This is a delicious bright green soup and contains protein from the peas.   It is a meal in itself and just the thing for a wintery Irish January day while you recover from the festive season splurge.  It takes about 20 minutes to make and it freezes well.  Dried herbs won’t really cut it in this soup, it just won’t taste great.  I got the original recipe from Rose Elliot’s “Gourmet Vegetarian Cooking” but adapted it to use better-for-you oils and fats.

For 4:

15g butter or ghee (clarified butter, suitable for those with dairy intolerance), or if you don’t have either of these, 1 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
900g frozen peas (petits pois are the nicest)
1½ litre vegetable stock (make by boiling up chopped carrots, onions, cabbage or other green veg stalks, a leek and a bouquet garni) or use Kallo veg stock cubes/Marigold bouillon
A generous handful of fresh thyme sprigs
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbs chopped fresh mint
To serve: extra virgin olive oil or natural yoghurt

1. Melt the butter in a large sauce pan and add the onion, sweat on a low heat, covered, until soft and translucent.
2. Wash your thyme, then find an elastic band or a piece of string and tie it in a bunch, this saves you spending ages fishing out stray twigs from the soup later.  Set aside.
3. Add the peas to the saucepan and cook for 2-3 mins, stirring often.  Pour in the stock/water, add the thyme, bring to the boil then cover and simmer for a few mins until the peas are done.
4. Find the bunch of thyme sprigs and roughly (with a spoon) separate the leaves (which you want) from the twigs (which you don’t).  Leave the leaves in the soup and throw away the twigs.
5. Add the chopped fresh mint and process till smooth.

Serve with:
A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (about a teaspoon) or a blob of natural yoghurt on the top.  For dairy-free diets, avoid yoghurt.

If you want to increase the variety of vegetables in this soup you can add 1 large leek at the same time as the onion.

Why this is good for you:
Peas are a great source of vegetable protein so this is a good sustaining soup and a perfectly balanced meal even on its own.  The protein and the fats will keep you full for ages.   Like all intensely green vegetables, peas are also rich in magnesium.  You need magnesium for stress management, sleep, detox and even weight loss.  This soup avoids harmful refined oils (most cooking oils).  Refined oils are found in shop confectionery, biscuits and cakes, processed foods and all cooking oils except cold-pressed or extra virgin oils.  Heating virgin cold pressed nuts/seed oils makes them harmful.  Olive oil can be gently heated, and virgin coconut oil/ghee/butter are safe for cooking at higher temperatures.  Marigold, Vecon or Kallo are better quality stock cubes than most.  Thyme has powerful antioxidant anti-inflammatory properties which slow ageing and tune up the health of your digestive system.  Mint helps calm and soothe your whole digestive system.