This vegan gungo peas Jamaican stew is delicious and hearty, just perfect for those colder days. Have a comforting bowl of this mouthwatering stew with some crusty bread for a fuss-free dinner the entire family will love.
If you've been on Vegan Cocotte before, you may have noticed that I like to explore all kinds of world cuisines. This time, I tried my hand at a flavourful and hearty Jamaican recipe that's packed full of protein, too.
Gungo peas soup or stew typically contains meat, but there are also lots of meat-free versions available.
My version of Jamaican gungo peas stew is plant-based, obviously, but this doesn't mean it's not hearty and comforting.
If you like chunky soups and stews that are so filling they're a meal on their own, you'll definitely love this recipe.
So what are gungo peas?
Gungo peas are also known as pigeon peas, but they are actually a type of bean. Even though they're native to Africa, they're widely used throughout the Caribbean, particularly in combination with rice and lots of seasonings.
This pigeon peas soup is made with just a handful of ingredients so you can whip up a batch quickly. It's also ready in just 45 minutes and you only need one pot to make it!
Ingredients and substitutions
Gungo peas — You can find gungo beans canned or dried. I used canned ones for this recipe because it's more convenient. If you want to use dried beans, soak them for at least hours or overnight and simmer them for 30 minutes or until tender before using them in the stew.
Onions — Any kind of onion works great in this pigeon peas stew. I used brown onions, but red or white ones are also good ideas.
Carrot and celery stalks— I like to dice the carrots and celery on the smaller side, so they soften and start to caramelize uniformly.
Red pepper — I prefer a red pepper in this stew, but you can use whatever colour you have on hand.
Potatoes — Use a waxy type of potato instead of a floury variety because you don't want it to break down completely in the stew. Alternatively, you can substitute regular potatoes with sweet potatoes.
How do you make Jamaican gungo peas stew?
- Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or a large pot and saute the onion, carrot, celery, and red pepper for 7-8 minutes over medium heat until they soften and start to caramelize ever so slightly.
- Stir in the garlic, thyme, oregano and cayenne pepper and cook for another minute until fragrant.
- Next, stir in the tomato paste, gungo peas, potatoes, stock and coconut milk.
- Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
- Season to taste and serve with crusty bread.
Recipe notes and tips
- Depending on how thick you like it, you can make this recipe a pigeon peas soup or stew. If you'd like it to have more liquid, simply add an extra 200 ml (1 cup) veggie stock.
- If you'd like the stew to be more on the fiery side, add a hot Scotch bonnet pepper, which you can find in Caribbean grocery stores. A teaspoon of red chilli flakes is a good substitute.
- You can add other veggies such as courgettes or cauliflower florets.
- Many traditional Jamaican stews and soups use callaloo, a leafy green similar to spinach. If you can find it, you can add some for the last 3-4 minutes of cooking. Alternatively, you can add some baby spinach or kale.
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