All Jamaicans love this hearty, hefty Jamaican Gungo Peas Soup. It is vegan, delicious, easy to prepare, and nourishing. It freezes well for use later which makes it the perfect meal for a hectic Weekday evening.
One of my favorite dishes is Jamaican Gungo Pea Soup, which comes in second only to my all-time favorite, Red Pea Soup. Almost all of the components in the two soups are the same except the type of beans.
Gungo Pea Soup, a classic Jamaican soup, is thick and hearty, loaded with vegetables, and packed with dumplings. This soup can serve as a dinner on its own because it’s so filling.
When I was growing up, Saturday was always soup day; it was hands down the day of the week I looked forward to the most.
Jamaican Gungo Peas Soup was typically made in our home with meat, but after shifting to a vegan lifestyle I started making a vegan version. This soup contains gluten-free dumplings, so it is also perfect for gluten-free dieters. Indulge in some super comfort food!
As always, I suggest you read the complete article for useful tips and tricks. However, you can find the detailed recipe with exact ingredients and step-by-step instructions below on the recipe card.
What are Pigeon/Gungo Peas?
In Jamaica, they are known as Gungo Peas, despite the fact that you may recognize them as pigeon peas. This small, round legume has a delectable, nutty flavor and grows in pods. Usually used in rice and peas, a favorite Jamaican dish. Gungo peas are also used in other Jamaican cuisines like to prepare soup or stews, but they also have a variety of health benefits.
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!
Health Benefits Of Pigeon Peas
Pigeon peas are low in fat and high in protein and fiber.
A 100 grams 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.
Pigeon peas are very nutritious and they have a lot of health benefits. They are high in protein, fiber, folate, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. They contain important amino acids namely methionine, lysine, and tryptophan.
Although Gungo Peas are a popular Christmas dish in Jamaica it is more than just a Christmas staple; it has many health advantages and should be eaten routinely.
- Gungo peas contain potassium, which is known to aid with dilating blood vessels and bringing down blood pressure. So, consuming these peas decrease blood pressure and lessen blood vessel constriction. Hypertension patients should consume it frequently.
- These peas’ high protein composition promotes growth and development. It is necessary for the development of tissues, muscles, and bones. Additionally, it helps the body’s healing and cell regeneration processes.
- Gungo peas are rich in organic compounds that help prevent anemia and inflammation, and these compounds are also used to heal the plant’s seeds, leaves, and peas. In order to cure piles, also known as hemorrhoids, mashed gungo peas are used as a paste.
- Gungo peas are a great food to help you lose weight because they are low in calories, cholesterol, and saturated fat. It contains a lot of fiber, which will make you feel fuller for longer and speed up your metabolism. In addition, because they contain Vitamin B, Riboflavin, and Niacin, eating them helps avoid fat storage and increases energy.
- Consuming gungo peas also strengthens the immune system and supports heart health. To get this benefit of gungo peas, it is recommended to chew on raw green seeds. You can consume them raw, yes.
- Dietary fiber, which is crucial for preserving the health of the intestinal system, is abundant in gungo peas. Additionally, it lessens diarrhea, bloating, cramping, and constipation.
- Gungo peas can also be used to get rid of parasitic body worms. They are also used to treat bronchitis, jaundice, and lung disease.
- Gungo peas: You can use fresh or frozen.
- Vegetable broth: Use an organic vegetable broth that’s also gluten-free or make your own with leftover vegetables. Another option is to use 2 bouillons plus 8 cups of water.
- Coconut milk: Coconut milk gives a creamy texture to this soup.
- Onion: Gives flavor to the beans. You can use yellow, white, or red onions in this recipe.
- Green onion: Add a grassy yet savory flavor to your soup. If you don’t have green onions, you can use scallions as well.
- Red bell pepper: Red bell pepper for orange color and vitamins.
- Garlic: Garlic will definitely boost the flavor of the soup. I added 2 freshly minced cloves for maximum flavor.
- Potatoes: The potatoes also add a nice texture and flavor to the soup. Use any variety available.
- Dasheen yam: The dasheen yam also called a malanga or taro root, is a popular root food in the cuisines of the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and Southern India. Just leave it out if you can’t locate it.
- Carrot: I added carrot for boosting the nutritional value and taste of this Jamaican gungo peas soup.
- Thyme: A must ingredient that gives a lovely earthy flavor to your soups. Use 1 teaspoon of dried thyme or 2 sprigs of fresh.
- Scotch bonnet pepper: I used whole scotch bonnet pepper for more of the authentic flavor and not the spicy heat. This distinct pepper is shaped like a bonnet and gives a unique fruit and spicy flavor to dishes. It can make a bland dish pop. Use whole for flavor without the heat and remember to remove and discard so you don’t accidentally serve it to someone who might mistake it for grape tomato. It is super hot!
- Allspice berries: The dried allspice fruit is what is known as the whole allspice. It has a comparable firmness to a pebble and is a sizeable medium-brown peppercorn. Whole allspice berries are frequently combined with other whole spices to infuse curries and soups. You can use pimento instead.
- Ginger: Adding ½ teaspoon of freshly grated ginger adds a little spicy flavor as well as taste to this soup.
- Dumplings: Dumpling made using flour, water, salt, and optional components such as cassava, cornmeal, and so on. There are different recipes for Dumplings available on my blog, you can pick your favorite one. I go with this simple recipe.
- Salt: I used sea salt. Increase or decrease the salt as per your taste.
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 yams or Caribbean yams in West Indian, and Latino grocery stores and even some Walmarts carry them. 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
This soup is a meal in itself. It is loaded with peas, veggies, and dumplings. So there’s no need to serve it with additional components. Just make something light and refreshing to drink after this having this soup like:
- This soup is good for vegans and people who can’t enjoy gluten.
- Taste the soup and season with more salt and pepper, if needed.
- While the peas are cooking, you may make the dumplings. This will save you some time.
- This soup should have a medium thickness; if it’s too thick, thin it out with some boiling water.
Other Caribbean Recipes To Try:
- Corn Soup Recipe Caribbean-Style
- Caribbean Green Seasoning
- Vegan Rasta Pasta
- Jamaican-Style Chickpea Curry Recipe
- Ital Stew
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Gungo a Pea?
Of course! It belongs to the family of plants known as legumes and can typically be found in tropical or warm areas. For instance, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia.
Is Pigeon Peas The Same As Gungo?
Gungo peas are legumes. They are also renowned as gunga peas and pigeon peas. Most likely, you can find them dried or canned in the Caribbean or perhaps Latin section of your nearby grocery store or online.
Where To Buy Gungo Peas?
These peas can be found in Indian supermarkets, on Amazon, or in well-stocked grocery stores in the Latin American area.
How to Store Leftover Jamaican Gungo Peas Soup?
Leftover soup can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container. In the freezer, it can be stored for a month or longer. The coconut milk, however, might curdle when thawed and reheated.
So you can omit the coconut milk and substitute water if you’re making a big quantity to freeze. Add the coconut milk while reheating.
Give this Jamaican Gungo Peas Soup a shot. It’s incredibly delicious and super easy. Once you try it, you’ll want more!
As always, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to leave any feedback or share your own experience with us in the comments section below.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag #healthiersteps — we love to see your recipes on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter!
For Healthier Steps Soups And Stews Cookbook check HERE.
- Energy: 256 kcal / 1070 kJ
- Fat: 10 g
- Protein: 10 g
- Carbs: 34 g
- Preparation: 10 min
- Ready in: 10 min
- For: 6 Servings
- 3 cups gungo peas, 2 (14-oz cans), fresh or frozen
- 8 cups vegetable broth, or 2 bouillons plus 8 cups of water
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 potato, cut in cubes
- 1 cup yam, dasheen, coco chopped, (optional)
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme, or 2 sprigs of fresh
- 1 whole Scotch Bonnet pepper
- 6 pimento/allspice berries
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1 recipe Dumplings, (click on the link for the recipe)
- sea salt, to taste
- 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.
- 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.
- Add, vegetable broth, coconut milk, onion, green onion, red bell pepper, garlic. potato, yam, carrot, thyme, Scotch bonnet pepper, allspice. ginger, dumplings, and salt.
- Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes. Season with salt.
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 :)
Michelle , I love your site and these awesome recipes. Have you made this in the instant pot yet?
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;
So my soup didn’t turn out the same colour 🤷🏾♀️ The taste was great but the colour was whiteish so I added browning.
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.
This looks delicious! I only have canned pigeon peas in my area. Do I use the dried or green ones?
Thank you Jess it will work great with the canned ones. Hope you enjoy!
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?
JanetG, you can leave the dumpling out of use the glutenfree dumplings in this recipe https://healthiersteps.com/recipe/instant-pot-vegan-jackfruit-with-potato-curry/
One of the best soups I have tasted that is vegan.
That’s so good to know Tamara, thank you.
Only thing missing is pumpkin. That is what gives it the yellow colour and add flavour as well.
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.
Butternut squash here is a good substitute for pumpkin.
Lorna, it is perfect, you commented on the wrong soup though. I believe you meant my Pumpkin Soup Recipe here: https://healthiersteps.com/recipe/jamaican-pumpkin-soup-pureed/
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!
Peaches stock or broth is fine, it will still taste delicious just puree some of the gungo peas at the end.
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.
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.
When cooking the peas and /or simmering the soup , do you cover the pot?
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.
Thanks! Making it today.
Cold day here in upstate NY
Soup it is!
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.
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.