Gluten Free Split Pea Soup Recipe
I happen to just love my homemade split pea soup. And it is no wonder. First I melt some bacon fat, sauté onions and carrots in it, then I cook the split peas with ham hocks and then to top it all off, I stir in lots of heavy cream and crispy bacon. Delicious but also loaded with lots of unhealthy fat!
A recent yearly check up at the doctor’s revealed that my cholesterol levels were just a touch on the high side. Fortunately my “good cholesterol” is high as well as the bad so it is not such a dire situation, my doctor told me just to cut back a bit on animal fat.
If I have to cut back a bit on animal fat that means I have to be very, very judicious. I can skip whipped cream on my gluten free brownies but must keep my heavy cream in my morning cup of coffee. I will happily dip my gluten free French bread in a touch of olive oil mixed with balsamic instead of slathering it with butter. But give up pork fat altogether? Yikes, that’s a hard one. The solution is to make it count!
I made a few changes to my gluten free split pea soup recipe – I sautéed the veggies in just a touch of olive oil, left out the ham hocks using instead Hurst Family Harvest’s Split Pea Soup Mix with its gluten free flavor packet that has all the natural smoky flavor I want without all the fat, ditched the cream all together and I used my bacon very, very judiciously!
To be judicious with bacon, first you have to use a whole lot less and secondly, if you are using less, you want to get all the bang for your fat/calorie/cholesterol buck possible. The trick is to make sure the bacon isn’t hidden in the mix. Put it right on top of the soup, like a crouton, so you can really taste it! And to get every speck of fat out of the bacon that you can, dice it into small pieces before frying, it cooks out much more of the fat and each and every piece is a crispy little savory delight.
Healthier eating is all about making small changes. And you want to know the truth? I actually prefer the flavor of this new, lighter version! I can really taste every component; it is not just one big bowl of pork fat flavor – it’s much fresher and cleaner tasting. Everything may be better with bacon but it doesn’t mean you have to use a whole lot of bacon for it to be better! This is one time that less really is more!
Now if bacon is not your thing or you want to keep this recipe vegan, leave it off! If you do that, this soup is practically fat free. But it is still wonderful and warms you, body and soul.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium white or yellow onion , chopped
- 2 - 3 medium carrots , peeled and diced
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 package Hurst Family Harvest Split Pea Soup Mix
- 7 cups water
- 5-6 dashes hot sauce (like Tabasco)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Salt & pepper if needed
- 4 strips bacon
- 4 green onions , sliced thinly
Heat olive oil in a soup pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions and carrots and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Rinse and drain the split peas and add to the pot along with the seasoning packet and 7 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover pan and simmer for 45 minutes. Add hot sauce, lemon juice, and some salt and pepper to taste if needed. Cook for 10 more minutes.
While the soup is cooking, cut the bacon into small, ¼ inch pieces. Put into a cold frying pan; turn on the heat to medium and cook, stirring often until the bacon is very browned and crispy. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and drain well.
Serve soup garnished with bacon bits and green onion slices.
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