I know there isn’t much out there healthier than split peas. What else has 16 grams of fiber and 16 grams of protein per serving as well as a gorgeous glycemic load of 13? The only problem is that I am not terribly fond of the old fashioned, thick, dull green soup that tends to show up in restaurants and grandma’s kitchen. There’s a reason for the saying ‘as thick as pea soup’ when discussing heavy fog. I add them to other soups and stews in bits but I seldom try to make the good ol’e pea soup. I realize that this may be pure sacrilege to those pea soup lovers.
I used to make a soup for my kids called Green Soup which consisted of ham hocks, potatoes and as many green vegetables as I could manage from spinach to brocolli, peas, green beans and so on. I decided to see if I could somehow combine the tastiness of Green Soup and the benefits of split peas. The following recipe is the result. It makes about 4 pint jars which for me is great for lunches during the week.
Green Pea Soup
- 1/2 Cup barley
- 1/2 Cup split peas
- 1/2 Cup diced ham or bacon
- 1-2 tsp olive oil
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 Cups chicken stock
- 1 cup chopped, frozen spinach
- 1 Cup green beans, cut bite size (or frozen)
You’ll notice a few tablespoons of yellow split peas mixed in with my green. I had that little bit left in a bag that just needed to be used.
Soak barley while preparing everything else. I do this with all grains to make sure there aren’t any little buggies hitching a ride. If there are, they will immediately float and you can then dispose of the grain without wasting a whole pot of soup.
Saute the ham or bacon, carrot, celery, onions and garlic until softened. Add barley and peas and bay leaf and saute 2 or 3 more minutes. Add the stock, paprika and 1 cup of water to the pot. Simmer about 45 minutes or until the barley and peas are tender. You can also cook this in your crockpot but it will take longer. Add the chopped spinach, green beans and any other green vegetables you happen to have on hand (brussel sprouts, broccoli, etc.) and season to taste with salt and pepper.
This is particularly lovely with a piece of jalapeno and cheese cornbread.