We know that homemade soup is a healthy choice for a meal: it can be filling but low in calories, and all the nutrients from its veggies and protein stay in the broth instead of getting lost in water that will be drained away. But making a homemade broth can be time-consuming, and some days you don’t have time for a dish you have to watch closely while cooking. So what do you do if you want a soup that’s good for you but also easy to get on the table? Make one with peas.
With both green and yellow varieties to choose from, peas are a wonderful choice for a soup on a cold winter’s day. Green peas, in particular, have a very distinct flavour and go very nicely with both fresh and dried herbs. The benefit of using dried split peas is that they don’t need to be soaked, like other legumes and beans, but can simply be cooked directly in your soup pot. They need to cook for a good hour or so, but they will eventually break down and blend nicely into your soup.
As for thickening your soups, have you ever considered cauliflower? This healthy vegetable can replace potato, flour, or any other thickener that would typically be used in a soup. Cut up your cauliflower into little florets — they’re a perfect addition to any soup that you are going to blend or purée, and they add a healthy dose of fibre, antioxidants, and vitamin C. Just because it’s white doesn’t mean it lacks nutrients, so make use of this lovely veggie. Cauliflower also makes a great substitute for mashed potatoes!
Looking for more reasons to make a bowl of soup a diet staple this winter?
Six reasons to include more soup in your diet this winter
- Soup is nourishing, warming, and energizing, making it a perfect choice for a fall lunch or dinner.
- You can get a great meal all in just one bowl. All you need to do is include grains, veggies, and/or salad with your soup to make a full meal
- Soup is easily stored in the fridge or freezer, so you can make a big batch and have it last you for a few days, weeks, or even months.
- It’s an easy meal to take on the go. Simply warm your soup up in the morning and pack in a thermos for a healthy and inexpensive packed lunch.
- Soup is just a comforting, feel-good meal. There is truth to the idea of eating soup to stay healthy — a nourishing bowl of soup can go right to your soul and uplift your spirits, as well as your immune system.
- Finally, soup can help with controlling weight. Having a low-calorie bowl of soup before a meal can help to make you feel fuller and suppress hunger — you may actually eat less of the more-caloric main dish.
Cauliflower and pea soup
Here you have it, the world’s easiest soup. Well not really, but it is pretty simple and made all in one pot — just warm, purée, and serve!
2 ½ cups green or yellow split peas
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets — or try 1-2 small sweet potatoes if using yellow peas (to thicken and sweeten)
2 celery stalks, chopped
Pinch of rosemary
Pinch of thyme
Pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch of greens (kale, spinach or chard)
1. In a large soup pot, put 6 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the split peas, onion, carrots, cauliflower, celery and herbs. Stir and bring to a boil again.
2. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the peas and vegetables are tender, about an hour. If you prefer a creamy soup, transfer half the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Return it to the soup pot and mix well to combine.
3. Stir in chopped greens of choice into warm soup, to wilt.
4. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Marni Wasserman is a culinary nutritionist in Toronto whose philosophy is stemmed around whole foods. She is dedicated to providing balanced lifestyle choices through natural foods. Using passion and experience, she strives to educate individuals on how everyday eating can be simple and delicious.