I was simply in the mood…

We’ve had such wonderfully warm weather here in Santa Barbara the last couple of weeks, it’s a mystery why I was craving soup the other night, but I was, so I made one of my absolute favorites!  Vegan Split Pea Soup with Roasted Fennel.  The fennel adds an amazing flavor to this wonderful soup, which is the perfect comfort food.  It doesn’t require too much fuss or cooking time, and it’s filling, healthy and packed with protein and fiber, and low in calories and fat! You can’t beat that right?

Organic Vegan Split Pea Soup w/ Roasted Fennel

Ingredients:
2 cups green split peas (I often use a combination of green and yellow peas)
6 to 7 cups vegetable stock (you can use half water if you prefer)
1 medium-size yellow onion, diced
2 creamy yellow potatoes (such as Yukon gold or fingerlings), diced
2 or 3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 bulb fresh fennel, roasted in the oven and diced (1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar for roasting)
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Sea Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke, optional (this takes the place of ham, and adds that smoky flavor to the soup wonderfully!)

*OPTIONAL:  Sour dough croutons for garnish

LET’S GET STARTED!

Preheat the oven to 400.

Take one fennel bulb and cut the stalks off, cut the bulb in half and lengthwise.  Cut in 1-inch thick pieces and toss in a tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar.  Rub just enough olive oil over the fennel to coat. Sprinkle on some balsamic vinegar, also to coat. Line a baking dish with aluminum foil, and lay out the pieces of fennel and roast for 30-40 minutes, or until the fennel is cooked through and beginning to caramelize.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Thoroughly rinse the peas. Set aside.  In a hot skillet wilt the onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the remaining vegetables and sauté until soft.  Place all of the ingredients in a soup pot (including the roasted fennel), and bring to a simmer. Cover loosely and cook until peas are tender.  This usually takes about an hour and a half.  Check occasionally to make sure water has not completely evaporated. Heat should be medium low.

Once everything is cooked, puree the soup. Add additional salt and pepper, if necessary.  The soup should be thick and creamy.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS:

Serve the soup hot with sour dough croutons atop.  Add a wonderful green salad and a glass of white wine, and you’re golden!

*NOTE: You don’t have to roast the fennel.  If you want to save 30 minutes, then take the bulb and dice it up, adding it to the vegetables that will be sautéed.  You’ll simply treat it like the other vegetables.

Buno Appetito!

Brittany resides in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, and may be contacted for events, private parties, weddings, cooking classes, and craft and catering services via her website: 

TASTE…and See

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