Pea & Pesto Soup

One of the ingredients I miss most from South Africa is the humble split pea.  Nothing chases the winter cold away for me like a steaming bowl of split pea soup with some nice crusty bread on the side.  Alas, no split peas to be found on Ilha Formosa.

So today I tried to make some pea soup using frozen peas and I tarted it up a bit with a few dollops of pesto.  As soon as I started, I realised that I had no more potatoes in the house...and no pesto either.  So I substituted the potatoes with...a can of butter beans!  It worked out really deliciously.

Pea & Pesto Soup


  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic (2 if you are in South Africa.  The garlic in Taiwan isn't as potent)
  • 500g frozen peas
  • 1 tin (240g drained) butter beans
  • 1 liter (or a little more) of stock (I used chicken stock)
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp of basil pesto*
  • 1Tbsp olive oil
  1. Fry the onions and garlic in a pot until soft but not brown.
  2. Add the peas and butter beans and pour in the stock.  Cover the pot and let it simmer for 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Scoop out about a third of the peas and reserve (pop the beans back in if you caught any)
  4. Use a blender to blend the peas and beans to a smooth consistency.  Add the reserved whole peas.
  5. Add the pesto to the soup and stir through.  Use more, if you want.  Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper, if needed.
  6. Serve with croutons, crispy fried bacon pieces or Parmesan chips...and of course, some fresh crusty bread.

*  I didn't have any store bought pesto, so I blitzed together a handful of basil leaves, about 3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil and a handful of grated Parmesan cheese.  I didn't add any pine nuts, but you can if you have some handy.


  1. Great idea to add butterbeans! I would assume the taste of the frozen peas & beans together is very similar to that of split peas?

  2. It is actually. There is also that slight graininess that you usually comes from the split peas, that now comes from the butter beans.


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