This cold sweet pea soup is made with fresh or frozen green peas, vegetable broth, onion, salt, pepper, and honey. It’s a great soup for long-awaited spring. Plus it’s vegetarian as well as weeknight friendly.
“Sweet pea” is often used as a term of endearment, which we understand quite well after tasting this spring soup. We were in such a good mood after trying this we were calling everyone we saw the main ingredient. You’re given a little extra grace when making this by being able to use frozen or fresh peas.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Cold Sweet Pea Soup
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped white onion, about 3/4 medium onion
- 4 cups store-bought or homemade vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- 7 cups frozen peas or shelled fresh peas (from about 5 pounds or 2.3 kg peas in their pods)
- Heat the butter and olive oil in a pot over medium heat. When the butter foams, add the onion, reduce the heat to low, and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and very tender, about 10 minutes. (Don’t allow the onion to brown or it will discolor the soup.)
- Add the broth, honey, salt, and white pepper to the pot, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Cook at a boil for 5 minutes. Add the peas and boil rapidly until the peas are tender, about 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice water. Using a slotted spoon, transfer about 1/4 cup peas to the ice water to stop the the cooking, which will keep the peas a vibrant green. Drain the peas on paper towels and reserve as a garnish.
- Purée the remaining pea soup until smooth, either with an immersion blender or wait 10 minutes and carefully purée it in batches in a blender. If desired, strain the purée through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, working in batches and pressing the soup through the sieve with the back of a spoon. You should have about 6 cups soup. Set the bowl of soup in the ice water to begin to chill for about 20 minutes and then cover and refrigerate the soup until chilled through, at least a couple hours. (Cooling the soup quickly helps it retain its beautiful green color.)
- When the pea soup is completely chilled, taste and adjust the seasonings. Ladle into small bowls and garnish with the reserved peas.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This cold sweet pea soup is delightful both to the eye and taste buds! The soup was fresh-tasting despite the fact that I used frozen peas (fresh ones were not yet available). A little onion added just enough depth without distracting from the flavor of the peas. This would be a great make-ahead soup as it retained its beautiful light avocado green hue in the refrigerator for a few days. Putting the soup through a sieve and running a rubber spatula back and forth against the bottom of the sieve until there is nothing left except bits of the pea skin took some time. It wouldn’t be a crime to skip this step if you don’t mind a coarser texture or if you’re making the soup for a casual family dinner. I bought three 16-oz bags of regular (not petite or baby) peas. Frozen peas are already parboiled, so 1 minute of cooking is enough. (The chilled peas actually helped the soup chill faster.) The consistency of the soup was like a thick cream of potato soup. I chilled the soup in the ice bath for 10 minutes just to remove the intense heat and then refrigerated it for several hours.
This cold sweet pea soup is a perfect example of why a well-made soup is so wonderful. You start with a few simple ingredients, and with a little time and effort, you end up with a dish that blows you away. I used frozen peas as fresh are not available here yet, but I can imagine that it would taste even better with fresh garden peas. However, my hat goes off to anyone who has the patience to shell 7 cups of peas for one recipe! The soup comes together quickly and is very simple to make. I would recommend blending the soup until it is very very smooth as this will make the straining step a little easier. Pressing the soup through the sieve with a spoon also helps to speed up this step, which can be a bit tedious otherwise. The end result is a smooth, creamy soup that I could not stop eating! I used a mix of frozen sweetlets (very small peas) and summer sweet peas (medium size peas). I cooked them for 3 minutes once the soup returned to a boil). I blended the soup in two batches in the Vitamix and strained it in 4 batches, pressing the soup through the sieve with the back of a spoon. This was the most tedious part of the process, even though I had blended each batch until it was very smooth. The resulting soup was a slightly thick, creamy consistency and it did remain a vibrant green color. I cooled it in the ice bath for 20 minutes, after which the bath was no longer cold and the soup was a little warmer than room temperature. I transferred it to the fridge and chilled it for 2 hours longer. I did taste it when it was warm (and fell in love immediately) and thought it was too sweet. However, once cold, it was perfect and I didn’t need to adjust the seasonings at all. I served it with some smashed white beans and avocado on toasted ciabatta.
Originally published April 19, 2018