Dietitian's tip: When you want a quick, hearty meal, this soup, made with yellow split peas, pairs well with crusty whole-grain bread or a fresh-vegetable medley.
For the chive cream
- 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh chives, plus long cuts for garnish
- 3 tablespoons fat-free plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon low-fat buttermilk
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups dried yellow or green split peas, picked over, rinsed and drained
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups vegetable stock or broth
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped lean ham
To make the chive cream, in a small blender or food processor, combine the chopped chives, yogurt, buttermilk, sugar and salt. Process until well blended. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft and lightly golden, about 6 minutes. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Add the carrot and saute until the carrot is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Stir in the split peas, water, stock, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and the pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially, and simmer until the peas are tender, 60 to 65 minutes.
In a blender or food processor, puree the soup in batches until smooth and return to the saucepan over medium heat. Reheat gently.
Ladle into warmed individual bowls. Top each serving with a drizzle or swirl of chive cream and garnish with a sprinkle of chopped ham and a few long cuts of fresh chives. Serve immediately.