

What is Pigeon/Gungo Peas?

Gungo peas is used to make Jamaican Gungo Peas Soup, also known as pigeon peas or gandules are small perineal legumes, popular in Caribbean, Asia, African and Latin American cuisine. They are sold in cans, frozen green peas or dried.

I grew up eating this soup quite frequently, especially around the Christmas holiday season because that’s when most of the gungo peas (pigeon peas or gandules were harvested. It was traditionally cooked with meat so I prepared a meat-free version here. I also included a gluten-free dumpling. This is where comfort food is at!

Close up image of Jamaican gungo peas soup recipe with dumplings, carrots, yam in a white bowl

Health Benefits Of Pigeon Peas

Pigeon peas are low in fat and high in protein and fiber.

A 100 gram serving of pigeon peas contains:

  • 343 calories
  • 15 grams of fiber
  • 62 grams of carbohydrates
  • 21 grams of protein
  • I.48 grams of fat

For more nutritional facts see Organic Facts.

Straight on photo of gungo peas soup in a white bowl with dumplings, carrots

My relatives from Jamaica came to visit recently. I was so happy when my Sister-In-Law gave me gungo peas/ pigeon peas among the gifts that she gave to me.

I was so elated, even though it can be grown here in Florida, I excitedly prepared this Jamaican Gungo Peas Soup (Pigeon Peas) Vegan, froze some and reserved a small amount for drying.

I’m all gleeful and like a child getting birthday gifts with all my goodies from Jamaica. I always look forward to the times when friends and family visit from Jamaica, I get to enjoy treats that I grew up with.

I plan to use the peas to make soups, stews, and  Rice and Peas.

How To Make Jamaican Gungo Peas Soup?

For an authentic Jamaican flavor, I included yam, potato, and carrots. Yam is a root tuber, like a potato. Yellow yam has a distinct yellow flesh.

It’s traditionally added to our soups in Jamaica. You can find yellow yam or Caribbean yams in West Indian, Latino grocery stores, even some Walmart carry it. If you can’t find yellow yam, just leave it out.

I also added dumplings/spinners to the soup. You can find the recipes for traditional and gluten-free dumplings Here. I also made my gungo peas soup with coconut milk for a creamy island flavor.

If you haven’t tried gungo peas as yet, it has an earthy flavor similar to brown lentils. Its flavor shines through this delicious heartwarming soup. Gungo peas can be found, frozen, canned or fresh.

For the dumplings, you can make one of these gluten-free vegan recipes, Jamaican Boiled Dumplings, Green Banana Dumplings. Cassava Dumplings.

Other Delicious Soups To Try

  1. Jamaican Pumpkin Soup
  2. Vegan Cabbage Soup
  3. Split Pea Soup Vegan
  4. Cheesy Broccoli Soup
  5. White Bean Soup

Jamaican Gungo Peas Soup

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(Per portion)
  • Energy: 256 kcal / 1070 kJ
  • Fat: 10 g
  • Protein: 10 g
  • Carbs: 34 g

Cooking Time

  • Preparation: 10 min
  • Ready in: 10 min
  • For:
  • 6 Servings



  1. If you are using dried gungo peas, sort and soak peas overnight in cold water about 4 inches above gungo peas. The following day, drain and rinse peas, add water about 3 inches above peas.
  2. The following day, drain and rinse peas, add water about 3 inches above peas. Bring to boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 1 hour, until tender.
  3. Add, vegetable broth, coconut milk, onion, green onion, red bell pepper, garlic. potato, yam, carrot, thyme, Scotch bonnet pepper, allspice. ginger, dumplings, and salt.
  4. Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes. Season with salt.
Recipe author's Gravatar image

Michelle Blackwood, RN

Hi, I’m Michelle, I’m the voice, content creator and photographer behind Healthier Steps. I share vegan and gluten-free recipes because of past health issues. My goal is to help you make healthier choices and show you how healthy eating is easy and delicious.

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  1. YuYu
    September 12, 2020

    Just made this today & it is so delicious!!!!! 😋😋
    Thank you for the recipe 🙃

  2. Janine Bernard
    February 28, 2020

    I made this tonight and it was EXCELLENT! I have made a few other recipes from you site and they are all amazing!!! I used my instant pot and it worked great :)

  3. Khetnu Nefer
    December 7, 2018

    Michelle , I love your site and these awesome recipes. Have you made this in the instant pot yet?

    • Michelle Blackwood
      December 7, 2018

      Thank you Khetnu, welcome to my website. No, i haven’t tried it as yet and I’ll add it to my to-do list. I just got ingredients to make red beans soup;

    • Hayley
      January 12, 2020

      So my soup didn’t turn out the same colour 🤷🏾‍♀️ The taste was great but the colour was whiteish so I added browning.

      • Michelle Blackwood, RN
        January 12, 2020

        The outcome of the color is based on your ingredients, whether you used green or brown gungo peas to start with, the color of your vegetable broth, the strength of your coconut milk. Having the exact color as mine should not be a factor, the main thing is the taste. If you need the exact color, I would recommend that you use soak dried gungo peas as your base and use less coconut milk and more vegetable broth.

  4. Jess
    July 31, 2018

    This looks delicious! I only have canned pigeon peas in my area. Do I use the dried or green ones?

    • Michelle Blackwood
      July 31, 2018

      Thank you Jess it will work great with the canned ones. Hope you enjoy!

  5. JanetG
    February 23, 2018

    I have a gluten allergy. Is the dumpling necessary, like to thicken the soup? If so, do you have any other recommendations in replace of the dumplings?

  6. Bridgette
    February 17, 2018

    One of the best soups I have tasted that is vegan.

    • Michelle Blackwood
      February 17, 2018

      That’s so good to know Tamara, thank you.

  7. Trish
    January 16, 2018

    Only thing missing is pumpkin. That is what gives it the yellow colour and add flavour as well.

    • Michelle Blackwood
      January 16, 2018

      Trish, that’s right but Jamaican pumpkin is hard to find here in my neck of the woods and when I do God bless the taste or look, but it would be so delicious. Maybe I’ll just have to plant some if I could get some seeds.

  8. Peaches
    January 14, 2018

    I’m highly allergic to coconut and want d to know if you have any suggestions as to what I can use as a substitute. Is stock or broth an option? Thank you in advance!

    • Michelle Blackwood
      January 14, 2018

      Peaches stock or broth is fine, it will still taste delicious just puree some of the gungo peas at the end.

  9. Mom
    January 12, 2018

    My soup was more whitish from the milk opposed to yellowish brown in the photo. Was I supposed to include the liquid from the canned peas? I also didn’t have yellow yam.

    • Michelle Blackwood
      January 12, 2018

      Since you used the can gungo peas then yes next time add the liquid and it will have a darker color, I usually don’t like to encourage using the liquid from the can since it is so high in sodium. The fresh gungo peas, dried that’s soaked and cooked or even frozen. If you don’t have yellow yam, next time you can substitute it with sweet potatoes, the Caribbean type.

  10. Karen J
    January 6, 2018

    When cooking the peas and /or simmering the soup , do you cover the pot?

    • Michelle Blackwood
      January 6, 2018

      Make sure you are using a large pot, bring the soup to boil first, then reduce to simmer then put the cover on. I learn to place the pot cover leaving a little open area so the steam can vent and not boil over and mess up the stove but sometimes you won’t need to do this if the pot is large. Hope this helps Karen.

      • Karen J
        January 7, 2018

        Thanks! Making it today.
        Cold day here in upstate NY
        Soup it is!

  11. MarciaS
    November 17, 2016

    OMG! Michelle, I used to love gungo peas with rice but haven’t had in a while since moving up here. Where can I buy fresh gungo peas? I going to try this recipe and use the extra peas with my Sunday dinner.

    • Michelle Blackwood
      November 17, 2016

      Hello Marcia, I can understand. The taste is so unique and delicious. Fresh or frozen gungo peas can be found in Laino supermarkets under the name of gandules or pigeon peas. You can find the canned ones in most major super markets in the International aisle. Blackeyed peas can be substituted.