Split Pea Soup (is Really Good)

Something about the name Split Pea Soup doesn’t make it sound very appetizing.  I’ll admit it.  I pre-judged this soup by its name.  Before this week, I’d never even tried Split Pea Soup because I really didn’t think it would be good.  How can I teach my daughter to not judge people based on their appearance, what she may have heard, or their name when this is what I do with soup?  Shame on me, because Split Pea Soup is really quite good.  Who would have thought?  Lesson learned, my friends, lesson learned.

This soup is hearty, filling, and extremely nutritious.  There is no better way to get Tim to eat a ton of vegetables and nutritious grains, beans, or legumes all in one sitting.  And guess who else liked this soup?  You guessed it-Meghan did!  It wasn’t an easy sell.  Her first course for lunch was 1/2 an avocado, which she ate no problem, like usual.  Then I gave her her soup (which had been chilling in the freezer–do not give this child food that is too hot or all is lost!) She looked at it and said, “Blueberries”.  She wanted to skip the main course and head straight for dessert.  She’s a lot like her dad.  What do I do in these situations?  Remain calm and matter-of-fact.  I knew it wouldn’t be the end of the world if she didn’t eat the soup, but I wanted her to try it.  So I said, “Okay, you can have some blueberries, I’ll get them in a minute.  Here, try the soup first” and I picked up her spoon and fed it to her.  Sometimes this works, and sometimes this doesn’t work.  This day, it worked.  She was veeeeeery hesitant; I think mostly because she was afraid of the soup being hot, but also it isn’t really a pretty soup.  But she looked at me with a surprised face and allowed me to give her more bites.  Then I handed her the spoon and told her to keep eating her soup while I got the blueberries.  I took my sweet time getting her some (frozen) blueberries and guess what?  She ate almost all of the soup!  Woo Hoo!

Before I get to the recipe, let me tell you a little bit about the mighty split pea.  I will neglect this little guy no longer.  He will somehow make his way into my life more because he really does pack a big nutritional punch.  For starters, split peas are a good source of protein.  This is excellent since I didn’t include ham in my split pea soup since I do not eat pigs.  Ever.  The split pea is also high in fiber, has four important minerals, two B-vitamins, and phytonutrients.  So if you are anything like me and thought you’d judge Split Pea Soup by its ho-hum name, it’s time you put aside your prejudices and give it a try.

Split Pea Soup

Adapted from Simply Natural Baby Food*

1 cup dried split green peas

1/2 cup pearled barley

1 bay leaf

8 cups chicken stock

1/2 teaspoon kelp

1 onion, minced

1 large sweet potato, diced

1 large handful fresh spinach, chopped

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

2 heaping teaspoons mellow white miso

Place split peas, barley, bay leaf, and chicken stock in a large pot.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  Add remaining ingredients, except miso.  Simmer for another 20-30 minutes, until vegetables are soft.  Remove from heat.  Stir in miso.

Yield:  8 servings

*This soup was in the “older baby section” of this cookbook, however, if you are making this for a baby, I would recommend using water rather than stock to cut down the sodium.  Babies kidneys are not able to process large amounts of salt.  The original recipe did call for water rather than stock, but I thought the stock would make the soup more flavorful and we don’t have a “baby” in the house anymore.

Here is Meghan enjoying her lunch.  I told her to “look up” because I could see her face, so she did. :-)



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