By Dianne Bunis

Fresh-picked English peas are a sign that spring has truly arrived! This soup combines nutritious whole foods with detoxifying herbs and spices to provide anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-allergic properties. Peas provide phytonutrients, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids and are full of protein and fiber.

Choose bright green, firm pods, with pearl-size peas. Store peas in a closed brown paper bag in the refrigerator for up to three days (before they lose their sweetness), shell them just before they are cooked; discard the pod (great for compost).

English Pea Soup

Serves 6

1 1/2 pounds fresh English peas, shelled

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small shallot, finely diced

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon fresh grated ginger root

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, stems removed

3 cups organic vegetable broth

pinch sea salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1. In a Dutch oven on medium heat, sauté the garlic and shallot in olive oil for 2-3 minutes until golden, stirring frequently.

2. Add broth, peas, herbs and spices. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan and simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes.

3. Remove cover and pan from heat, let cool.

4. Pour pea mixture into blender and purée, add a little water to purée if it is too thick. Serve hot or cold, garnish with croutons.