I have recently made the decision to get healthier and start eating better. For one thing I have Stage-II Hypertension that is not even managed with meds, and I have been steadily increasing in size since menopause. Now while I don’t put the blame entirely on my hormones, I know my love of food and wine have put me here, hormonal weight gain is a bitch to manage with diet and exercise alone.
With that said, I am embarking on a new way of eating and a new life. Being a Chef I worried if I was going to be able to still make delicious meals, with lower fat and sugar, and you know what I know that I can. I have changed my whole relationship with food and am structuring my eating on those principles that will help me achieve my goal.
Now for many, many years I have been making Split Pea soup. My Dad adored it so I started making it for him one day after Easter, I had a nice ham bone and why let it go to waste. So I made it that way forever sometimes I even used some ham hocks which I am not going to lie was pretty damn good. Well on my new lifestyle plan, I can’t have ham yet. So what I decided to do was add a little pork flavor without much fat and make it about the glorious veggies. I used the drippings from the fresh breakfast sausage I made my sons and that is all the pork that is in there. It equated to just about a 2 1/2 tsp. when all was said and done, which adds about 76 calories, and about 8 grams of fat. but that is for a pot of soup, that has at least 8 servings. I also incorporated a tsp. of liquid smoke, no calories or fat, to get the smokiness that I am use to in this dish. It makes a big difference.
To get the richness, I added a tbsp. of fat-free half and half, and seasoned it to the best of my ability and you know what? It’s really pretty good. I could have used a ham bone, turkey sausage, or chicken sausage for that matter and I probably will when I am able to eat lean meats again, but in the mean time, I really didn’t miss the ham in it and I loved the smoky flavor from the drippings and liquid smoke. It mimics the ham hock minus the meat, and fat. Not to mention you are slashing about 100 calories a serving without the ham! Not too shabby for the heart, and waistline.
I hope you give this a try. It really is a strategic healthy hack.
Healthy Split Pea Soup
A healthy filling soup that is full of flavor and taste, but low cal and so delish!
- You can add in chicken sausage, turkey sausage or even use a ham bone, but trust me with this little tweak you won’t miss it!
- 5 cups of homemade chicken stock or store-bought, I used my homemade.
- 1 bag of split peas, rinsed
- 2 large carrots diced
- 1 half of onion diced
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- 2 stalks of celery finely diced
- 1 tsp. of liquid smoke
- 2 1/2 tsp. of sausage or bacon drippings
- 1 tbsp. of fat-free half and half
- 1 tbsp. of baby sage leaves
- 1 tbsp. of fresh thyme
- 1 tsp. of EVOO
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- In a small Dutch oven over medium heat, add in drippings and EVOO, add in onions, carrots, and celery. Saute until soft about two minutes. Add in chicken stock, split peas, and liquid smoke. Season with salt and pepper.
- Let simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. Add in fresh sage and thyme. Adjust seasoning. Top off with half and half and serve immediately, or refrigerate for later use. Can be served with crackers, rye toast, or biscuits if desired. I ate mine plain without my usual accoutrements such as toasted rye bread with butter dipped in my soup, and it was so good!! Devour!