Friday, May 6, 2011

Spring Pea & Mint Soup for Health & Hope

Spring, with its new leaves of bright green and show of flowers –from the fuzzy caterpillar-like Mesquite blossoms to the riot of wildflowers, is a time of hope for me.  I breathe in the cool spring air and it makes it possible for me to endure the earth-cracking, oven-dry heat of a long West Texas summer.

So when our #LetsLunch twitter group decided to host a liquid lunch to commiserate with fellow member Karen, who is restricted to a liquid diet because of cancer surgery, I wanted to wish her all the goodness of the season.

Nothing says “Spring” to me like peas growing in the garden. The soft tendrils, pretty flowers and delicious pods hiding tiny gifts packed with sweet flavor and nutrition.

Peas are a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, B1, folate, iron and phosphorus.  They are low in fat and sodium, but rich in proteins, carbs and fiber.

Because this lunch is liquid, I wanted to make soup. Is there anything more comforting than a good bowl of soup when you’re not feeling 100 percent? (Hmm, maybe the Cowboy…but only if he comes with soup in hand.) 

I chose a recipe out of “If it makes you healthy,” the new cookbook by singer Sheryl Crow, another cancer heroine, and her chef Chuck White. I’m loving this cookbook because it’s focused on seasonal eating, quality over quantity and a healthy diet. The recipes are interesting and creative. And I love the glimpses from Ms. Crow’s life, kitchen philosophy from the chef and, the occasional, nutrition notes from dietician Rachel Beller, MS, RD.

Without further ado, I present you:

Spring Pea & Mint Soup

The brilliant color, minty aroma and refreshing taste make this lovely. It tastes good warm or cold from the refrigerator. According to Rachel, the mint not only refreshes your senses, but also helps stimulate digestion. I put a dollop of Shrimp Salsa in my soup, but you don't have to.

1 ½ teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cups vegetable broth
1 pound frozen or fresh shelled peas
1/3 cup chopped mint leaves
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 ½ cups packed fresh spinach leaves
1.       In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat.
2.       When hot, add onion and sauté until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes.
3.       Add the vegetable broth and bring to boil.
4.       Add peas and mint, cook 4 to 5 minutes.
5.       Turn the heat low and add lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper. Whisk the soup to mix all the ingredients, and then remove from heat. Let the soup cool for about 10 minutes.
6.       Add in the raw spinach.
7.       I used my immersion blender to blend the soup right in the pot. However, you can use a blender. Just work in two batches. If using blender, you could divide the raw spinach and add it to each batch in the blender.
8.       Return soup to pot. Taste and adjust seasoning, then heat gently until warm.
9.       Serves 4 to 6. (I served it with a shrimp salsa and chips on the side).

Wishing Karen and others happy eating and good health!
Other #LetsLunch posts up include:


  1. Peas and mint together are one of my favorite combinations! And how sweet and fitting that you chose a recipe from Sheryl Crow. I have some peas in my fridge right now and can't wait to try it. Joining you in sending good wishes Karen's way...xx

  2. This was such a great idea- the soup, the book, all of it. I love the touch of mint to aid digestion (the tea is like that too.) I can't wait to try this using my first peas from my plant in a few weeks.

  3. wow! I love it - thanks so much. When going through cancer treatment eating is so difficult - flavors are all 'off' so the mint is a fabulous addition since it actually has a discernible flavor through all the chemicals! Looks delicious!

  4. I just bought my second batch of fresh peas this week, and I'm with you - they're one of the first signs that spring is really here. I love them. I've made pestos, a pasta, and now, I need to make this soup. Peas and spinach - what a great idea.

  5. oooh, pretty pea plant!! This sounds so healthy and love the addition of mint. So fresh for spring :)

  6. I didn't know Sheryl Crow wrote a cookbook?! Beautiful post and delightful soup!