Split pea and barley soup

I don’t often make soup and when I do it tends to be closer to a stew or casserole because I don’t have too much time for thin watery soup. It’s not filling enough to eat as a meal but fills you up enough that you can’t really tuck in and enjoy your carb main course overload.  And if I try to make thick chunky soups my husband doesn’t see them as a meal and still expects a main course afterwards!  This one though is a soup recipe I can really recommend and I will often make it for lunch at weekends.

I love pearl barley and am sad that it doesn’t feature more often in popular recipes. When I was growing up  I loved my Mum’s chicken casserole with lots of barley in it, but I’ve hardly found any good recipes for it since I became vegan. That’s why I was so keen originally to try this recipe from Marlena Spieler’s “Flavor of California”, and I’ve been making it regularly ever since. It’s a nice book  anyway- vegetarian with a decent sprinkling of vegan or easily veganisable recipes.

The base of this recipe is a lovely earthy thick mixture which is simply about twice the amount of barley to yellow split peas cooked in vegetable stock with some ground cumin for about 45 minutes until they’re soft. The amount of broth you use will determine how liquid your soup is. When they’re cooked you stir in a coriander and lemon salsa which is a very simple blend of lettuce, coriander, garlic, chilli and lime juice, but this time I used some coriander pesto from this recipe which I had leftover from something else. It doesn’t really matter what you use as long as it’s fresh and zingy because it really lifts the earthy tone of the lentils and barley.

I’ve been doing lots of other cooking but most of it has been tester recipes. I’ll do a post about that soon. In the meantime I’m trying to plan my Christmas cooking. More on that to come too!

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