Warm Split Pea Soup

split-pea-soupEach year, the second week of November is designated as National Split Pea Soup Week – and for good reason!  Split pea soup is a savory and wholesome dish that is perfect for the changing of seasons.

 

There are many varieties of split pea soup but the most common ingredients are split peas, broth, onions and a dash of milk for added creamy texture. You can add pureed carrots and other vegetables for more flavor and nutrients.  Together, these healthy ingredients provide you with a nutrient-dense meal.

 

Health Benefits

 

Dietary Fiber

Split peas are loaded with soluble fiber.  One cup contains 5 grams of fiber.   Benefits include:

  • Adds bulk to your stool to improve your bowel movements.
  • Makes meals more satiating.
  • Helps to reduce serum cholesterol levels by pulling cholesterol-bound bile out of your body and into the stool.
  • Promotes blood sugar control and reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes.

 

Protein

Split peas, like many other legumes, are a good source of vegetarian protein.  If you are a vegetarian or vegan, this can fit perfectly into your meal pattern!  A single cup contains 16 grams.

 

Vitamins and Minerals

Split peas are a good source of potassium, magnesium, vitamin K and iron.

  • Potassium helps to regulate your blood pressure.
  • Magnesium is essential for proper muscle function and blood pressure control.
  • Vitamin K is important for blood clot formation.
  • Iron promotes healthy red blood cells.

 

Enjoying Split Pea Soup

 

You can make your own split pea soup or you can buy it in a can.  If you purchase canned split pea soup, be wary of the sodium content.  Canned soups are loaded with salt that can contribute to high blood pressure.

 

Here are a few tips to help you make your own homemade soup:

  1. Soaking peas overnight can shorten the cooking time, but it isn’t necessary. Split peas cook relatively quickly.  Unsoaked peas take 1-2 hours of simmering and soaked peas take 40 minutes.
  1. Pureeing the peas once they are softened will create a super silky soup. This extra step isn’t necessary, only if you want a silky texture.
  1. Most recipes include onion, celery, carrots and potatoes, all of which mix great with split peas!
  1. Herbs like bay leaves, thyme, mint, rosemary and parsley can all be added to your soup to enhance the flavor.

 

You can be creative when adding in vegetables.  So don’t be afraid to add in your favorites and switch up the vegetables added each time you make it.  Split pea soup can be eaten for lunch and dinner, or even as an appetizer.   You can make a large batch early in the week and I bet it will be all gone by the end of the week!

 

Your Turn to Take Action:  Try to make split pea soup for dinner one day this week.  Let me know how you liked it in the comments below.

 

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