Jamaican Gungo Pea Soup – Healthier Steps

All Jamaicans love this hearty and hearty Jamaican Gungo Pea Soup. It’s vegan, delicious, easy to prepare and nutritious. It freezes well to use later, making it the perfect meal for a busy weeknight.

One of my favorite dishes is Jamaican gungo pea soup, which comes in second behind my all-time favorite dish, Red pea soup. Almost all components of both soups are the same, except for the type of beans.

Gungo Pea Soup, a classic Jamaican soup, is thick and hearty, loaded with vegetables and filled with dumplings. This soup can serve as a dinner on its own because it is very filling.

When I was little, Saturday was always soup day; It was definitely the day of the week I looked forward to the most.

Jamaican gungo pea soup was usually made at our house with meat, but after switching to a vegan lifestyle, I started making a vegan version. This soup contains gluten-free dumplings, so it’s also perfect for people on a gluten-free diet. Treat yourself to some super comforting food!

As always, I suggest you read the full article for useful tips and tricks. However, you can find the detailed recipe with exact ingredients and step-by-step instructions below on the recipe card.

What are Pigeon Peas/Gungo?

In Jamaica, they are known as Gungo Peas, although you may recognize them as pigeon peas. This small, round legume has a delicious nutty flavor and grows in pods. Usually used in rice and peas, a favorite Jamaican dish. Gungo peas are also used in other Jamaican cuisines, such as making soups or stews, but they also have many health benefits.

I grew up eating this soup quite frequently, especially during the Christmas holiday season, as that is when most of the gungo peas (pigeon peas or gandules) were harvested. It was traditionally cooked with meat, so I prepared a meatless version here. I also included a gluten-free meatball. This is where the comfort food is!

Health Benefits of Pigeon Peas

Pigeon peas are low in fat and high in protein and fiber.

A 100 gram serving of pigeon peas contains:

  • 343 calories
  • 15 grams of fiber
  • 62 grams of carbohydrates
  • 21 grams of protein
  • I.48 grams of fat

For more nutrition facts, see Organic facts.

Pigeon peas are very nutritious and have many health benefits. They are rich in protein, fiber, folate, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and calcium. They contain important amino acids, namely methionine, lysine and tryptophan.

Although gungo peas are a popular Christmas dish in Jamaica, they are more than just a Christmas staple; it has many health benefits and should be consumed regularly.

  • Gungo peas contain potassium, known to help dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure. Thus, the consumption of these peas lowers blood pressure and reduces the constriction of blood vessels. Hypertensive patients should consume it frequently.
  • The protein-rich composition of these peas promotes growth and development. It is necessary for the development of tissues, muscles and bones. In addition, it contributes to the body’s healing and cellular regeneration processes.
  • Gungo peas are rich in organic compounds that help prevent anemia and inflammation, and these compounds are also used to heal the plant’s seeds, leaves, and peas. In order to cure hemorrhoids, also called hemorrhoids, gungo pea puree is used as a paste.
  • Gungo peas are a great food to help you lose weight because they are low in calories, cholesterol, and saturated fat. It contains plenty of fiber, which will keep you feeling full longer and speed up your metabolism. Additionally, since they contain vitamin B, riboflavin and niacin, their consumption helps avoid fat storage and increases energy.
  • Eating gungo peas also strengthens the immune system and promotes heart health. To get this benefit of gungo peas, it is recommended to chew raw green seeds. You can eat them raw, yes.
  • Dietary fiber, essential for maintaining a healthy intestinal system, is abundant in gungo peas. Additionally, it reduces diarrhea, bloating, cramps and constipation.
  • Gungo peas can also be used to get rid of parasitic body worms. They are also used to treat bronchitis, jaundice and lung diseases.


  • Gungo peas: You can use it fresh or frozen.
  • Vegetables soup: Use an organic vegetable broth that is also gluten-free or make your own with leftover vegetables. Another option is to use 2 broths and 8 cups of water.
  • Coconut milk: Coconut milk gives a creamy texture to this soup.
  • Onion: Gives flavor to the beans. You can use yellow, white or red onions in this recipe.
  • Green onion: Add a grassy yet savory flavor to your soup. If you don’t have green onions, you can also use green onions.
  • Red bell pepper: Red pepper for orange color and vitamins.
  • Garlic: Garlic will definitely enhance the flavor of the soup. I added 2 freshly chopped cloves for maximum flavor.
  • Potatoes: The potatoes also add a nice texture and flavor to the soup. Use any variety available.
  • Yam Dasheen: Dasheen yam, also called malanga or taro root, is a popular root in Caribbean, Southeast Asian, and South Indian cuisines. Leave it aside if you can’t locate it.
  • Carrot: I added carrot to improve the nutritional value and taste of this Jamaican Gungo Pea Soup.
  • Thyme: An essential ingredient that gives a beautiful earthy flavor to your soups. Use 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 sprigs fresh thyme.
  • Scotch Bonnet pepper: I used whole Scotch Bonnet peppers for more authentic flavor and not for spicy heat. This distinctive pepper is shaped like a cap and gives a unique fruity and spicy flavor to dishes. This can make a bland dish stand out. Use it whole for the heat-free flavor and remember to remove and throw it away so you don’t accidentally serve it to someone who might mistake it for a grape tomato. It’s super hot!
  • Allspice berries: The dried fruit of allspice is what is called whole allspice. It has a firmness comparable to that of a pebble and is a large, medium brown pepper. Whole allspice berries are frequently combined with other whole spices to infuse curries and soups. You can use chili pepper instead.
  • Ginger: Adding ½ teaspoon of freshly grated ginger adds a little spicy flavor as well as taste to this soup.
  • Dumplings: Dumpling made from flour, water, salt and optional components such as cassava, cornmeal, etc. There are different Dumplings recipes available on my blog, you can choose the one you like best. I’m going with this simple recipe.
  • Salt: I used sea salt. Increase or decrease the salt according to your taste.

Overlay of gluten free vegan gungo pea soup in a white bowl on a white background on a black and white napkinOverlay of gluten free vegan gungo pea soup in a white bowl on a white background on a black and white napkin


How to make Jamaican gungo pea soup?

For an authentic Jamaican flavor, I included yam, potatoes and carrots. Yam is a root tuber, like the potato. Yellow yam has distinct yellow flesh.

It is traditionally added to our soups in Jamaica. You can find yellow yams or Caribbean yams in Caribbean and Latin American grocery stores and even some Walmarts. If you can’t find yellow yam, leave it out.

I also added dumplings/spinners to the soup. You can find traditional and gluten-free dumpling recipes Here. I also made my gungo pea soup with coconut milk for a creamy island flavor.

If you haven’t tried gungo peas yet, they have an earthy flavor similar to brown lentils. Its flavor shines through in this delicious, comforting soup. Gungo peas can be found frozen, canned, or fresh.

For the dumplings, you can make one of these gluten-free vegan recipes, Jamaican Boiled Dumplings, Green banana dumplings. Cassava balls.

Other delicious soups to try

  1. Jamaican Pumpkin Soup
  2. Vegan Cabbage Soup
  3. Vegan Split Pea Soup
  4. Cheese and Broccoli Soup
  5. white bean soup

Jamaican Gungo Pea SoupJamaican Gungo Pea Soup

Presentation suggestions

This soup is a meal in itself. It’s loaded with peas, vegetables and ravioli. It is therefore not necessary to supply it with additional components. Just make something light and refreshing to drink after this soup like:

Chef’s notes

  • This soup is good for vegans and people who don’t like gluten.
  • Taste the soup and season with more salt and pepper, if necessary.
  • While the peas are cooking, you can prepare the ravioli. This will save you time.
  • This soup should have a medium thickness; if it is too thick, dilute it with a little boiling water.

Other Caribbean recipes to try:

Frequently asked questions

Is Gungo a pea?

Of course! It belongs to the family of plants called legumes and is usually found in tropical or warm areas. For example, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia.

Is pigeon pea the same as gungo?

Gungo peas are legumes. They are also known as gunga peas and pigeon peas. Most likely, you can find them dried or canned in the Caribbean or perhaps Latin section of your local grocery store or online.

Where to buy gungo peas?

These peas can be found in Indian supermarkets, on Amazon or in well-stocked grocery stores in the Latin American area.

How do you store leftover Jamaican gungo pea soup?

Leftover soup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in an airtight container. In the freezer it can be stored for a month or more. Coconut milk, however, can curdle once thawed and reheated.

So you can omit the coconut milk and replace it with water if you are making a large quantity to freeze. Add the coconut milk while heating.

Try this Jamaican Gungo Pea Soup. It’s incredibly delicious and super easy. Once you try it, you’ll want more!

As always, I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave your comments or share your own experience with us in the comments section below.

If you make this recipe, take a photo and use the hashtag #healthiersteps — we love seeing your recipes on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter!

For more healthy steps, soups and stews, check out the recipe book HERE.

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