Thursday, March 14, 2013

Vegan Split Pea Soup with Smoky Tempeh

It's official: I am sick of winter. Things that seemed charming back in December have lost their glow. Things like boots. And soup. My body still wants soup while my mind is springing forward to rhubarb, strawberries, arugula.

But we're not there yet, so here is one last soup - tasty and smoky consolation for the still-snowy ground and still-chilly air.

Split Pea Soup with Smoky Tempeh

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 medium onions, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
6 cups water
1 lb split peas (aprox 1 1/4 cups), sorted, rinsed, and drained
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1 package smoky tempeh strips
Handful parsley, minced
Smoked paprika, optional

Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add onions (with a small pinch of salt) and cook, stirring, for five minutes.

Add carrots and cook five more minutes.

Add water, split peas, bay leaf, and salt. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium-low. Partially cover, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally (check to make sure peas are not sticking to the bottom of the pot), until peas are very tender.  Add more water if necessary.

While soup is cooking, prepare smoky tempeh topping:
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet and cook tempeh strips, flipping occasionally, until they are very brown and crispy - add a little more oil if you need to. Drain on paper towels and cut into 1-inch pieces.

To finish:
Remove bay leaf, taste soup, and add more salt if necessary. You can blend all or part of the soup for creamier texture.

Top with a few pieces of tempeh and some parsley (and optional paprika).