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Swedish Yellow Split Pea Soup

Posted Nov 27 2012 11:49am

Yellow split peas. I like them. A lot. Cheap, easy to prepare, creamy, versatile, naturally gluten-free and vegan, and loaded with protein to fuel me through long days and long runs alike, my affection runs deep.

The color is key; it's yellow or bust. Despite green being my favorite color, I am no fan of the green split pea. The green variety looks so pretty when dry, but cook them and they take on a gray-brown cast akin to a muddy army jeep. Green split peas have a sharper pea flavor, too, which would be wonderful if I liked sharp pea flavor, but I don't. 

By contrast, their golden cousins are mellow, creamy, and play beautfully with other flavors both mild and strong. 

This humble soup is one I have been making since my graduate school days--a perfect post-Thanksgiving repast that is soothing, satisfying and energizing (10K run after work, anyone?) in one fell swoop. It looks like a bowl of sunshine to boot, so go ahead and spoon up some cheer.

For more yellow split pea love, check out these easy, delicious recipes:

Lemony Yellow Split Pea Side Dish with Garlic and Ginger @ Kalyn's Kitchen (SOOO good!)
Greek Yellow Split Pea Puree @ Girl CooksWorld (Fabulous! Like Hummus)
Yellow Split Pea Dal @ Phoebe Bites (easily makes a meal with some veg and bread)

Superfood Spotlight: Split Peas
Dried split peas, like other legumes, are rich in soluble fiber. This forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract that binds cholesterol-containing bile and carries it out of the body.

Split peas also contain an isoflavone called daidzein, which acts like weak estrogen in the body. The consumption of daidzein has been linked to a reduced risk of certain health conditions, including breast and prostate cancer. Split peas are particularly rich in potassium, a mineral that can help lower blood pressure and control fluid retention, and may help limit the growth of potentially damaging plaques in the blood vessels.

Swedish Yellow Split Pea Soup

Yellow pea soup is traditionally served every Thursday night in Sweden. If you’ve ever wondered why bags of yellow split peas are sold at IKEA, that’s why!

Makes 6 servings

Food processor or blender

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
1-1/2 cups chopped carrots
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1-1/3 cups dried yellow split peas, rinsed
6 cups reduced-sodium ready-to-use vegetable or chicken broth
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley or dill, divided

1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 6 to 8 minutes or until vegetables are softened.
2. Stir in peas and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 35 to 40 minutes or until peas are very tender.
3. Transfer 1 cup of the soup solids to food processor. Add water and purée until smooth. Return purée to pan and stir in half the parsley or dill. Simmer, stirring often, for 5 minutes to blend the flavors, thinning soup with water if too thick. Serve sprinkled with the remaining parsleyy or dill.

* An equal amount of dried yellow lentils or green split peas may be used in place of the yellow split peas.

Storage Tip
* Store the cooled soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or in the microwave using the Defrost function. Warm soup in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.

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