Jamaican Red Peas Soup

Bring the flavours of the Caribbeans to your table with our hearty and spicy Jamaican red peas soup recipe. It combines stewed red kidney beans, yams, Scotch bonnets, and coconut milk, all topped with gluten-free "spinner" dumplings.

Vegan Jamaican Red Peas Soup with Dumplings


Nutrition per serving
Net Carbs67.6 g24.6%
of which Sugars6.2 g6.9%
Fibers17.7 g63.2%
Fats4.6 g7.1%
of which Saturates1.3 g6.5%
of which Omega 30.2 g18.2%
Proteins16.6 g36.1%
Calcium132 mg13.2%
Vitamin A340 mcg48.5%
Vitamin C18 mg24.6%
Iron4.5 mg30.7%
Potassium1187 mg33.9%
Sodium972 mg42.2%
Cholesterol0 mg0%
Kcal378 18.9%
Macro split
  • net carbs 63%
  • sugars 6%
  • fats 4%
  • saturates 1%
  • proteins 16%
  • fibers 17%
*RDA based on a 2000 kcal diet;
**Nutritional data sources: USDA, food labels.
378 per serving

Beans are a convenient and versatile pantry staple, not to mention incredibly nutritious. So, today, we want to show you how to turn humble red kidney beans into a hearty and satisfying soup with a Caribbean twist. Our recipe is inspired by the famous red peas soup from Jamaica, a vibrant and warming dish that's as tasty as easy to make.

Head to your local Caribbean food store or well-stocked supermarket and grab some yams, Scotch bonnets, coconut milk, and red kidney beans. You'll also need a few basic soup veggies like carrots and onions, allspice, and thyme.

Preparing this Jamaican soup is as simple as stewing beans and vegetables until tender. Add all to a pot and let the soup cook for a good 30 minutes while you chill back and relax. But if you want, you can prepare a few dumplings while you wait. A classic stew pea soup is not complete without some Jamaican "spinners", cute and tasty spindle-shaped dumplings.

While the traditional Jamaican soup also includes uncured and salted meats like pork or beef, we kept only the beans to make the recipe vegan and lower in fats. Red kidney beans are also called red pea by the locals, so the two terms refer to the same ingredient. Using dried, raw beans is essential here if you want to get a rich, velvety, and purplish broth. But if you're short on time, we'll also give you the option to use canned beans instead.

Other than skipping the meat, we kept all the usual herbs, spices, and vegetables. Chillies, allspice, coconut, and thyme make the soup both warming and fresh, while root vegetables add earthy notes and a starchy texture. As for the dumplings, we replaced the classic wheat flour with rice flour for a gluten-free alternative. But feel free to use any gluten-free blend you like or stick to wheat if you're not celiac.

A generous bowl of this bean soup comes in less than 400 calories, yet it provides over 35% RDI of proteins and 60% RDI of fibres. This means you'll feel full and satiated for long, all with just a simple meal of beans and veggies. So, why not make a big batch of this Jamaican soup to keep at hand for the whole week? You'll be looking forward to dinnertime!


Measuring System
Dry Red Kidney Beans160 g
Vegetable Stock1.6 L
Brown Onions1
Yam (white or yellow)200 g
Spring Onions Stalks2
Scotch Bonnet Chillies2
Ground Allspice1/2 tsp
Coconut Milk Drink250 mL
Spinner Dumplings
Cornmeal50 g
Rice Flour (or gluten-free or white flour)50 g
Baking Powder1/2 tsp
Salt1/2 tsp
Ground Thyme2 tsp
Cold Water65 mL

Step 1

Rinse the dried beans and add them to a bowl (or to the same pot you'll use to cook them).

Cover them with cold water and leave them to soak for at least 2 hours, even better overnight.

As the beans soak, they'll swell and soften.

red kidney beans soaking in water

Step 2

Now, drain the soaking water and add the red peas to a large pot.

Pour in the vegetable stock, bring to a boil, and simmer the beans covered for 25 minutes over medium/low heat.

At this point, they should feel almost tender to the bite.

red kidney beans simmering in a pot

Step 3

While the beans cook, peel the onions, carrots, and yam. Then, chop them into small cubes.

Next, slice the spring onions. Halve the Scotch bonnet chillies, remove the seeded core, and thinly chop the flesh.

Scotch bonnets are very spicy: by removing the seeds, they'll be much milder, but you can also keep them if you like your soup hot and fiery.

Now, add the prepared ingredients to the cooked beans, and tip in ground allspice and coconut milk drink.

Bring the broth back to a boil and simmer all covered for 10 minutes until the veggies are tender.

red pea soup cooking in a pot with yam and carrots

Step 4

Meanwhile, let's make the dumplings.

They are optional, but they'll make the whole dish much tastier.

Combine cornmeal, rice flour, baking powder, salt, and thyme in a bowl. Then, pour in the water and work all into a soft, smooth, and pliable dough. It should feel moist but not sticky.

You can replace rice flour with any gluten-free flour blend. Alternatively, use plain wheat flour if you're not intolerant to gluten, but decrease the amount of water from 65ml (2 fl oz) to 45ml (1.5 fl oz).

jamaican cornmeal dumpling ingredients

Step 5

To shape the Jamaican "spinner" dumplings, pinch off a small amount of dough and roll into a ball, roughly the size of a large hazelnut.

Then, roll it back and forth onto the worktop, pressing down with your palm to make a cylinder. Finally, taper the end with your fingers to give the dumpling its characteristic spindle shape. We made ours about 6 cm (2/2.5 inches) long and as thick as a pinky finger.

Keep the shaped spinners covered with cling film so they won't dry out, and repeat this step until you have used all the tough.

how to shape jamaican spinner dumplings

Step 6

Add the prepared dumplings to the simmering soup and cook them for 10-15 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

They should be soft, swollen, and glossy, floating on the surface of the soup. You know the dumplings are ready if they feel chewy to the bite, without grainy bits, and they are no longer white inside.

Once ready, garnish the red pea soup with extra thyme and spring onions and enjoy.

jamaican red pea stew with spinners dumplings in a pot


  • You can swap dried kidney beans with the canned ones for a much faster 20 minute-recipe. Use about 90g (3.5 oz) of tinned beans per person. Add them to the pot along with their canning water, followed by the stock and veggies. Cook all for 10 minutes and then follow the recipe above from step 4.

  • We used chilled coconut drink, which you should find in your supermarket's lactose-free drinks section. If you can't find it, you can use tinned coconut milk, which will make the soup creamier but also slightly higher in fats.

  • Yellow-fleshed yams are a staple ingredient in Jamaican stewed peas, but they can be more difficult to find than white ones. If you can't get hold of any type of yam, then you can swap them with cassava root, eddo, taro, or green plantains. Alternatively, use Russet potatoes or sweet potatoes.