Ridiculously good Split Pea Soup

Makes 8 Servings * Prep Time: 15 minutes * Cook Time 1 hour

Working with the youth of America in the kitchen keeps me both in stitches and on my toes. A sassy Jersey girl named Katie Bealer is one of my trusted assistants. Hanging around Katie is like learning a new language, one I think of as Text-o-Talk. She took one taste of this soup and exclaimed,“OMG!” I LOL’d in response. (See, I’m learning.) I was actually thinking of calling this recipe RGSPS in her honor; anyone who comes up with descriptor “ridiculously good” deserves to be honored. In any case, her unbridled enthusiasm for this soup made it a keeper for the book. If you enjoy traditional split pea soup with ham and want that smoky flavor here, just add smoked paprika or ground chipotle chiles. How- ever, it’s the blending of the split peas that drives the taste in this recipe, creating a velvety mouthfeel that’s perfect for transporting the flavors of the garlic, carrot, onions, and thyme that round out the soup. As a bonus, especially for those concerned about diabetes, split peas are great for you, being rich in fiber, which fights cholesterol and helps regulate blood sugar levels. As for Katie and me, all I can say is we’re BFFs.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Sea salt
1 cup finely diced onion
cup peeled and finely diced carrot
½ cup finely diced celery
¼ teaspoon dried thyme Freshly ground black pepper 2 cloves garlic, minced
cups dried green split peas, rinsed well
8 cups vegetable broth, homemade or store-bought
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Chive Oil, for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sauté until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the carrot, celery, thyme, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and ⅛ teaspoon of pepper and sauté for about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and split peas, then pour in ½ cup of the broth to deglaze the pot, stirring to deglaze the pot. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the remaining 7½ cups of broth. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to low and simmer until the split peas are tender, about
40 minutes.

Ladle 2 cups of the soup into a blender and process until velvety smooth. Stir the blended mixture back into to the soup and cook just until heated through. Stir in the lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Taste; you may want to add a spritz of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Served garnished with the parsley and Chive Oil.

Variation: For a smoky flavor add ¼ teaspoon of smoked paprika or 2 dried chipotle chiles, rehydrated and minced, when sautéing the onion.

Reprinted with permission from The Longevity Kitchen Copyright © 2013 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.

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Bejeweled Forbidden Rice Salad

MAKES 6 SERVINGS • PREP TIME: 5 minutes (after soaking rice overnight) • COOK TIME: 30 minutes

2 cups water
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup forbidden rice
¼ cup Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
½ cup diced celery
¼ cup diced red bell pepper
1 scallion, minced
¼ cup finely chopped fresh mint
1 avocado, cut in ½-inch dice

In a 2-quart pot over high heat, combine 2 cups of water and the salt and bring to a boil, then stir in the rice. Cover, lower the heat to medium low, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, then check the rice. It should be tender, but still with a nice chew. Fluff the rice with a fork, then transfer it to a bowl and allow it to cool. Add the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Then mix in the celery, bell pepper, scallion, and mint. Top with avocado just before serving.

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

MAKES ABOUT ½ CUP • PREP TIME: 5 minutes • COOK TIME: Not applicable

½ cup cilantro
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lime zest
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
½ teaspoon Grade B maple syrup
½ teaspoon salt

Put all the ingredients in a small food processor and process about a minute, until smooth.

COOK’S NOTE: Cilantro tends to be a love-it-or-hate-it ingredient, and it turns out your opinion depends entirely on your DNA. Some folks have a gene that makes cilantro taste soapy, which makes it hard to become a fan of this healthful herb. If you’re looking to replace cilantro in a recipe, try Italian flat-leaf parsley—it’s a great power herb that will give you a similar nutritional wallop.

Reprinted with permission from The Healthy Mind Cookbook Copyright © 2015 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.

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MAKES 6  servings • PREP TIME: 5 minutes • COOK TIME: 2 hours

Prepare ahead:  Soak the rice in cool water and the juice of half a lemon for 8 hours or overnight before cooking;this will make its nutrients more available and decrease the cooking time.  If you don’t have time to soak the rice, add an extra cup of broth and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

1 cup soaked short grain brown rice
8 cups Old Fashioned Chicken Stock
1 tablespoon minced ginger
¾ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon tamari
¼ teaspoon lemon juice
Optional garnish: toasted sesame oil, minced scallion, chopped cilantro  

In a heavy pot over high heat, add the soaked rice, ginger, salt and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook on low, covered, until a soft porridge like consistency is achieved, about 2 hours. Add more stock or water if it gets too thick. 

Add tamari, lemon juice and toppings of choice. 

Cook’s Note:  Congee becomes even better the next day.  Add ½ to 1 cup of broth to reheat. 

Reprinted with permission from Clean Soups Copyright © 2016 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.

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Coconut Cauliflower Soup with Ginger and Turmeric.

Makes 6 Servings * Prep Time: 10 minutes * Cook Time 30 minutes
2½ to 3 pounds cauliflower, cut into 11/2-inch florets
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 carrots, peeled, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 teaspoons Thai Red Chili Paste
2 teaspoons freshly ground ginger
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
6 Cups Thai Coconut Broth  
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint or cilantro
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the cauliflower, 2 tablespoons olive oil,  ¼ teaspoon salt, turmeric, and pepper in a large bowl and toss until the cauliflower is evenly coated. Transfer to the lined baking sheet and spread in an even layer. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cauliflower is golden and tender.
While the cauliflower is roasting, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat, then add the onion and a pinch of salt and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the, garlic,  carrots, celery and ¼ teaspoon of salt and saute until the vegetables begin to turn golden, about 10 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons of Thai Red Chili paste and stir until the paste has coated the vegetables. Pour in ½ a cup of the broth to deglaze the pot and cook until the liquid is reduced by half.  
Pour ⅓ of the broth into a blender; add the ginger, and one-third of the vegetables, and blend until smooth, adding more liquid as needed. Transfer to a soup pot over low heat and repeat the process two more times. Stir in any remaining broth, along with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and lime juice.  Taste, you may need another spritz of lime juice or a pinch of salt.  Taste; you may want to add another spritz of lime or a pinch of salt.  Garnish with chopped cilantro or mint.