I posted about this split pea soup back in February and have been thinking about it ever since. I loved this soup. It has a clean, fresh taste about it that is hard to describe. T. is still convinced that I have put some ham or bacon in it. I swear I haven't. The only non vegetarian thing that I have done to this is to add chicken stock for some of the water.
I found this recipe on Heidi Swanson's blog 101 Cookbooks. If you haven't checked it out before check it out now. She is a vegetarian so all of her recipes are without meat but the substitutions she makes are incredible. Very well rounded vegetarian meals!
Vegetarian Split Pea Soup (Heidi of 101 Cookbooks)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 large onions, chopped (I added 3 cloves of garlic as well)
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
2 cups dried split green peas, picked over and rinsed
5 cups water (I substituted 3 cup of the water with homemade chicken stock)
juice of 1/2 lemon (reserve the zest)
a few pinches of smoked paprika
more olive oil to drizzle
Add olive oil to a big pot over med-high heat. Stir in onions and salt and cook until the onions soften, just a minute or two. Add the split peas and water. Bring to a boil, dial down the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the peas are cooked through (but still a touch al dente). Using a large cup or mug ladle half of the soup into a bowl and set aside. Using a hand blender (or regular blender) puree the soup that is still remaining in the pot. Stir the reserved (still chunky) soup back into the puree - you should have a soup that is nicely textured. If you need to thin the soup out with more water (or stock) do so a bit at a time. Stir in the lemon juice and taste. If the soup needs more salt, add more a bit at a time until the flavor of the soup really pops.
Ladle into bowls or cups, and serve each drizzled with olive oil and topped with a good pinch of smoked paprika and a touch of lemon zest.Serves 4 to 6.