Warming Winter Recipe: Monica's Magical Vegan Split Pea Soup with Miso
Monica’s Magical Vegan Split Pea Soup with Miso
This is another version of the Warming Vegan Split Pea Miso Soup with Kale I posted about recently.
I like to cook dishes from memory, and I enjoy improvising with whatever ingredients I have on hand. Below is my Monica-memory-version of how to cook this soup.
I like to keep it simple and not worry about measuring much. If that kind of thing makes you crazy, try the actual recipe with ingredient amounts before delving into the impromptu version below.
-Split peas (green or yellow, note that if you use both, your soup will turn brown and not be as pretty!) -Coconut oil* OR Olive oil -A few postage-stamp-sized pieces of kombu seaweed** (smaller helps it to cook faster) -Onion (a fairly big one, diced fine) -Carrots (several, note that more carrots will help to sweeten up this soup) -Celery (a few stalks) -Sea salt (several generous pinches) -Cumin (a few tiny pinches, cumin is a nice warming spice) -Kale (several stalks) -Miso*** to taste (about ½ teaspoon per bowl, maybe more)
Heat oil in a large soup pot and saute onion, then add and saute the carrots and celery and salt (the salt is essential for the flavors to meld, don’t get too crazy with it as you will be adding miso later, which is also salty) and a tiny bit of cumin. You’re just starting the cooking process here; no need to cook the veggies completely; don’t let the veggies brown or burn too much, or your beautiful soup will taste burnt!
Rinse the split peas and combine in the same pot, over the vegetables, then add lots of water to completely submerge the peas and then some. (I like to cover the veggies/peas with water then add about 25-40% more water as the peas will soak up a lot of water while cooking.) Add the kombu.
While the soup is cooking, boil and skim off any foam that rises to the top with a slotted spoon. After the peas boil, lower the heat and simmer with the lid ajar for 1 to 1.25 hours. Add water as needed if it seems too thick for your preference. Stir occasionally while the soup is simmering so that the peas do not stick to the bottom. Keep cooking till the peas are tender and have split open into a creamy texture.
When the peas seem almost done, tear the kale off of the stock and toss into the soup to boil for a few minutes until done. Of, if you’re in the mood to eat the stalk, roll the kale leaves together and cut into thin ribbons and toss into the soup to cook.
When the split peas and kale are done cooking, add the miso.
I like to add the miso directly to my bowl and not to the entire pot of soup.****
The easiest way to add the miso to your bowl is to ladle a bit of hot soup into a bowl then mix in the miso with a fork. Now add the rest of your serving of soup into the bowl and stir. If you try to stick a clump of miso into a huge bowl (or pot) of soup, it’s hard to mix the miso in properly and you will end up with not a lot of flavor until you get a big clump of miso in your mouth at some random interval!
Serve with bread or rice on the side and enjoy! This soup base will stay for 4-5 days safely in your fridge, or you can freeze it as needed. The fun part of making soup is that you can adjust the veggies however you want according to what’s in your fridge. The smaller you cut your veggies, the more surface area will be exposed and the sweeter the soup will be overall. My friend Jacqueline taught me that excellent cooking tip! Thank you Jacqueline!!
*I prefer coconut oil for cooking as it has a higher “smoke point” than olive oil and thus will not become rancid or break down as easily as olive oil does when heated. Please avoid canola and vegetable oil as these oils are highly processed and do not contain the beneficial fats of coconut oil or olive oil. Canola oil and vegetable oil are actually bleached (!!!!) to produce their pale yellow color and many solvents and chemicals are used to process and “clean” these oils.
**Seaweed is great. It benefits the immune system and the thyroid gland. If it’s too much (or too intimidating) to get your hands on some seaweed, just leave this out! It will be totally fine.
***If you aren’t too sure about miso, note that a lighter miso (in color) will have a less robust and less salty flavor. If this is your first go-round with miso, consider trying a "mellow" white miso. Red miso is fairly common and is in-between in terms of flavor and saltiness. Barley miso is one of the darkest miso blends and will have a stronger flavor. If your grocery store doesn’t carry miso,Mariposa Food Co-op, just 3 blocks from my West Philly office, has several varieties of miso in the refrigerator case, and they also stock seaweed.
****When working with miso, you do NOT want to overheat the miso or you will break/kill the enzymes that are helpful for your immune system. If you add the miso directly to your bowl each time you serve it, you can then keep the soup in the fridge and reheat the pot without worrying about killing the miso. Also, if you add the miso directly to your bowl, you can adjust for your own level of comfort with miso's salty flavor.
What do you think? Did you cook this soup yet? What would you do differently? Leave us a comment on facebook so that we can all learn from each other.