I really love soup, and when spring rolls around, I have a hard time giving it up. Anyone else feel the same? It could be well in to the ninety plus degree range in the middle of July, but I'm still all about curling up with a bowl of piping hot brothy deliciousness.
Fortunately, we're not yet into the hot days of summer. Temperatures are cool enough on most days that a bowl of soup is totally acceptable. And as an added bonus, there's much more available in the produce department than just a few short months ago when it was really cold. Spring might just be prime soup season.
Split pea soup is a favorite of mine in the winter months, but when fresh peas are around, I take full advantage and cook up some soup with them. The flavor is lighter, fresher, and the soup takes on a pretty green hue, especially when you incorporate bunches of fresh herbs, like I did here. Minted pea soup is a pretty popular dish this time of year, but since I love the way parsley, mint and scallions play off of each other in Mediterranean dishes, I went and included all three.
A little bit of coconut milk adds some dairy-free creaminess to the soup (which doesn't end up tasting like coconut at all), and because I'm a big fan of putting toppings on top of my soup, I baked up some fresh garlic croutons.
For the garlic croutons:
- 4 cups bread cubes about 1 inch, I used a multigrain loaf
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt to taste
For the soup:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup canned coconut milk I used full-fat, but light would work too
- 6 cups fresh shelled peas
- ½ cup chopped mint leaves packed
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley packed
- ½ cup chopped scallions
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
Make the garlic croutons:
- Preheat your oven's broiler.
- Place the bread cubes into a medium mixing bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with garlic powder. Arrange them in an even layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle with some salt.
- Place the baking sheet under the broiler and broil until they begin to brown and crisp, about 3-5 minutes, watching closely to avoid burning.
Make the soup:
- Coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and place it over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until it's soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for about 1 minute more, until very fragrant. Stir in the broth, coconut milk, and peas. Raise the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and allow to simmer just until the peas are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the mint, parsley, and scallions.
- Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender and blend until smooth. Return it to the pot, reheat if needed, and stir in the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle into bowls and top with the garlic croutons. Serve.