With a definite chill in the air and winter fast approaching, 5-2 fast day Mondays have quickly become soup days. Filling and low in calories, with the added bonus if I’m organised, of no cooking. A godsend on fast days when all I have to do is simply pull a container of soup from the freezer, defrost and reheat.
That’s why when I make soup I fill my pot to the brim and make vast quantities. Seemingly enough to feed a proverbial army but in truth usually only enough to fill the hole in collective stomachs of my hungry family with a few stolen tubs successfully squirreled away in the freezer. Soup day for the non fasters in my family is also synonymous with loaves of fresh artisan bread and an all important finale – dessert. Usually something as simple as an ice cream sundae they can construct and consume away from the table in the confines of the kitchen. Out of sight, out of mind.
I love making soup with lentils and legumes. They’re substantial and satiating, and very, very good for you. This Yellow Split Pea and Vegetable version is deliciously creamy without the addition of any dairy products at all. I’ve topped it with a shower of crispy oven baked kale for crunch and added interest. Who said fast days had to be boring?
Yellow Split Pea and Vegetable Soup With Crispy Shredded Kale
Makes about 10 cups (156 calories a cup plus 20 calories per 1/4 cup crispy kale )
300g (1 1/2 cups) dried yellow split peas (1008 calories)
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1 tablespoon olive oil (120 calories)
1 large onion, finely sliced (30 calories)
1 leek, finely sliced (27 calories)
4 celery sticks, diced (34 calories)
2 large carrots, diced (50 calories)
2 large parsnips, diced (150 calories)
2 cloves garlic, crushed (8 calories)
bouquet garni of 2 bay leaves, 2 sprigs thyme and 2 sprigs rosemary (6 calories)
6 cups good chicken or vegetable stock (120 calories)
up to an extra cup water, to thin consistency when pureeing, if necessary
1 lemon (12 calories)
2 1/2 cups crispy shredded kale, to serve (recipe below) (196 calories)
SOAK dried split peas in a large bowl of warm water and a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda (to soften) for half an hour. Strain and set aside.
PLACE oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and leeks. Fry, stirring occasionally until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
ADD carrots, celery, parsnips and garlic. Sauté lightly until vegetables just begin to soften.
ADD strained split peas and bouquet garni with 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock.
BRING to the boil, turn heat to lowest setting, cover and allow to simmer very gently for 2 to 3 hours.
TURN off heat. Remove the bouquet garni. Purée the soup in the stockpot with a stick blender to the desired consistency, add a little water to thin the soup if it is too thick.
TO FINISH, stir through finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of one lemon. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper
LADLE soup into preheated bowls or mugs to serve. Garnish with crispy kale.
Crispy Shredded Kale
Makes about 2 1/2 cups (78 calories per cup)
4 cups fresh Kale, shredded (136 calories)
1/2 tablespoon olive oil (60 calories)
sea salt, for sprinkling
PREHEAT oven to 160 C. Line an oven tray with baking paper.
SHRED the kale by stripping the leaves from their stems. Stack the leaves on top of one another, roll them up and then cut the roll into thin ribbons.
PLACE shredded leaves in an even layer on the lined oven tray. Toss with a little olive oil and sea salt.
BAKE until crisp, about 15 minutes turning the leaves halfway through.
SERVE or store in an airtight container until required.