Saturday, December 10, 2011

Vegan Split Pea Soup


Ever since that snowman cookie jar reentered my life a little over a week ago, it hasn't been easy to avoid excessive amounts of sugar, salt, and flour. So I've been trying extra hard to make sure the meals I prepare are super healthy.
Last night, I paged through a few of my favorite cookbooks and pursued some of my go-to websites for vegetarian split pea soup recipes. I took stock of what we had on hand and got to work.
Ingredients:
1/2 gallon Veggie Broth
4 c Water
1/2 a large yellow onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 c split peas, rinsed and strained
3 kale leaves, finely chopped
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp dill
2 tsp chipotle pepper
2 tsp paprika
freshly ground black pepper
0 cookies

Pour stock into a large pot. Turn heat to high and add carrots, celery, onions, kale, and split peas. Bring to a boil and boil for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, add spices, cover, and simmer for 2 hours or until split peas are tender. Add the parsley, taste, and add more herbs and spices to taste.

Using an immersion blender, blend to your desired consistency. You can also work in batches in a standard blender, but be careful to cover the lid with a towel and hold it on tight as hot liquids can erupt from blenders!

The soup was very easy, but it does take a while for the peas to soften, so this recipe is better for when you're cooking in advance or for when you have an afternoon home. I made a bowl for James for dinner and put the rest in pint-sized ball jars for lunches and dinners to come. I think the soup will be better after it sits in the fridge for a day or two and am already looking forward to bringing it for lunch on Monday.

I've never seen kale as an ingredient in split pea soup. Feel free to leave it out. I had some in the fridge that needed to be used and like sneaking kale into recipes wherever I can because it's so good for you.
If you're going to blend this soup in a high-powered blender, you don't even have to chop the ingredients before cooking! I wasn't sure if I would blend it or not, so I chopped everything into bite-size pieces.
Green stuff is good for you :-)

Other variations: If you need the salt, add it at the end to taste. Leave out the kale if you don't have/like it. Add a potato or a sweet potato if you want. If you want to saute the onion, (and carrots and celery) before adding the broth, go for it, but I don't think it adds enough flavor to warrant the additional calories. As for the spices, paprika and chipotle powder add some of the smokey spicy flavor. I also added a dash of cayenne for some kick. For fresh herbs, I would stick to thyme and dill. The parsley was a bit of a stretch for the flavors of this soup, but I love parsley and had a bunch so I used it! You could garnish with a dollop of greek yogurt or a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Are there any other soups that typically contain meat that you would like a vegetarian/vegan recipe for?