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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise
 Vegetarian Cooking with Zel

Celebrate Oktoberfest with an old-fashioned split pea soup laced with slices of zesty Kielbasa sausage and a barrel full of chunky vegetables, a cherished meal any time of year, but especially when the fall weather turns chilly. A soup that's robustly flavored, thick, and hearty has no equal. Seems nothing can take its place when every spoonful blooms with satiety.

Enhance the soup with a hearty selection of vegetables, and it only gets better. While some people prefer their pea soup smooth and creamy, others like a chunkier texture.

Whether you partially puree the soup or leave all the veggies intact, you can't miss with an old pal like split pea soup. If, by chance, there is some soup left over, you'll notice it has become quite thick. That's typical of legumes, especially split peas. Thin it to your preferred consistency with water or low-sodium vegetable broth and adjust the seasoning, if needed.

Split Pea Soup with Kielbasa


Yield: 6 generous servings

    2 1/2 cups (600 ml) dried green split peas
    9 1/2 cups (2 liters plus 360 ml) water
    2 large garlic cloves, crushed
    1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed in a mortar and pestle
    1 bay leaf
    Freshly ground pepper to taste

    1 (14-ounce/396g) package Tofurky Kielbasa Sausage, cut into 1/4-inch (.64 cm) thick slices

    3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
    2 onions, chopped
    2 ribs celery, chopped
    1 parsnip, peeled and chopped (optional)
    1 large broccoli crown, chopped
    3 large cauliflower florets, chopped
    1 red bell pepper, chopped

  1. Sort the peas and discard any small stones and imperfect peas. Rinse the peas and put them in an 8 to 10-quart (8 to 10 liter) stockpot. Add 8 1/2 cups (2 liters) of the water, garlic, salt, rosemary, bay leaf, and pepper. Partially cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium and simmer 30 minutes.
  2. Add the Kielbasa and cook another 10 minutes, or until the peas are soft and broken down when pressed with a spoon.
  3. While the peas are cooking, combine the remaining 1 cup (240 ml) of water, carrots, onions, celery, parsnip, if using, broccoli, cauliflower, and red pepper in a large, deep skillet. Cook and stir over medium-high heat for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened. Add small amounts of water as needed to prevent burning the vegetables and set aside.
  4. When the peas are fully cooked, enjoy a soup with plenty of chunky texture by adding the vegetables. Adjust the seasonings, if needed, and serve.

For a smoother, creamier soup texture, cook the peas fully and use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot to desired consistency. Add the Kielbasa and cooked vegetables just before serving.

Alternatively process the peas and vegetables in the blender in batches and add the Kielbasa before serving.

I've listed the parsnip as optional because it may not be readily available in all markets. That single parsnip imparts such an irresistible touch of delicate sweetness to the soup that I always make a special effort to hunt for it.

You may have different vegetable preferences and can easily turn to variations like 2 turnips, diced, 1 green bell pepper, 1 or 2 large tomatoes, chopped, 1 or 2 zucchinis, chopped, or 1/2 pound (226g) green beans, cut into 1/2-inch (1.27 cm) lengths.

Click here for past cookingwithzel@home.comeonin recipes

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