Sunday, December 9, 2012

Meatless Mondays: Split Pea with Kale Soup

Nothing takes the chill out of a winter’s day quite like a hot bowl of delicious soup!

Here’s a recipe for a wonderfully healthful, guilt-free Split Pea that I put together tonight. It’s so quick and easy to make that you can enjoy it any night of the week … especially on Meatless Mondays (hint, hint).

I’ve been searching for a recipe that would rival the traditional ham-based version for a while. Lo and behold I found it, thanks to Kris Carr’s crazy sexy kitchen. A worthwhile wait, most definitely.

This soup comes alive with herbs and spices like parsley, thyme, red pepper flakes and nutritional yeast. To capture the “smoky flavor” that ham provides I used smoky tempeh bacon. (Tempeh is a highly nutritious fermented food made from soybeans.) Finally, the addition of kale kicks the healthfulness of this soup up a notch, adding a nice crunch to every bite. Who needs croutons!

It was “love at first taste” for Matt, who has declared his love for this soup over and over again since dinner. He described it as, “One of my best,” but to be fair he says that about every soup I make (though they are all that good).

A quick note on nutritional yeast: Those who strive to follow a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle use this tasty product because it brings a nice flavor when added to certain foods. It also packs a punch in terms of the nutrients it delivers. You can sprinkle it on popcorn (in place of butter), stir it into mashed potatoes, add a little to the cooking water for polenta or sprinkle it on pasta dishes (in place of parmesan). It adds an extra zip to so many dishes.

Here’s the recipe.

Split Pea with Kale Soup
(Don't be discouraged by ingredients such as tempeh and nutritional yeast. Both can be found in most supermarkets that carry a robust natural foods selection. Tempeh is located in the organic refrigerated section near the tofu. Nutritional yeast is kept in the protein powder and power bar aisle. If you don't see one or both, ask.) 

½ tsp olive oil
1 white onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
5 celery stalks, diced
5 carrots, diced
6 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbsp ground thyme
¼ cup parsley, chopped
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 ½ cups kale, shredded
¼ cup smoky tempeh bacon

Heat oil in soup pot on medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent and golden.
Add garlic, celery and carrots and continue to stir for a few minutes to sauté lightly.

Add split peas, vegetable broth, thyme, parsley, nutritional yeast, sea salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer, cover and allow to cook for 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When split peas begin to lose their shape, add tempeh. Let simmer for 10 minutes before pureeing in a Vitamix or blender.

Pour back into soup pot. Add kale and allow to steam and flavors to settle for five minutes before serving.

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