Back in the 80s, kids were raised on soups in any former Soviet Union republic. And that’s how I grew up although I hated green split pea soup. Soups are cheap, filling and easy. They are also easy to make healthy and leftovers for 3 days are a bonus. We ate soup every day. Every single day at 2PM. There was no such thing as lunch at noon.
Traditionally green split pea soup is made with ham which is full of nitrates. And I might break the news for you but “healthier” alternative known as turkey bacon is full of cr@p as well. I used to buy it until I read the ingredients list one day: turkey, mechanically separated turkey, turkey skin, water, salt, sugar, potato starch, sodium phosphate, natural & artificial flavour, sodium ascorbate, smoke flavour, sodium nitrite, smoke. Um, hello?! Which ingredient would you like to add to your bowl first?! Some sodium nitrite = the chemical formula NaNO2? Anyone?
As I placed split peas and ground turkey on the counter, I had an “aha” moment – green split pea soup with browned turkey bits and liquid smoke for that smoky ham flavour => healthy green split pea soup.
And this soup delivered. It turned out delicious, hearty, full of protein and complex carbs and that magnificent smoky flavour. And the house smelled amazing, the kids were asking for seconds. Not to mention Alex, who is still dreaming about abs after the triple seconds.
Split green peas are wonderful in terms of nutritional values and price. The only downside is you have to soak them before cooking. But no worries, I have included instructions in case you forgot to soak them. Nowadays, split peas are much softer than when I was a kid, thus require less cooking. Whether to use yellow or green ones is a matter of personal taste. I prefer green and I always buy them organic.
After soaking the peas drain the water. Then fill up with more cold water, rinse and drain again. Do it a few times. When cooked, split peas break down producing a hearty soup. It will become thicker the next day, which I love, but you could thin it out with a small amount of water. I always brown onions for soup as sautéing brings out so much flavour. Same with turkey.
Browned bits of meat combined with liquid smoke taste just like ham or bacon. But so much better and healthier for you. If you are intimidated by a liquid smoke, don’t be. I was too until I saw it at my local grocery store and the ingredients list is quite clean. Just make sure there is no caramel colour and artificial flavours. It is used to add a smoky flavour to dishes like this split peas soup and BBQ Pulled Pork.
Green Split Pea Soup
- 1 + 1/2 cup green/yellow split peas
- 6 cups water + more for soaking
- 1 lb ground turkey, extra lean
- 1 large onion, minced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- 2 bay leaves
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Cooking spray (I use Misto)
- Place split peas in a medium pot and add twice amount of cold water. Soak overnight or for at least 4 hours. Drain the water and rinse/drain a few times with cold water.*
- Add 6 cups of water and bay leaves to the pot with split peas and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 45 minutes.
- While split peas are cooking, on medium heat preheat large frying pan and spray with cooking spray. Add onions and saute until translucent, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
- Return frying pan to medium-high heat and add ground turkey. Cook the meat until golden brown, about 15 minutes, breaking into bite-size pieces with spatula and stirring occasionally. Transfer to a pot with split peas along with previously cooked onion, carrot, liquid smoke, salt and black pepper. Cover and cook for another 20 minutes or until carrots are soft. Discard the bay leaves. Serve hot with sprouted bread toast.
*Alternatively, if you forgot/don't have time to soak the split peas, place the peas into a pot with 7 cups of water, bring to a boil, cover and cook for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand covered for an hour. Then proceed to step 2 but do not add another 6 cups of water.
Servings Per Recipe: 6
Amount Per Serving = 1+1/3 cup:
Total Fat: 3.9 g
Cholesterol: 53.3 mg
Sodium: 367.4 mg
Total Carbs: 33.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 13.2 g
Protein: 27.5 g
WW Points+: 6