Smashed Pea & Barley Soup

by Anne Bennett on January 16, 2010

split-pea-soup

California Pizza Kitchen is one of my favorite casual restaurants. If you sit at the counter, as we do, you can watch the staff prepare many of the entrees right in front of you, which I like because it means that what you see is what you get. No surprises, just fresh, real food. Most of it is quite healthy too.

Although pizza is the house specialty, their soups and salads are far from afterthoughts. My favorite soup is the Dakota Smashed Pea and Barley Soup. It’s fat-free, vegetarian and completely filling and delicious. Think about it–how often do you see a fat-free soup on the regular menu of a popular restaurant? ┬áThe usual fare is baked potato (cream-laden) or bisque of some sort (ditto).

Here, from California Pizza Kitchen’s, “Pasta, Salads, Soups and Sides” cookbook, is the soup. It’s simple, but to me, that’s what makes it inspired.

1 lb. dried split peas, sorted and rinsed
1/2 cup pearl barley
8 cups water (or half water, half low-sodium chicken broth, as I do)
2 bay leaves
1 t. salt
1 T. soy sauce
1 T. chopped fresh thyme (or 1 t. dried)
2 t. minced garlic
1/2 t. rubbed dried sage
1/4 t. cumin
1 1/2 cups diced carrots
2/3 cup minced onion
1/3 cup finely diced celery
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

In a large pot combine the split peas, barley, water (and/or broth), bay leaves, salt, soy sauce, thyme, garlic, sage and cumin. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a bare simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the carrots, onions and celery. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 20 to 30 minutes more. Adjust seasonings, adding more salt if necessary (usually the case for me). Discard the bay leaves. Garnish each serving with sliced green onions.

(Pea soup thickens as it sits, so you’ll probably have to add more water or broth when you heat it up. For a smoother texture, puree the soup with an immersion blender.)

Serves: 8

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Clara January 18, 2010 at 7:33 am

This is such a great soup. I love knowing that I can have a healthy option when I go there and it really is good. Had no idea the recipe was available. Thanks!

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