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

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag #healthiersteps  — we love to see your recipes on InstagramFacebook & Twitter!

For Healthier Steps Soups And Stews Cookbook check HERE.

Also please leave a star rating ;-)

Need some encouragement on your Healthier Steps journey?

Join our Facebook groups, sharing lots of delicious vegan and gluten-free recipes, health tips, etc., from our members. Please join us and invite your friends Gluten-Free and Vegan For Beginners and Vegan Recipes With Love.



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

Cook 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.