This warm-weather starter is great hot or cold
It’s summertime where we live, and that means garden-fresh produce. We’re starting to harvest from our own backyard, and the stalls at our local farmers’ markets are overflowing.
This time of year, one of our favorites is sweet peas. When freshly harvested, they barely need cooking. And this is one veggie you want to eat as soon as possible after it’s picked. Wait too long and the flavor starts to fade.
But even if you don’t have fresh peas available (likely, because their season is far too short), you’re still in luck—they freeze extremely well. What you buy in the frozen-food aisle can often be as good as (sometimes even better than) what you find in the produce section.
Fresh or frozen, sweet peas taste great in this minty soup. So what the heck, go ahead and use frozen. Your guests will think you slaved away in the kitchen, shelling mounds of fresh pea pods. We won’t tell.
Recipe: Summer Pea Soup with Mint
You need about 4 cups of shelled peas for this recipe. Tiny baby peas are best, but the more mature ones work well too (that’s what we used for this batch). When using fresh peas in the pod, we estimate that after shelling, we’ll get about a cup of peas per pound of pods—that’s after eating quite a few along the way, of course.
This recipe makes a soup with a fairly thick consistency. If you prefer a thinner soup, add more chicken stock to the mix.
This dish takes about 20 minutes to prepare. It yields 4 to 6 first-course servings. Leftovers keep for a day or two if refrigerated in an airtight container.
- ~½ small red onion (exact quantity not critical, but you want about 4 tablespoons minced)
- 1 garlic clove (see Notes)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- salt to taste (we suggest starting with ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt; see Notes)
- 4 cups shelled fresh or frozen green peas
- ~2 cups chicken stock (may substitute vegetable broth or water; see Notes)
- ¼ cup mint leaves, tightly packed
- black pepper to taste
- sour cream, crème fraiche, or yogurt (optional)
- garnish of mint leaves and/or red onion, sliced or diced (optional)
- Peel the red onion, and cut into fine dice of ¼-inch or less (we usually chop it in a mini food processor). Set aside.
- Peel the garlic clove, then mince finely (we usually combine this with the onion in Step 1, and whirl the whole thing in a mini food processor). Set aside.
- Heat a 3- or 4-quart saucepan, preferably one with a wide bottom. When hot, add the olive oil. When the oil is warm (it’ll shimmer; this usually takes 15 seconds or so), add the minced onion and garlic. Add salt to taste, then sauté on medium-low heat until the onion is translucent but not brown (5 minutes or so).
- When the onion is ready, add the peas and cook for 30 seconds. Then add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Cook the mixture until the peas are just tender (usually 2 minutes or a bit less; but see Notes).
- While the peas are cooking, chop the mint finely.
- When the peas are done, taste the soup, add black pepper to taste, and add more salt if necessary. Add the chopped mint leaves. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup to the consistency of your preference (we prefer it slightly chunky; see Notes).
- If serving warm: Ladle the soup into bowls. If you prefer to serve this dish chilled: Allow the soup to cool, then pour it into an airtight container and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Before serving (whether hot or cold), add a dollop of sour cream, crème fraiche, or yogurt (if using) and garnish with mint leaves and/or red onions (if using).
- Frozen peas take just a couple of minutes to cook (as do fresh baby peas). Mature fresh peas take longer—sometimes 5 minutes or more. So taste the peas every minute or so as you cook. When the peas are soft, they’re done.
- Chicken stock makes a richer soup, but substitute vegetable stock if you want to make this dish vegetarian—it will still be very good. Water works too, although the soup will have a thinner flavor.
- When using an immersion blender in this soup, make sure to use one with a stainless steel shaft—plastic ones can crack in the hot liquid. Ask us how we know.
- If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender. Blend the soup in fairly small batches (don’t fill the blender jar more than half full). If you add too much hot liquid to a blender jar, you’ll risk blowing the top off (again, ask us how we know).
- As noted above, we like a fairly chunky texture for this soup. If you prefer a very smooth texture, whirl the soup (in batches) in a food processor. Then force it through a fine mesh strainer.
- We typically use Kosher salt, which is less salty than an equal measure of table salt (because it has larger crystals). So if using table salt, reduce the amount we specify by about half. Then adjust the salt (and pepper) to taste.
- BTW, if you serve this soup chilled, you may find you need additional salt—chilled food often seems to need just a bit more.
- We like garlic in this soup, but you can omit it if you want. Or substitute shallot for the garlic and onion.
- Mint and peas combine beautifully. The amount of mint we suggest here (a quarter cup of packed leaves) provides nice flavor without overpowering the dish. But if you want an extra-minty soup, feel free to add more.
- For a creamier soup, replace some of the chicken stock with heavy cream. Or just stir in some heavy cream or sour cream right before serving (in addition to the dairy garnish).
- Speaking of garnishes, chopped chives make another nice addition to this soup. As do Homemade Croutons.
“Peas and mint, yum,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “A classic combo.”
“Simple to make too,” I said. “In fact, it’s easy-peasy.”
“Good for us pea-brains,” said Mrs K R.
“Just wish we had a cocktail right now,” I said. “We could toast to world peas.”
“Terrible pun,” said Mrs K R. “I can’t pea-lieve you just said that.”
“Speaking of terrible,” I said. “Your pun was pea-itiful.”
“True,” said Mrs K R. “Guess we’re just two peas in a pod.”
You may also enjoy reading about:
Quick and Easy Gazpacho
Soupe au Pistou
Chilled Cucumber Soup with Yogurt and Dill
Celery, Corn, and Bacon Chowder
Summer Green Bean Salad
Spinach Salad with Parmesan
Asparagus and Spinach Salad
Or check out the index for more recipes
I would order this. Love fresh peas.
Hi Madonna, it's really a wonderful soup -- the flavor is outstanding! Thanks for the comment.
Oh, such a lovely vibrant green colour - John - love pea & mint soup and love that you have kept yours chunky - thanks.
What a great chilled summer pea soup. It is nutritious and refreshing at the same time.
This is a beautiful soup and I especially love flavourful veggie soups in the summer. The peas at my local farmers market will be ready this weekend and I can't wait!
Cute commentary too :)
Love the soup and the funnies! We didn't plant peas this year :( but I love eating them right off the vine. Amazing!
What a perfect soup for summer, nice colours as well feels very refreshing and comforting
I love chunky soups and I love the fact that this can be served cold. I have made a similar recipe in the past yours looks way better. Before I read there was mint I was hoping there would be some in here.
Hi Rachel, isn't this color great? And we really like chunky soups -- such nice texture. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Denise, this really is a refreshing soup. And tasty. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Robyn, aren't fresh peas wonderful? Too bad their season is so short. :-( Thanks for the comment.
Hi Tricia, very few peas make it into the kitchen from the vine! So good just picked, aren't they? Thanks for the comment.
Hi Raymund, the color on this is fun, isn't it? Thanks for the comment.
Hi CEE, mint and peas are just a wonderful combo! And they taste like summer, don't they? Thanks for the comment.
I love fresh peas and this soup looks beautiful!
I love the bright, vibrant color of this soup. And to me, peas and mint are a match made in heaven!
John, this is so wonderful! My job was so hectic in the last months and with the family and all, I had no time to write. But I was following your blog and enjoyed reading. I love low effort/high impact recipes and this one is a case in point. So appreciative for this; I have all ingredients in my fridge, all organic and can hardly wait to make it.
In my geographic zone it is the white asparagus season right now. Every day is a special asparagus dish day: -) and this soup is a nice alternative.
My compliments for the picture in red!
Have a great day!
All the best.
FROZEN! Who would pod that many peas? I love this!! I've actually never made a pea soup. This is the first one I am going to try!! PS I have a big shoulder of pork. What's your fave pulled pork recipe on your blog?? :)
This looks delicious and I love the color. It would be easy to cook too, if I use frozen peas!
Hi Jennifer, doesn't this look great? Tastes great, too. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Chris, the color is really vibrant, isn't it? I love peas! ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi La Torontoise, good to hear from you! And don't worry about life being to busy to comment -- totally understand. Lucky you with your white asparagus! Ours isn't nearly as good. :-( Thanks for the comment.
I don;t think I ever had fresh pea soup...it looks so pretty and it sure sounds delicious John...I like the refreshing mint in it...
Thanks for the recipe...hope you are having a fabulous week :)
Hi Nagi, well, when you shell the peas you get samples. Many, many samples. So you probably end up using frozen anyway. :-) Frozen really are excellent quality -- as good as fresh in most cases. My favorite pulled pork recipe: My oven one: http://www.kitchenriffs.com/2014/01/oven-slow-cooked-bbq-pulled-pork.html It's good. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Peachy, this is so easy if you have frozen peas! Takes minutes. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Juliana, fresh pea soup has such a different flavor from split pea. I like them both, but this is sooo good. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
That! is a beautiful bowl of soup! I love peas, and fresh peas are mighty nice. I bet this soup is just lovely with the fresh mint. Thanks for sharing :)
We Brits love pea soup! I love peas in any form, and definitely with mint, just a classic combo. Did you grow your own peas? Colorado is slowly getting its produce, it's been so cold here and finally this week we saw warm temperatures, it's been raining like crazy but it has been warm. Soon we will have more than just radishes :)
I love sweet peas and fresh are really the best. I like to eat them raw in a salad or they're really good on toast as well! This soup looks delicious!
Oh dear, those puns! I adore a chilled pea soup in the summer and your recipe is gorgeous! The colour is absolutely awesome. The mint certainly adds the refreshing part. I may just make this tonight for my relatives who are visiting from Hungary, they've been talking about a cold soup since they arrived!
Delicious and refreshing and I like the idea of serving this soup cold, with maybe an extra bit of seasoning as you have suggested. I love eating fresh produce in season as it tastes so much better. Vibrant and gorgeous photos as usual! So sharing, of course!
Simple and fresh. How perfect is this for summertime eating?! Love this recipe John.
What a gorgeous and vibrant color. The soup sounds amazing.
This pea soup is beautiful and the color is so vibrant. Who wouldn't love this. I can't wait to make it and with a touch of creme fraiche to heighten the flavors. YUM!
The only way I've had pea soup is with dried split peas and I love it. I really should make it with fresh peas. I would have to use frozen; I have never seen peas for sale--anywhere. Thanks for a great idea, Rocquie
Hi Pat, the mint gives this soup such wonderful flavor! Really nice. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Nazneen, we did grow some peas this year! Although ate them all before we made this soup. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Simone, never thought to use peas on toast -- I'll have to try that! Really like the idea. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Eva, one of the best cold soups I've ever had is a Hungarian cold cherry soup. Love the flavor of that! And haven't made it in ages -- and cherry season is coming Hmmm. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Bam, this soup really is good hot or cold. But do add a bit more seasoning when it's cold -- it needs it, IMO. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Karen, isn't this great? Such lovely flavor! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Pam, the color on this is so much fun, isn't it? Flavor is even better. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi VIcki, this really is nice, isn't it? I think you'd like this -- a lot! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Rocquie, honestly, frozen peas are so good and so easy they're what we almost always use. Although if you ever get your hands on freshly picked peas, they're amazing. Thanks for the comment.
Simply damn delicious!!!
adore your stunning photographs my friend.....
You know I love peas and mint. Peas pass some over! Looks gorgeous, John!
This is one soup I've never tried and I call myself a soup lover! My other confession -- As a child, I swallowed peas whole. Now, I love them. Especially fresh ones. Even growing them!
This recipe looks pretty dang good! I wonder if it would convert my father into a PEA lover?! That would be the ULTIMATE TEST!
Hi Dedy, isn't this great? Thanks for your kind comment.
Hi Abbe, you'd love this! Really good stuff. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Rosemary, you definitely need to try this! Really wonderful flavor. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi GiGi, I'll bet your father would like this. Well, at least tolerate it. ;-) The pea/mint combo creates almost a new flavor. Almost. Thanks for the comment.
Shelling fresh peas isn't always fun, but the end result is so worth it every time. This soup looks amazing.
How lovely to grow your own peas and yes, picked when they're young they really don't need much cooking. I love the vibrant green, fresh colour of your soup and agree, peas and mint are a wonderful combination xx
Hi Laura, totally agree the payoff is worth the labor! And this soup is amazing. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Charlie, don't you just love peas combined with mint? One of the best pairings, ever! Thanks for the comment.
John, thank you! I tested these white asparagus recipes:
Most of them are good variants of what we already know, but the pizza of Heather Christo was my greatest surprise and biggest hit. I bake it every second day for the family...
All the best.
You're so lucky to have garden-fresh peas! This is a great summer recipes. Love the color!
There's nothing like a lovely soup made from garden fresh vegetables - or even from frozen veggies. I'd have to make this twice: once with chicken stock, and once with cream added. It sounds terrific!
How wonderful that you grow your own fresh peas, I just made a macaroni and peas dinner yesterday and used frozen peas, it was delicious. I remember growing up mom would open a can of peas and I always hid them in my napkin as they were cooked to death. Your soup is such a beautiful color.
Hi La Torontoise, thanks for the link! I'll be checking out those recipes. The pizza sounds wonderful! :-)
Hi Ala, peas all gone, alas, so next time it'll be frozen peas. That's OK -- it's just as good! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Beth, you'll enjoy having this twice. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Cheri, when I was growing up it was all canned peas too. Never had fresh peas, and frozen peas were in their infancy. Hated peas back then -- canned really aren't very good, are they? Fresh/frozen -- they're both good! Thanks for the comment.
I'm with the Mrs. on this one...peas and mint - YUM! What a scrumptious bowl of goodness! I've got the mint. Now I need to hit the market for some fresh peas. This looks SO good!
What a brilliantly colored bowl of soup. I can taste the peas and mint from here!
Hi MJ, peas and mint are wonderful together, aren't they? This is great with fresh peas. Or really, with frozen. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Maureen, isn't the color on this great? The flavor is wonderful, too, but the color is my favorite thing. Thanks for the comment.
Wow, you started harvesting already from your garden!! Here its all planted and they are slowly growing. I never tried planting peas yet. The green color is calling out for summer :)
Hi Shibi, you've had a tough winter! We actually have green tomatoes coming along. Whether the squirrels will let us harvest them is another question, however. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Peas and mint are a match made in foodie heaven. Sometimes, I just like to mash the peas in a little olive oil with chopped mint, then slather it over crostini with ricotta or burrata. Big yum!
I have never had fresh peas in the US I always use frozen and my kids love peas so much. Your recipe is so new to my combining peas and mint, two of my favs. Thanks.
Incredible color makes up for the bad puns. Yes, I know you will get back at me for that. I am taking my chances and my shots while I can. This is the second pea and mint soup recipe I've run across. I think I like the seasoning in yours better. I am going to have to give this a try. I am a major year round soup eater.
Hi Carolyn, mmm,peas and mint = bliss, don't you agree? Love that combo! Thanks for the comment..
Hi Amira, frozen are just fine -- IMO really good flavor. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Carolyn yeah, the puns are bad, but the soup is good. What more do you want? :D Thanks for your comment. ,
Peas and mint are the perfect partners. I agree that it is easier to use frozen peas and they have as many if not more nutrients than the peas you buy in the green grocer's shop. I hadn't thought about that with the plastic immersion blender. It hasn't broken for me yet but I can see that it could happen.
I love this soup! Looks so fresh and tasty! The color is gorgeous! I bet it was delicious!
Hi Suzanne, we almost always use frozen peas -- except when we have truly fresh ones. Otherwise, frozen are better. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Marcela, it was delicious! And it's so pretty, isn't it? Thanks for the comment.
The green of this soup is just outstanding for Summer! And love that there's Creme Fraiche included. And had to chuckle about toasting to world peas ... I was walking though a tunnel of hand painted tiles in Estes Park and there was one that read "whirled peas" with a drawing of peas in a blender. I thought it was a food reference/peace pun but I guess there's a band of that name.
Hi Lea Ann, whirled peas? Great name for a band! Thanks for the comment.
Yes to peas and mint! Somehow I let the season pass without pairing these two love birds in any shape or form. So I'll try frozen because I agree it's one veggie I always keep around the house in its frozen form. GREG
Hi Greg, yup, we always have frozen peas on hand! The season for fresh local peas is just so short. :-( Thanks for the comment.
This is the pea-rfect soup for Julie right now, lol! Excellent for warming the winter cool weather :)
Julie & Alesah
Gourmet Getaways xx
We are picking peas by the pound right now so I'm totally saving this recipe for dinner this week!
Looks so perfectly light...just what we want in summer. I seldom get fresh pea but have no problem with using frozen ones...and will; thanks for a great recipe.
Hi J&A, this really is pea-rfect, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Pamela, with all those peas, this soup would be perfect! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Barb, this soup is just as good with frozen peas as it is with fresh. You'll like this, I think. Thanks for the comment.
Peas just shout spring! What a gorgeous soup, John!
Hi Liz, peas + spring really do go together, don't they? Thanks for the comment.
This soup is so pretty in its bright green colour... Totally agree that this is a great warm-weather starter :D
Hi Zoe, love the color of this! Really vibrant. And the flavor is excellent. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Haha - I love how y'all end each post! Though I have to agree - serve this before any presidential/political meeting and their indeed might be "world peas"! This sounds so so refreshing!
I love pea soup and the addition of mint is great in this soup! Gorgeous photos. I love how green your soup is.
love peas and mint together in the summer: so much lighter and brighter than a traditional pea soup, and the flavors just mesh so well together. Not to mention i get to use my giant mess of mint from the backyard; always a bonus. :) Thanks!
Hi Shashi, those endings are fun to write! ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Pamela, isn't that green incredible? So pretty! And the soup is so good. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Shannon, mint happens in our backyard too! It'd take over it we didn't whack it down now and again. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
I love a good, thick soup! This looks perfect for summer. The color alone makes me want to try it!
Hi Ashley, that color is pretty hard to resist, isn't it? Wait until you taste it! Thanks for the comment.
This is gorgeous!
Hi Alyssa, isn't it? And such a lovely flavor! Thanks for the comment.
looks absolutely delicious and yummy.. love the color.. looks like a perfect summer recipe
Hi Fartha, isn't this pretty? And so good! ;-) Thanks for the comment.
What a gorgeous and vibrant soup, I so wish I enjoyed peas, they are still one vegetable that I think belongs behind the couch cushions. :/
Hi Anna, isn't this pretty? Too bad peas aren't your thing -- this really is good stuff! Thanks for the comment.
What a wonderful soup John. I love green peas in all kinds of dishes and a green pea soup would definitely be welcome on my dinner table. Thanks for sharing!
Looks absolutely divine, light and refreshing :)
Hi Yi, this is really good soup! And I love the way it looks, as well as its great good flavor! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Kiran, it's a wonderful soup for the warm weather! Which for you is about half the year. ;-) Thanks for the comment.
Peas are one of the best things about spring and early summer. I've been eating them regularly this year. This soup is such a simple and brilliant use of peas. I'm definitely trying this one. Really great recipe, John!
Hi Bill, isn't this simple? And so tasty! Thanks for the comment.
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