Thursday, September 26, 2013

Green Soup with a Protein Punch

I decided that the highlight of last weekend's birthday feast (vegan chocolate cake with fudge filling and vegan buttercream icing, served with homemade blackberry coconut vegan ice cream) is worth a Friday post. So today I'll tell you about one of my quick, cheap, and nutrition packed weeknight dinners.

The weather's been getting cold awfully quickly up here in Boston. Just last week I was wearing my Birkenstocks and today I was forced to wear a jacket and gloves. The worst part about the impending doom of winter is the dark. One night earlier this week, I was very sad about this as I was peddling home from lab, cold and in the dark. Fortunately, I was greeted by a very welcome sight when I walked into my apartment. I had started split peas in the crock pot before I left for work that morning!

Now, before you hate on split peas, consider this...  pea protein is one of the best vegetarian sources of protein! The 9 grams of protein found in just 1/4c contain a full complement of amino acids, including significant amounts of branched chain amino acids and the essential amino acid tryptophan, which is relatively sparse in vegan protein sources. (Essential amino acids are so called because your body can not make them on its own, thus they have to be consumed.) The best part about this recipe though is that the entire pot of soup can be made for less than $1!

Green Soup with a Protein Punch (aka Split Pea Soup)

1c dried split peas ($0.50)
1 cube bullion ($0.20)
1 scallion ($0.10)
3c water
turmeric (the main component of turmeric is curcumin, which is a potent anti-inflammatory agent... there will be more on this powerhouse this later) 
pepper (spices all probably less than $0.10)
cilantro & nutritional yeast to garnish
Total: $0.90!!

1. Rinse split peas. Place in crock pot full of water on high and let is cook all day while you are at work/ school/ whatever it is you do.
2. Once the split peas are cooked and soft, drain the split peas and wash. (The fuzzy, bubbly stuff on the top is what gives you gas from beans, so make sure to wash them well!)
3, Add peas to food processor with bullion, scallion, dashes of garlic and turmeric, and salt and pepper to taste. Add 1 cup water and food process until smooth.
4. Add split pea mixture to large pot. Add additional two cups of water (more or less to taste). Heat while stirring. It will bubble and make you feel like you are preparing a witch's brew!
5. Garnish with nutritional yeast and garlic. Serve warm and enjoy!

Stay tuned for tomorrow's delicious chocolate cake and blackberry ice cream post!

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