Comforting split pea soup with pesto and mixed leaves
January is notorious for being one of the most down in the dumps months. Christmas is over, it’s cold, the days still quite short and it all just seems to drag. So I feel it important to make sure you have quick sources of comfort at hand for those moments when you just keep asking yourself… when is it going to be summer. For me one of the greatest comforts during the harsh winter months is a bowl of hot comforting soup. Why it’s great:
1: Soup has that comfort factor that other meals often don’t have
2. Soup has the potential to be very quick – chuck a load of ingredients in a pan, cook, done
3. Washing up is limited – you just use one pot
4. It’s easy to make soup healthy – just use tasty whole foods like vegetables and pulses with a few herbs and spices
5. It’s easy to make big quantities in batch then save them in the fridge or freezer for later
This recipe is super (pardon the pun) thick, filling and delicious. It was created on a whim – sometimes the best type of cooking. There was not much in the fridge so I kind of just worked with what I had – little did I know it would result the above creation. What makes this recipe slightly different to the majority of winter soup recipes I experiment with is that it strikes a beautiful balance between refreshing and cosy. This I put down to the addition of spring onion, lemon and the bold drizzle of pesto on top. Now, pesto on top of soup might sound a bit strange, but trust me when I say it’s a great way of adding quick flavour. A lot of people might use parmesan, but being vegan, this is not an option so new ways to add flavour must be found. Luckily with a bit of research and /or creativity this isn’t too hard. So I kind of just put the pesto on top and hey pesto it work (pardon the pun again). If doing this be sure to find a vegan pesto as most have parmesan in. I use the Sacla brand who do a great vegan version that tastes just like any other pesto. So without any more rambling here’s my cosy, yet refreshing split pea soup with pesto and mixed leaves on top…
Ingredients (Serves 4):
1 large potato
3 sticks celery
4 cloves garlic
100g spring onions
300g yellow split peas
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
15g fresh parsley (finely chopped) plus extra for serving
1 cup almond milk
2 vegetable stock cubes
Salt and pepper
Mixed leaf salad / rocket (to serve)
2 tbsp vegan pesto (to serve)
1. Start by soaking the split peas according to the packet instructions. Peel the carrots then roughly chop along with the celery, spring onions and potatoes. Finely chop the garlic.
2. Add all the chopped ingredients to a large non-stick sauce pan and cook on a high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently and adding small splashes of water to make sure things don’t stick.
3. Next add the split peas, almond milk, parsley, vegetable stock cubes and 2 litres of boiling water.
4. Bring to the boil for 10 minutes, then turn down to a simmer and cook for a further hour.
5. Once the soup is cooked and the split peas are soft, add the juice of the lemon, plus salt and pepper to taste.
6. Water down the pesto by mixing it with 5 tbsp of water, then serve the soup in bowls with a handful of fresh salad leaves and a drizzle of the pesto mix.