Slow Cooked Pea Soup

It has become decidedly winter in Philadelphia over the past couple of weeks. Temperatures are holding steady in the thirty degree range. I love the crisp bite in the air, but I wish there was more snow. We still have another month or two of winter so fingers crossed for more snow in the forecast. Regardless of the lack of precipitation, the biting cold has me in the mood for soup pretty much daily hence the glut of soup recipes appearing on the blog. Recipes like this one, this one, and this one are in heavy rotation at out house. Last week I made a vegan pea soup in the crock pot and it was so good, I couldn't not share the recipe.

Pea soup is near the top of my favorite soups list. Being that it is made from peas, it is packed with protein and I find it much more filling than the standard vegetables-floating-in-broth soups. I also love a good creamy soup and pea soup manages to be creamy without any dairy or dairy substitutes needed. BUT I have two problems with pea soup. 1) Most pea soups are cooked with ham, making 99 percent of the recipes out there no good for vegetarians. 2) Dried peas, from which pea soup is made, take forever to cook. I don't have time for that nor do I want to run the gas bill up by having the stove on all day. 

My recipe solves both problems by removing the ham and using a slow cooker to do all the work. I made the full recipe, which serves six, and intended it to last for three dinners. It was so yummy, we finished it in two! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do :)

Slow Cooker Pea Soup
Serves 6

3 stalks of celery, diced
3 carrots, diced
1 onion, diced
1 bag organic dried split green peas (2 1/2 cups)
8 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp olive oil

Rinse the dried peas thoroughly. In the slower cooker basin, layer the carrots, celery, and onion beneath the peas. Pour the vegetable broth, spices, and olive oil on top. Cook on low for eight hours. 

If you have patience, fish out the bay leaves. If not, purée the entire contents of the slow cooker using an immersion blender, Magic Bullet, or food processor*.

Serve hot. 

Topping suggestions: Greek yogurt with freshly cracked black pepper (pictured), slivered almonds, croutons, hot sauce, sliced jalapeños

*For the record, I didn't have the patience to perform a search and rescue mission for the bay leaves. They got puréed with everything else.  

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