SAN DIEGO: Green peas are a healthy legume vegetable commonly sold from December through the end of spring. Known for their healthful properties, including vitamins K, C, and B, they also contain rich cholesterol-lowering plant sterols. Believed to have originated in the sub-Himalayan plains of West India, today they are grown in a variety of temperate and semi-tropical regions. And they make a flavorful and delicious Split Pea Soup.
Fresh is always best for the best Split Pea Soup
Fresh green peas are available in grocery stores and farmers markets. Dried peas are budget-friendly and readily available year-round.
The following recipe, Split Pea Soup, courtesy of The Kitchn, makes for a great springtime entrée when paired with a delicious side salad and warm crusty bread.
Split Pea Soup Recipe
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, sliced or diced
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups of dried split peas
6 cups of broth of choice, turkey, chicken or vegetable
1 smoked ham hock or ham bone (omit if you are a vegetarian; if you want that “smoked” flavor, you can purchase it in liquid form)
In a large, heavy pot (about 4 quarts in size) melt the butter and add the vegetables, and cook until the onions are soft.
Add the bay leaves, thyme, and salt and pepper and stir.
Add the split peas and stir to coat with the spices and the butter, add the broth and ham hock/ham bone.
Turn heat down to low, cover, and simmer for an hour.
Check on the soup. It should be creamy and soft, but not so thick that it’s like a pea loaf. If it’s getting too thick, add a little more broth. The soup is ready when the peas are soft, about 1 – 1.5 hours.
This makes four servings of Split Pea Soup. Each serving comes out to be 403 calories, 7.1g fat, 63g carbs, 25.9g fiber, 9.4g sugar, and 24.7g protein.
Use frozen or dried peas when fresh is not available
If fresh split peas become scarce after springtime, consider using the dried version to extend your enjoyment of this healthful legume vegetable year round-it is a great starter soup, and a wonderful addition to a large variety of main dish recipes.
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!