Vegan Split Pea Soup

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Winter in Chicago has me on a comfort food kick! I’ve been craving things like soup, pasta, and roasted vegetables lately. Split pea soup has always been one of my favorite things. Vegetarian or vegan split pea soup is hard to find unless it’s homemade. The traditional version uses ham for flavor but I think the vegan version is fantastic! Split pea soup may not have the best color but it’s so tasty and filling. I made a big batch of it this weekend and it’s been keeping me happy all week! Split peas are the same as regular sweet peas. They are the dried and split version and are packed with protein and fiber. They’re low in calories and, in my opinion, are less gas producing than other beans such as kidney beans. You don’t need to soak them ahead of time but make sure to wash them and sort out any debris. The peas typically will need about 45 minutes to 1 hour to cook all the way through. They will be uniform in color and not light in the center once they are done.

Split green peas

I like my split pea soup to be smooth instead of chunky so I used an immersion blender to finish it. You can skip this step if you prefer it to be chunky. Split pea soup has a unique, savory, herb-y flavor that is so delicious and satisfying. The garlic thyme croutons and pea tendrils add texture, crunch, and freshness. You can find the recipe for the garlic and thyme croutons in a separate blog post (click here). This is an inexpensive meal or side dish if you are on a budget. You can also make your own vegetable broth if you have time. Homemade vegetable broth is so much better tasting vs. the store bought version. I simply brought one onion, a potato, one carrot, one stalk of celery, and a bay leaf to boil in about 6 quarts of water and let it simmer for about 1.5 hours. I then strained out the vegetables and bay leaf and stored the extra broth in the fridge. If you buy broth from the store, I recommend a brand called Saffron Road. Their vegetable broth is actually really tasty! I’ll be making split pea soup again this winter because it’s so easy and good! If you decide to cozy up with this recipe make sure to take a picture and tag @thefriendlyepicurean on Instagram and Facebook or pin this recipe on Pinterest!

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Split Pea Soup

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb split green peas (about 2 1/4 cups)
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced (about 2 tbs)
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs chopped, fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp salt plus more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 package of fresh pea tendrils (optional garnish)
  • garlic and thyme croutons (optional garnish)

Directions

Heat olive oil on medium heat in a large Dutch oven or sauce pan. Add onions and cook until translucent and soft, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add carrot and celery and cook for about 5-6 more minutes. Add thyme and cook for about 1-2 minutes. Next, add green peas and saute for about 1-2 minutes. Add broth, bay leaf, salt, and black pepper and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Peas will be uniform in color when done. Use an immersion blender to puree soup to desired smoothness or carefully transfer to a blender in batches to puree (optional step). Add more salt and pepper to taste. Top with fresh pea tendrils and garlic and thyme croutons before serving. May store in the fridge for up to 5 days.


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Garlic and Thyme Croutons

I could eat croutons all day as a snack! They are so flavorful, crunchy, and delicious. I put them on everything – including salad, soup, and even on avocado toast! Homemade croutons are SO easy to make. They are also way tastier than store bought ones. There are so many variations to this recipe. You can use your favorite herb instead of thyme. Rosemary would work just as well! I like these croutons a lot with my vegan split pea soup recipe. They are amazing on almost everything, especially salad! Make sure you use bread that has been sitting around for at least 2 to 3 days. I used an Italian bread I found at Trader Joe’s but any type of bread would work with this recipe. This is a delicious way to make use of extra bread and herbs. I will be making lots of variations of croutons this winter to go with my soups or just to snack on!

Garlic and thyme croutons with vegan split pea soup.

Garlic and Thyme Croutons

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 6 slices of 3 day old bread, cut into 1 inch cubes (about 6 cups)
  • 2 tbs chopped, fresh thyme
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tbs)
  • 1/4 tsp salt plus more to taste
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • olive oil spray

Directions

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a baking sheet with olive oil spray and set aside. Cut bread into 1 inch cubes and place in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together olive oil, garlic, and salt in a small bowl. Toss bread cubes with olive oil mixture, making sure bread is coated evenly (add more salt to taste if desired). Spread bread cubes in a single layer on baking sheet and bake for about 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Allow croutons to cool completely before storing. Make sure to store croutons in an airtight container or Ziplock bag. May store in the pantry for up to 4 days.

Curried Pumpkin Soup

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It’s hard to believe the season for all things pumpkin is already here. This year has really gone by quickly. Pumpkin is everywhere: lattes, brownies, smoothies, you name it. Most of the pumpkin spiced or pumpkin flavored recipes I’ve been seeing are sweet. I’ve been craving pumpkin (because how can you not!) but I wanted a savory pumpkin dish. Don’t get me wrong – I’ll still indulge in my vegan pumpkin cheesecake recipe and pumpkin oat bars! I went to Amsterdam last month and had this delicious curried coconut pumpkin soup at the most unlikely place – the Rijks museum cafe. I found out later that this beautiful cafe at the is actually well known for its unique dishes. It has a big open atrium overlooking the main floor of the museum and the line to get in is pretty long. I knew the second I tasted the soup that I would have to try to recreate it at home… so here it is. I hope you love it as much as I do! One of the best things about this recipe is that it’s ready in 30 minutes! There’s very little food prep which makes this a great weeknight meal. There are layers of flavor and also rich creaminess to this soup because of the numerous curry spices and full fat coconut milk. The pumpkin flavor still stands out since the curry is not too overpowering. The turmeric adds to the beautiful color and is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. It’s filling and so tasty that you’ll want to have more than just one bowl! It’s heavenly when paired with crusty bread. The pumpkin seeds as a garnish add a nice crunch. I used an immersion blender to make this soup smoother but it’s optional. Make sure to take a picture and tag @thefriendlyepicurean on Facebook and Instagram or share this recipe on your Pinterest board if you make it.

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Curried Pumpkin Soup

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 tbs vegan butter (such as Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1.5 (15oz) cans pumpkin puree (about 2.5 cups)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth (or water)
  • 2 tbs pumpkin seeds (optional garnish)
  • 2 tbs chopped parsley (optional garnish)

Directions

Heat butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Next, add garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add cumin, coriander, turmeric, allspice, salt, and black pepper and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add coconut milk and pumpkin puree and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring to combine. Add vegetable broth and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Soup should thicken. Puree soup with a hand held immersion blender or in a blender for smoother texture. Taste soup and add more salt and black pepper if desired. Garnish with pumpkin seeds and parsley and serve while hot. May store in the fridge for up to 4 days. Makes about 6 cups.

Nutrition Information:

  • Approximate calories per 1 cup: 107 cal

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Curried Cauliflower Soup (vegan, gluten free)

It may be obvious that I am a big fan of soup… This is especially true during the long, cold month of January. January in Chicago typically includes subzero temperatures, bone chilling wind, and the occasional snowstorm. I’ve lived in Chicago for 16 years so all of these unexpected twists and turns in the weather are something I have grown very accustomed to. Some warm gear and fast walking will keep you from being stuck at home. I refuse to let the weather keep me from enjoying playoff games, award shows, and most importantly, restaurant week! One good thing about winter is coming home to a nice, big bowl of homemade soup. Soup can get boring so I wanted to make this one spicy. The coconut, cumin, and coriander go really well together and remind me of the flavors of South Asia. I topped mine with basil but cilantro or Thai basil would also be great with this dish. The cauliflower makes it filling and adds fiber. I used light coconut milk to make it creamy without adding too much extra fat and calories. The spices in this recipe will warm and energize you on a cold day. The turmeric adds a wonderful golden color and has a calming effect. This soup is easy on the stomach, low calorie, vegan, and gluten free. It’s also really easy to make and requires only one pot. It’s one of my favorites and I will definitely be making it all winter long! Let me know if you make it by taking a picture and tagging @thefriendlyepicurean on social media.

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Curried Cauliflower Soup (vegan, gluten free)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups cauliflower florets (1 small head of cauliflower)
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 2 tbs lemon juice (juice of 1/2 a lemon)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh basil (optional garnish – may substitute cilantro or Thai basil)

Directions

Heat 1 tbs coconut oil on medium heat in a medium to large saucepan or Dutch oven. Cook onions, turmeric, cumin, coriander, fennel seeds, and cayenne pepper on medium heat for about 6-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until garlic is fragrant. Add cauliflower and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add vegetable broth, coconut milk, salt, and pepper and simmer on low to medium heat for about 15-17 minutes or until cauliflower is soft and falls apart easily. Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Carefully transfer entire mixture to a high powered blender such as Vitamix and puree until smooth. Or puree in saucepan with an immersion blender until smooth. May store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. Makes 4 cups.

Nutrition Information:

  • Approximate Calories per cup: 115 cal

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White Bean Soup with Quinoa, Swiss Chard, and Radishes

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This simple and delicious soup is made with mostly whole food ingredients. It’s colorful, warming, and refreshing with the flavors of thyme, ginger, and lemon. It’s perfect for a healthy, easy weeknight dinner. You can serve it with crusty bread or toast but it’s great on its own too. This recipe is versatile so you can easily modify it depending on what you have in your fridge. It would also be great with parsnips, kale, or even green lentils instead of Cannellini beans (white beans). The beans and quinoa are a great source of protein and fiber while the nutritional yeast is a great source of vitamin B12 (especially for those who are strictly plant based). This is a great dish to make after Thanksgiving because it’s light yet filling. I could have this soup every night of the week! Let me know how it turns out by tagging @thefriendlyepicurean on social media!

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White Bean Soup with Quinoa, Swiss Chard, and Radishes

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (a little less than 1/2 cup uncooked)
  • 1, 15 oz can of Cannellini beans (white beans)
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 4 small red radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups roughly chopped Swiss chard (center veins removed)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 2-3 tbs lemon juice (juice of 1/2 lemon)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (zest of 1/2 lemon)
  • 1/4 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs nutritional yeast (optional)

Directions

Cook 1/2 cup quinoa in 1 cup water until water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Set quinoa aside. Drain and rinse Cannelini beans and set aside. Heat oil in a medium/large stockpot or dutch oven on medium heat. Cook onions until translucent – about 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add thyme, ginger, salt, and pepper and cook for an additional minute. Add carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Add broth and water and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add radishes, beans, and quinoa and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Add lemon juice and lemon zest. Next add Swiss chard and nutritional yeast and simmer for 1 minute until chard is just wilted. Remove from heat and serve.

Nutritional Information:

  • Approximate Calories for 1/6 soup: 150.3 cal

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Butternut Squash Soup with Sage

The season for soup is finally here! There’s nothing better than homemade soup. Store bought soup just isn’t the same. Plus, it’s often high in sodium and preservatives. This recipe has 10 simple ingredients and can be puréed either with an immersion blender or using a high powered blender like Vitamix. You’ll get a smoother texture using a high a powered blender. I’ve always thought that this soup is better on day 2 or 3. It’s also quite delicious with crusty bread or a big green salad – or both! The fragrance of the sage and nutmeg is enticing and the deep, golden color comes from the carrot.  The classic and simple combination of sage and butternut squash is one my favorites. It’s also very filling yet low in calories. This soup is great to make ahead on a Sunday. You can prep your butternut squash a few days in advance to cut down on prep time the day you decide to cook it. As always, let me know how it turns out by tagging @thefriendlyepicurean on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

Butternut Squash Soup with Sage

  • Servings: 7 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2.5 lbs butternut squash, roughly chopped into 1″ cubes
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp chopped sage, plus 1 tsp chopped sage to garnish

Directions

Cook onions in olive oil in a large saucepan or stockpot on medium heat, about 3 minutes. Next add garlic and cook for 1 additional minute. Next, add butter, carrot, and butternut squash and cook for about 3 minutes on medium heat. Next add vegetable broth, salt, and pepper and simmer for about 10 minutes or until squash is soft all the way through. Next, add sage and nutmeg and allow to simmer for another 3-5 minutes. Carefully transfer to a high powered blender such as Vitamix and puree until smooth. You may need to do this several cups at a time depending how much your blender holds. Or puree soup with an immersion blender. Garnish with chopped sage and serve. May be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.

Nutrition Information: Makes 7 cups

  • Approximate Calories Per Cup: 110 cal