Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Coconut Split Pea Soup

I'm not going to sit here and pretend that I'm not counting down the days until it feels like spring. I'm longing for back-to-back days of sunshine and blue skies. After all, I've got some pretty cute vintage sun dresses that I'm dying to wear over my growing baby bump, so warmer weather needs to come soon! I'm also longing for fresh spring produce. Lots of young greens, peas, asparagus, and...strawberries. All of it. I really can't wait. And with each day that passes, I know it's getting closer.
Since the beginning of my pregnancy, I've made a conscious effort to eat lots of quality sources of protein and healthy fat, as these are both critical for a healthy developing baby. I came across this soup recipe full of protein-rich split peas and creamy coconut milk and I thought it sounded like a perfect fit for what I needed at the time. Let me just say, this soup did not disappoint. The bright green color alone is incredible; a color that's a perfect reminder of the new growth and life of spring.

Coconut Split Pea Soup (adapted from this recipe on 101 Cookbooks)

2 tablespoons ghee or extra-virgin coconut oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

5 cups vegetable broth or water
1 1/2 cups green split peas, picked over and rinsed
1 tsp Indian curry powder

1 can (15oz) organic full fat coconut milk) sea salt
, to taste
cilantro, for garnish

For the Curry-Spiced Ghee Garnish:
3 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil
1 tablespoon curry powder

1. Combine the 2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and one teaspoon curry powder in a large soup pot over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the onions soften, a couple minutes. Add the vegetable broth and split peas and simmer, covered, until the peas are tender. This usually takes 20 to 30 minutes, but can take as long as 50 minutes.

2. In the meantime, warm the 3 tablespoons ghee in a small saucepan over medium heat. When it starts to smell fragrant, stir in the curry powder and sauté until the spices are fragrant, less than a minute.

When the split peas are finished cooking, remove from the heat, stir in the coconut milk and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and puree with an immersion blender. You can leave the soup a bit chunky if you like, or puree until it is perfectly smooth. If it's too thick, add some more water.

3. Stir in half of the spiced ghee, taste, and add more salt, if needed, typically a couple of teaspoons if you used water instead of a salted broth. Serve drizzled with the remaining spiced ghee and sprinkled with cilantro.
Serves 4 to 6

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