A bowl of hearty red pea soup is the perfect remedy for winter months.
Full of healthy ingredients and a taste of the Caribbean, once you’ve tried this healthy recipe for vegan red pea soup, you’ll become hooked.
Red pea soup is one of my favourites.
Not just favourite of soups… or Jamaican food.
Red pea soup IS one of my favourite foods to eat.
It’s absolutely delicious! Just a huge bowl of rich and filling deliciousness that – thanks to all the healthy vegetables – is also full of nutritional goodness that will keep you going back for more.
When I first learnt how to make this bowl of goodness a good few years ago, I loved it so much that I would cook a massisve pot of it every few days and literally eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
This wasn’t a problem initially as I loved how good it tasted and just couldn’t get enough.
However, red pea soup also includes hard food such as starchy white potatoes and dumplings made with plain flour, which after a while started to have a negative effect on my body…
My face started to swell up, my mood changed and I was constantly lethargic.
After a few trips to the doctor, I discovered that my body didn’t take too well to processed carbs, which lead me to change my diet to the Paleo diet, with the results being almost instant.
The swelling went, my mood improved and my energy returned.
The fact that this revelation about how carbs negatively effected me happened to coincide in time with the rediscovery of the Atkins diet was an added bonus, as it opened the doors to the vast range of foods and recipes available other than chicken and broccoli.
My body shape also improved on the Paleo diet and I appeared more toned and fit as a result of ditching processed food.
The thing is, for a long while I really never took the time to try a Paleo alternative to red pea soup and so every so often I would cook up a big pot… only to live to regret it a few days later, with the all too familiar symptoms returning.
Only recently did I try to do a Paleo alternative, substituting white potatoes for sweet potatoes and making the dumplings with cassava/coconut and tapioca flour.
The difference was obvious.
Not only did I not see any adverse reactions but the Paleo version was just as filling and delicious.
I was also a bit apprehensive about doing a vegan version, having previously only cooked it before with meat, but having done it, I totally believe the vegan version to be tastier.
Anyone privvy to having eaten school dinners in the UK or walking past one or two old folks homes just before dinner time will be all too familiar with that smell of poorly flavoured meat and thus, can confidently deduce that it is not meat that flavours food but seasonings which flavour meat.
(Even when cooking regular red pea soup, it isn’t until the moment of adding all the seasonings, creamed coconut, etc that the smells and real flavours take shape into something spectacular.)
Therefore, it made sense that the vegan version would taste just as good.
Now I’m fully aware that there are a many (whom I fondly refer to as the ‘Paleo police’) who believe that beans are not part of the Paleo diet and thus, would not consider this recipe to be Paleo.
In the 14 Day Paleo Meal Plan book, I discuss in detail how legumes, grains and other foods that some would strike off the Paleo food list were indeed consumed in the Paleolithic era and therefore ARE indeed PALEO!
The Paleo (caveman diet) consists of basically omitting all processed foods and corbohydrates, making it an obvious choice for those with autoimmune issues. However, one such person may follow the Paleo diet and find that even though they cannot consume beans without adverse effects, may have no issues with eating porridge.
The saying ‘one man’s food is another man’s poison‘ could not be more apt when it comes to an individual’s approach to any diet.
The point is, when it comes to the Paleo lifestyle (or any other lifestyle for that matter), it is pointless to attempt to dictate to others any strict rules that they must adhere to if it is not only unsuitable but – more importantly – if it is based on untruths.
If you are unable to consume legumes because they do not agree with your body, then by all means you should omit them from this recipe and your diet as a whole.
However, rather than attempting to adhere to a strict set of rules and regulations, the best advice to give would be to use ANY diet as just a guide, to take the time to listen to your body when it comes to food and exercise and find out what’s right for you… your body will tell you and you owe it to yourself.
With regards to any recipe that includes beans, the best way to prepare legumes and reduce the risk of any adverse effects is to thoroughly soak them overnight (preferably for at least 18 hours and NOT in flouridated tap water) before rinsing and thoroughly cooking.
Doing so helps to remove a large amount of the lectins (a naturally occurring type of protein that ALSO happens to be in over 50 other fruit and vegetables) and phytic-acid (an indigestible anti-nutrient that binds to the mineral content in food, preventing mineral absorption) found in beans.
Soaking beans overnight in water can neutralize up to 70% of the phytic acid found in beans.
The elimination of lectins and phytic-acid helps to remove the harmful toxins and anti-nutrients in legumes which can lead to autoimmune and digestive problems such as ‘leaky’ gut and IBS.
Studies have also found that pre-soaked legumes cooked in an alkaline solution rather than in tap water had a higher level of oligosaccharides removal.
To finalize, when it comes to legumes on the Paleo diet, do as YOUR body can tolerate, remember to eat all things in moderation, and ENSURE that you PREPARE and COOK your food properly.
Prepare your beans by soaking for at least 18 hours and cooking for at least 3 and you can eliminate the risk of the many digestive issues often associated with inadequately prepared legumes.
Do give this recipe a go and let us know how tasty you found it (as you will!) and how you felt afterwards.
- 2 - 3 large onions, finely diced,
- 6 cloves garlic, finely diced,
- Pre-soaked cup red kidney beans,
- Large bunch spring onions, finely diced,
- 100g creamed coconut,
- Large dollop grass-fed / vegan butter,
- Small bunch fresh tyhme,
- 1 tsp. dried mixed herbs,
- 2-3 tbsp. All-Purpose seasoning,
- 2-3 tbsp. curry powder,
- 2-3 vegetable stock cubes,
- 1 tsp. black pepper,
- 1 scotch bonnet, seeds removed and thinly sliced,
- 4 carrots, diced,
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled, washed and cut into chunks.
- Large piece of yam, peeled, washed and cut into chunks,
- 1 cup cassava flour
- 1 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour
- Pinch salt
- Pinch pepper
- Add the half the onions and garlic, along with all the beans in a large pot of boiling water, ensuring that all the ingredients are submerged in enough water.
- Cook for at least 3 hours, topping up with freshly boiled water if the water reduces too much.
- Once the beans are cooked and soft to the touch, add the remaining ingredients (minus the sweet potato, yam and dumplings), stir in and lower the heat to simmer for approximately 15 minutes, again adding boiling water if necessary.
- (In the meantime you can crack on with the dumplings:)
- Mix the flour ingredients with a small amount of water and stir, adding a little water at a time until the ingredients form into a dough.
- Kneed the dough constantly until soft and firm before rolling into individual, small dumplings.
- Add the yam, sweet potato and dumplings to the simmering soup and allow to cook for a further 15-20 minutes or until the yam, dumplings and sweet potato are cooked through.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool before serving immediately.