Sunday, March 9, 2014

Green Pea and Basil Soup (with Labneh & Mint Pesto on Flatbread Crackers) for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

For busy weeks, I like soups that go together quickly and easily like this Green Pea and Basil Soup from Donna Hay Simple Essentials: Salads + Vegetables. It's creamy, a little sweet and herby from the basil. What sold me on making it was the bocconcini (baby fresh mozzarella) ball on top of the soup in the pictures. Melty from the heat of the soup, it's like a little treasure in the center of all the the green. I also like a simple pureed soup paired with something fun to dip into it. In this case I served it with flatbread crackers, spread with creamy labneh (thickened yogurt cheese) and mint pesto (from the same book).

I made a few changes to the recipe, noted in red below and mainly based on what I had on hand. 

Green Pea and Basil Soup
Donna Hay Simple Essentials: Salads + Vegetables
(Serves 4)

40 g (1 1/2 oz) butter (I reduced by 1/2 & used a vegan butter)
1 onion, chopped
(I added 2 garlic cloves, chopped)
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (I used mock chicken stock)
2 cups frozen peas
sea salt and cracked black pepper
1/2 cup cream (I used non-dairy coconut creamer)
2/3 cup chopped basil leaves (I used 1/2 cup)
2 bocconcini (baby mozzarella), halved

Heat a medium saucepan over high heat. Add butter and onion and cook 3-4 minutes or until the onion is softened. Add the stock, peas, salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 3-4 minutes or until the peas are tender. 

Stir through the cream and basil. Use a food processor or blender to blend the soup until smooth.  

Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the bocconcini.

The store I went to had either large balls of fresh mozzarella or these little 'snack packs' of three tiny fresh mozzarella balls. I think the snack packs are fun. ;-) 

Notes/Results: A good, comforting bowl with plenty of flavor for such a quick-cooking soup. I am used to green pea soup with mint but I like the flavor of the basil in it equally. I did add some extra basil and garlic to keep the soup from being too sweet from the peas--a personal preference. For the dairy, I used non-dairy 'butter' and coconut creamer as that is what I had on hand, and I reduced the amount of the butter--but I don't think you can tell the difference in flavor at all. The melted, slightly chewy mozzarella is a good contrast to the creamy soup--although you could leave it out if you wanted. The tangy labneh and minty pesto also partnered well with it. (BTW--The pesto recipe will be posted later in the week.) I would make this again. 

This green soup is linking up to I Heart Cooking Clubs where the coming week's theme is the "Eating of the Green." (The mint pesto post will be added later.) You can see all of the dishes with green-hued ingredients that everyone makes by checking out the post and the picture links on it. 

Now lets check out the Souper Sundays kitchen and see who is here.

Mireille of Chef Mireille's East West Realm is here with three dishes to share. First is her version of Tomato Soup. She says, "In my part of the world, most of the tomatoes in the supermarkets at this time of year are hothouse tomatoes, chemically ripened. For this reason, they don't have that much flavor and the natural sweetness of tomatoes is virtually non existent. At this time of year, canned tomatoes are a better alternative as they are picked at the peak of ripeness. For this recipe I used Hunt's whole tomatoes to infuse the best possible tomato flavor in this soup."

Next up is Mireille's Butternut Squash-Pesto Soup about which she says, "Butternut Squash Soup has become very common in recent years. It also often includes apple in the soup, which is a combination I don't quite comprehend. I am not a big fan of the Squash-Apple Soup. Instead, I flavored my version of this popular soup with pesto. I hope you like it as much as I did!"

Finally Mireille made this Fresh Chickpea Salad with Passionfruit Dressing and says, "Fresh chickpeas are not something easy to come by here in the United States. In fact, it was only about 2 years ago that I came across them for the first time and I was so amazed I came home with a big bag of them. Now, whenever I see them at the Indian supermarket, I usually purchase them. They cook very quickly and have such a fresh, taste."

Tigerfish of Teczcape - An Escape to Food brings a hearty warm salad of Roasted Squash & Sauteed Chard with Pumpkin Seeds, Hemp seeds & Raisins and says, "What? The organic butternut squash is cheaper than the conventional butternut squash in the grocery store?!?! Take home message: it pays to take a good look at the price tags/labels, every time. Don't make assumptions that organic is always more expensive than conventional."

Janet of The Taste Space shares Roasted Broccoli and Quinoa Salad with Quick-Pickled Raisins and says, "Roasting broccoli doesn’t happen nearly enough. We usually opt to steam it so I decided to roast this newest head. While you can simply roast broccoli with nothing more than a touch of oil with some salt and pepper, I dusted it with curry powder first and then broiled it until it was slightly charred and tender. I then added it to some pan-roasted tomatoes and carrots, quinoa, fresh arugula and toasted cashews topped with the piece de resistance: quick-pickled raisins conferring a salty-sweet-acidy tang, nicely balancing the whole dish."

Thanks to everyone who joined in this week. If you have a soup, salad or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the side bar for all of the details.

Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. Love the mozzarella on top. Perfect color for the upcoming holiday.

  2. Gosh, is spring already here? I always think of spring when there are peas around. :)

  3. www.teczcape.blogspot.comMarch 9, 2014 at 6:01 PM

    The snack cheese balls look good in the soup!

  4. Debra EliotseatsMarch 9, 2014 at 6:52 PM

    Love the mozzarella on top. Perfect color for the upcoming holiday.

  5. SearchingforspiceMarch 9, 2014 at 8:46 PM

    It looks beautiful and green. Really tasty and definitely like spring is on the way!

  6. The bocconcini on top is so cute!! It adds a little bit of fun to every bite.

  7. The labneh flatbreads look fantastic too - and such a vibrant soup!

  8. Basil and peas sounds like a wonderful combination of flavours, especially topped with the bocconcini.

  9. I like the way you describe the mozzarella as being little treasures. To me, the best thing about eating soup is all the fun things you can put on top.

    I think I have a crush on your flatbread crackers.

  10. Pam Armstrong GreerMarch 15, 2014 at 5:05 PM

    Perfectly green! I am so going to try to stay on theme for upcoming IHCC.

  11. I love those mozzarella balls and buy them all the time! They look so pretty floating on top of that gorgeous green soup! A perfect springtime meal for sure.

    Eyeballing that chickpea salad too!

  12. Hi Deb,
    That is a delicious bowl of soup. The soft mozzarella looks so good and the contrasting colour betweent he

  13. Oops....sorry Deb, not sure what happened!! :)
    The contrasting colour between the cheese and the soup looks really nice!

  14. wow. I love everything about that platter. I made this soup at the begginning of Donna Hay exploration but I didn't use the mozz which I'm sure made a world of difference

  15. Couscous & ConsciousnessMarch 22, 2014 at 2:52 PM

    Yum, yum, yum. Actually I love a nice creamy, pureed soup, and pea and basil is a wonderful combo, but if I had ever doubted it even for a moment that little ball of bocconcini on top would have sold me on it.


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