Friday, December 14, 2007

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

I have been making soups and stews to eat along with our homemade bread. Pictured above is Split Pea Soup with a salad and some of our Pain de Campagne. The salad has lettuce, freshly grated Parmesan, walnuts and dried cherries with a raspberry vinaigrette.

I hope this isn't too confusing, but I am giving the soup recipe below with two different options for seasonings. One option is for a curried soup and the other is for an herbed soup. The curried version of the soup recipe is adapted from a recipe we learned at the Conscious Gourmet cooking class. The other seasonings are merged from several other vegetarian pea soup recipes I have.

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

1 cup uncooked green split peas, sorted and rinsed
4 or 5 cups water
1 stalk kombu sea vegetable
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 leek, chopped OR 1 small onion and 1 small stalk celery, chopped
1 large carrot or 2 small, chopped

salt and pepper to taste
optional garnishes: chopped parsley, chopped scallions, lemon juice or umeboshi vinegar

Seasoning option A (for herbed soup: add at step 2)

  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme

Seasoning option B (for curried soup: add at step 4)
(note: this is a lot of flavor, so adjust levels to your taste or you can also omit some of these ingredients)

  • 1 tablespoon butter or oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


1. Place 3 cups of the water, the split peas and stalk of kombu in a pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until soft. Depending on the size and freshness of the peas, this could take up to 1 1/2 hours, but also could be a lot sooner. There may be some white cloudy residue that floats to the top near the beginning of cooking; if so, skim it off and discard.

2. Meanwhile chop the vegetables and then heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saute pan. Add the onion or leek and saute until soft. Add the carrot and celery and if using the seasonings from Option A, add them. Continue to saute for a few minutes so the flavors start to develop. Set aside.

3. If the peas start to need more water, add it a cup at a time, to maintain the soupy consistency you desire. I like my split pea soup to be rather thick, but other people like a thinner soup. When the peas are mostly tender, add the sauteed vegetables and simmer for thirty more minutes or until the carrots are soft. The kombu will also become soft and will break into small pieces on its own. If any of the pieces of kombu are large by this time, either remove them or cut them into small pieces.

4. (Skip this step if you are using seasoning option A). For seasoning option B: Heat the tablespoon of butter or oil in a small saute pan. When hot, add the Option B spices and stir. The spices will foam slightly and will release their aromas. Set aside. Add the curried seasonings to the peas during the last 10 minutes of simmering.

5. If the soup is lumpier than you desire, you could blend part of it in the blender to make it smoother. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve. Garnish each bowl with a sprinkle of lemon juice or umeboshi vinegar and parsley or scallions, if desired.

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