Beef/ Jamaican/ Main Dishes & Entrées/ Soups & Stews/ Vegan/ Vegetarian

Jamaican Red Peas Soup

October 17, 2022 (Last Updated: November 1, 2022)

Jamaican Red Peas Soup is a classic Jamaican soup that’s bursting with a mix of Caribbean herbs, spices and flavour! It’s made with red kidney beans and beef to make the most delicious base for the soup and loaded with dumplings, carrots, and hearty ground provision, such as yams and potatoes. This dish can easily be prepared with just vegetables making it a great vegetarian or vegan dish as well!

jamaican red peas soup.

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Jamaican Red Peas Soup is a classic Jamaican soup that’s bursting with a mix of Caribbean herbs, spices and flavour! It’s made with red kidney beans and beef to make the most delicious base for the soup and loaded with dumplings, carrots, and hearty ground provision, such as yams and potatoes. This dish can easily be prepared with just vegetables making it a great vegetarian or vegan dish as well!

Love Jamaican soup recipes? Try this Jamaican Chicken Soup and this Traditional Jamaican Pumpkin Beef Soup next, for the perfect warming bowl of Caribbean goodness.

jamaican red peas soup in grey bowl.

Full recipe ingredients and instructions are available in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Jamaican Red Peas Soup

Soup season is an all year round type deal for my household and I. Growing up in a Jamaican family, there’s a tradition called “soup saturday” which as the name projects; means soup will be served every saturday! Whether it’s Jamaican Chicken Soup (a classic), this Traditional Jamaican Pumpkin Beef Soup, or this Jamaican Red Peas Soup.

Soups are one of my favourite dishes to make and serve as it’s almost like a one-stop-shop. It often contains, a protein which adds flavour, a starch with fills you up and gives the soup body, and loads of veggies! So, without further adieu – let’s get cooking!

You’ll Love This Jamaican Soup Recipe! Here’s Why…

  • Perfect Vegan/Vegetarian Dish – you can simply veganize this dish by omitting the fresh/salted beef; and the flavour will still burst and leave you satisfied.
  • Healthy and Hearty – made with beans, meat, and loads of veggies this dish is hearty and filled with only the best ingredients.
  • Variations – there are many variations and substitutions to this recipe, such as swapping out the starches, vegetables and meats for alternatives.

What is Red Peas Soup?

Red Peas Soup is a classic hearty soup that is eaten in Jamaica. It’s traditionally made with red kidney beans and salted meat such as (salt beef or pork) and loaded with dumplings, carrots, and hearty ground provision, such as yams and potatoes.

Is Red Peas Soup the Same as Stew Peas?

Red Peas Soup and Stew Peas are very similar Jamaican dishes, however they slightly differ. Stew Peas has a thicker consistency, and is usually served with white rice. Red Peas Soup on the other hand has a thinner consistency and is usually eaten on its own.

jamaican red peas soup in grey bowl.

What is Ground Provision?

Ground provisions are a term used for Caribbean starchy vegetables that grow underground, and are then dug up when harvested. 

Some commonly used ground provisions include, yams, sweet potatoes, dasheen (taro), eddo and cassava (yucca or manioc). 

They are prepared in a variety of ways, however they are usually the only or main source of carbohydrates for the meal. Other provision or “food” as Jamaicans say also include breadfruit, green bananas, and plantains.

yellow yam on cutting board.

Ingredients and Ingredient Notes

To Soak Red Kidney Beans

  • Dried Red Kidney Beans – this is what gives the soup that iconic reddish hue.I recommend only using dried red kidney beans as canned beans will not provide the same depth of flavour.
  • Water – use this to rehydrate the beans for 6 to 8 hours or overnight. You may need an additional cup of water along the way, just ensure the beans are fully submerged at all times.
  • Garlic – use large cloves and crush them using the bottom of a can or between two cutting boards.
  • Whole Pimento Seeds – also known as allspice berries, this adds a woody, cinnamon like flavour but is not overpowering.

Jamaican Red Peas Soup

  • Water – essential to start the soup, of course. Start with 10 cups and add additional cups along the way if needed.
  • Beef Shank – you can also use stewing beef, cut into large chunks as it will shrink down and break apart as the soup cooks. I prefer using beef shank with the bone, as it provides an added rich flavour.
  • Cured Bone-In Beef – also referred to as salt beef (salted beef). Cut into chunks, and ensure you take the time to boil out some of the salt.
  • Potato – yukon gold will suffice, quartered into large pieces, as it will dissolve itself into the soup to add thickness and body.
  • Yellow Yam – you can also use other ground provision as an alternative such as dasheen, eddo yam, cassava.
  • Carrot – use large, peeled and sliced carrots or carrots cut into chunks.
  • Onion – halved and quartered.
  • Scotch Bonnet Pepper – this packs a good spicy punch, and flavour to the soup. Alternatively, you can use habanero peppers or your favourite variety of pepper. Be sure to keep it whole (don’t let it burst), as the soup may become too spicy.
  • Escallion – also known as green onion, crushed using the handle end of a chefs knife if needed.
  • Fresh Thyme – this fresh aromatic and flavourful herb is essential in many jamaican dishes, and definitely great in this one as well.
  • Flour Spinners (Dumpling) – a mixture of all purpose flour, water and salt rolled into circular shaped dumplings.
  • Coconut Milk – used to give the soup a rich creamy flavour.
  • Seasonings – all purpose seasoning, seasoning salt, salt, and black pepper, any variation or your favourite herbal seasoning like an italian blend will work well.
jamaican red peas soup ingredient flatlay.

Other Optional Ingredients or Substitutes for Above Listed Ingredients

Corn – quarter the corn into smaller pieces and add to the soup.

Ground Provision – add yams, potatoes, sweet potatoes, dasheen, eddo or cassava to change up the soup and add great nourishment.

Where to Get Ingredients for Jamaican Soup

Your best bet to get these ingredients is if you visit a West Indian Market, that carries items like the salted (cured/corned) beef, yellow yam, scotch bonnet pepper, pimento seeds etc.

What Equipment is Needed to Make This Recipe

Large Stock Pot – a stock pot is often much taller than a regular large pot. The tall sides help to prevent too much liquid from evaporating during the cooking process, as well as helping to reduce any potential spillage. Not to mention, great for big batches of soup!

Long Handled Wooden Spoon – the handle of this spoon will stay cool while stirring the soup, as well it will not scratch your pot.

Ladle – this kitchen tool has a deep rounded bottom, perfect for scooping up heaping portions of the soup as well as all the vegetables, ground provision and meat.

See My Story Below for Step-by-Step Instructions

How to Make This Recipe

1. Soak Red Kidney Beans – rinse beans and place in a medium sized bowl. Add fresh water, garlic, and pimento seeds (allspice berries). Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and allow to soak for 6 to 8 hours or overnight.

red kidney beans soaking in water.

2. Prepare Cured/Salted Beef (if using) – add water to a large stockpot and bring to a boil. Then add cured/salted beef and boil for about 20 minutes to remove salt and discard water and set aside beef. Repeat if necessary until desired amount of salt has been been boiled out.

3. Cook Beef & Red Kidney Beans – in the same large stockpot, bring to rapid boil 10 cups of fresh water. Carefully add the beef shank or stewing beef, cured/salted beef if using and pour in bean mixture (including the water, which is now infused with flavour).

4. Make Spinners (Flour Dumpling) – in a medium mixing bowl, add flour and salt then gradually add water and use your hand to knead and form the dough for the spinners.

4 spinner (dumplings) in hand over pot.

5. Prepare Fresh Ingredients – while beef and beans boiling, prepare your other fresh ingredients; potato, carrot, yellow yam, onion, thyme, green onion (escallion), and scotch bonnet pepper; set aside.

6. Add Remaining Ingredients to Pot – when beef and peas are more on the tender side add the remaining fresh ingredients including the spinners and add an additional two cups of water to ensure all soup ingredients are covered; reduce heat to medium.

7. Add Coconut Milk and Season – pour in coconut milk, and season with all purpose seasoning, salt and black pepper. Give a good stir, taste and adjust if necessary; allow to simmer for an additional 15 mins. Remove scotch bonnet pepper and thyme sprigs, serve while hot and enjoy!

jamaican red peas soup.

Recipe Notes and Tips

  1. Large Stock Pot – once you add in all your vegetables, dumplings, and meat things can get crowded, ensure you use a large enough pot.
  2. Dumplings – when the dumplings begin to float to the top, they are ready. 
  3. Water/Stock Level – always make sure there’s enough water in your pot to cover your ingredients at all times. Enough water to cover the beef and beans during the cooking process. Enough water to cover all your vegetables and dumplings to allow the soup to simmer. 
  4. Consistency – crush some of the beans into the soup if you prefer a thicker soup using the back of a wooden spoon.
  5. Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot – use a pressure cooker or instant pot for a quicker way to hydrate the beans instead of soaking overnight.

Recipe Variations and Substitutions

Here are some variations to this soup recipe you can try next:

  • Make it Vegan/Vegetarian – do this simply but omitting the meat.
  • Ground Provision – swap out the ground provision for other options you may like more. For example, if you don’t like yellow yam, substitute for yukon gold potatoes or corn, extra carrots etc.
  • Dumpling – instead of using white all purpose flour, swap the flour and use gluten-free or whole wheat dumplings.
  • Meat – you can use salted/cured beef, fresh beef, salted pork, smoked turkey, ham bone, or a variation.

What to Serve with Red Peas Soup

This is a one pot meal that encompasses meats, veggies, starch and of course the flavourful beef and red kidney beans soup broth. It is usually not served alongside any other food items, however you can serve with: 

  • Bread – warm crusty bread or jamaican hard dough bread.
  • Crackers – soup crackers or jamaican water crackers.
jamaican red peas soup in pot with wooden spoon.

The Best Storage Containers for Storing and Freezing Soup

Soup recipes often taste even better as leftovers, and if you’re making a big batch, storing for later is a great idea! The best features to look for in the storage containers are ones that are:

  • Glass Container – this allows you to see what’s inside, lasts longer than plastic, does not stain, can be heated on stove top (double boiler), used in the oven as well as microwave.
  • Snap Close Lid – this forms a tight seal to ensure no spillage as well as to keep freshness in.

Be sure to look for a lid that is BPA-free!

How to Freeze Soup

Soup is one of the best meals to make-ahead because it freezes so well. Here’s how to store your soup in the freezer and the best tips for the best results:

  • Cool and Portion it Out – it is recommended you cool your soup prior to placing into the freezer to prevent it from thawing other foods in the freezer. Then, portion the soup out into easy and convenient grab-and-go individual servings. 
  • Separate Grains and Pasta – if there are pasta or grains such as rice in your soup, they will soften as they freeze and reheat. Remove, store, and freeze separately then add back the soup broth when ready to serve.
  • Store in Glass or Plastic Containers – then line the top of the soup with a piece of plastic wrap to reduce the risk of freezer burn.
  • Label – you can keep frozen soup in the freezer for up to 3 months, so label with a “eat by” date.
  • Thaw/Reheat – the easiest way to thaw your soup is in your refrigerator overnight then reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.

How to Reheat

  1. Microwave – for individual servings or smaller batches, transfer soup to a microwave-safe dish, cover with a microwave-safe lid or paper towel and heat.
  2. Stove – reheat large batches of soup in a stock pot or dutch oven on the stove over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until heated through.
jamaican red peas soup in grey bowl.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Can You Make This Recipe Ahead of Time?

The vegetables can be prepped (washed and peeled) ahead of time or from the night before. However, for making the soup the ahead, its most common to make soup the day of and enjoy leftovers the day after.

Where Can I Find the Ingredients Listed?

Head to the nearest Caribbean or West Indian food market, alternatively you can find many of these ingredients at an Asian food market as well. If none of these are in your local area, refer to the substitution and variations list above to find alternatives.

Interested in more Jamaican Recipes? Check These Out!

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jamaican red peas soup.

Jamaican Red Peas Soup

Jamaican Red Peas Soup is a classic Jamaican soup that's bursting with a mix of Caribbean herbs, spices and flavour! It's made with red kidney beans and beef to make the most delicious base for the soup and loaded with dumplings, carrots, and hearty ground provision, such as yams and potatoes. This dish can easily be prepared with just vegetables making it a great vegetarian or vegan dish as well!
4 from 5 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Soaking Time 8 hrs
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
Course Jamaican & Caribbean, Soups & Stews, Vegan, Vegetarian
Cuisine Jamaican
Servings 6 servings
Calories 582 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Large Stockpot

Ingredients
  

To Soak Red Kidney Beans

  • 2 cups Dried Red Kidney Beans
  • 3 cups Water may need an additional cup
  • 4 cloves Garlic large, crushed
  • 8 Whole Pimento Seeds or whole allspice berries

Jamaican Red Peas Soup

  • 12 cups Water divided
  • 2 lbs Beef Shank cut into chunks w/ bone or stewing beef, optional
  • 1 lb Cured Bone-In Beef salt beef, cut into chunks, optional
  • 2 small Potato quartered
  • 3 slices Yellow Yam small
  • 1 Carrot large, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 med Onion
  • 1-2 Scotch Bonnet Pepper whole, optional
  • 2 stalks Escallion green onion, crushed
  • 3-4 sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 6 Flour Spinners (Dumpling) recipe below
  • 1 can Coconut Milk 400ml
  • 2 tbsp All Purpose Seasoning or seasoning salt, more or less to taste
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Spinners

  • 1 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1/4 tsp Salt

Other Optional Ingredients or Substitutes for Above Listed Ingredients

  • Corn
  • Ground Provision Yams, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Dasheen, Eddo and Cassava

Instructions
 

Soak Red Kidney Beans

  • Rinse beans and place in a medium sized bowl. Add fresh water, garlic, and pimento seeds (allspice berries). Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and allow to soak for 6 to 8 hours or overnight.

Prepare Cured/Salted Beef if using

  • Add water to a large stockpot and bring to a boil. Then add cured/salted beef and boil for about 20 minutes to remove salt and discard water and set aside beef. Repeat if necessary until desired amount of salt has been been boiled out.

Cook Beef & Red Kidney Beans

  • In the same large stockpot, bring to rapid boil 10 cups of fresh water. Carefully add the beef shank or stewing beef, cured/salted beef if using and pour in bean mixture (including the water, which is now infused with flavour). Allow to boil for about 45 minutes to an hour or until the beef and beans are mid-tender.

Jamaican Red Peas Soup

  • While beef and beans boiling, prepare your other fresh ingredients; potato, carrot, yellow yam, onion, thyme, green onion (escallion), and scotch bonnet pepper; set aside.
  • When beef and peas are more on the tender side add the remaining fresh ingredients including the spinners and add an additional two cups of water to ensure all soup ingredients are covered; reduce heat to medium.
  • Pour in coconut milk, and season with all purpose seasoning, salt and black pepper. Give a good stir, taste and adjust if necessary; allow to simmer for an additional 15 mins. Remove scotch bonnet pepper and thyme sprigs, serve while hot and enjoy!

Spinners

  • In a medium mixing bowl, add flour and salt then gradually add water and use your hand to knead and form the dough for the spinners. Dough should be soft but not sticky and wet. Pinch or cut off 6 to 8 equal sized pieces. Use the palms of your hands to make long thin dumpling style spinners. Set each spinner aside.

Notes

Spinners – you may not need all the water listed to form the dumplings. I needed 1/4 cup + 3 tbsp of water.
Level of Spice – don’t let the scotch bonnet pepper burst, unless you want a spicer soup.
Salted Beef – salted beef altogether should boil for approximately 30 minutes in 10 minute increments adding fresh water everytime to draw out the excess salt from the beef.
Water/Stock Level – always make sure there’s enough water in your pot to cover your ingredients at all times. Enough water to cover the beef and red kidney beans during the cooking process. Enough water to cover all your vegetables and spinners to allow the soup to simmer.
See detailed notes above for additional tips.

Nutrition

Calories: 582kcalCarbohydrates: 68gProtein: 39gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 182mgPotassium: 1664mgFiber: 12gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 1781IUVitamin C: 21mgCalcium: 106mgIron: 10mg
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DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider leaving a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and a comment below I always love hearing from you! You can also tag @theseasoned.skillet and use #theseasonedskillet on Instagram!
jamaican red peas soup.

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Regina
    October 29, 2022 at 4:26 am

    5 stars
    Thorough step-by-step instructions have made me confident that I could make this soup.

    • Reply
      Taneisha Morris
      October 29, 2022 at 10:06 am

      Hi Regina! This makes me so happy to hear! I know how intimidating these recipes can be so I’m happy you’re confident to make the soup! Woohoo! Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Jasmina
    November 15, 2022 at 11:38 pm

    5 stars
    Really enjoyed this recipe. Great thanks to you for your thorough instructions and background information!

    • Reply
      Taneisha Morris
      November 17, 2022 at 12:50 pm

      Hi Jasmina! Thanks so much for trying this recipe out!! Love that you enjoyed!

    Leave a Comment

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