This hearty vegetarian soup is loaded with fiber and plant-based protein. For a bigger nutrient boost, stir in one 10-oz bag of baby spinach, kale or arugula during the last 20 minutes of cooking. Thawed frozen broccoli, cauliflower or winter squash are other good last-minute add-ins. The torn croutons add panache; if you don’t have the time or energy to make them, skip this step and serve the stew with chunks of rustic whole-grain bread instead.
1. In a large zip-top freezer bag or freezer-safe glass container, combine split peas, carrots, leek, celery, butter, garlic, pepper, bay leaves and 5 thyme sprigs. Press out as much air as possible, seal and freeze for up to 2 months.
2. To cook, remove bag from freezer and let stand in the refrigerator overnight. Transfer to a slow cooker along with broth and cook on low for 6 hours. Season with salt and additional pepper.
3. Make croutons: About 20 minutes before serving, preheat oven to 400°F. Tear bread roughly into large pieces (each about 1½ inches); arrange on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Bake until golden and crispy, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.
4. To serve, remove and discard bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Divide among bowls. Pull leaves off remaining thyme sprig and sprinkle over servings. Drizzle with crème fraîche and top with croutons.
- Serving Size 1/6 of recipe
- Calories 567
- Carbohydrate Content 77 g
- Cholesterol Content 32 mg
- Fat Content 20 g
- Fiber Content 24 g
- Protein Content 21 g
- Saturated Fat Content 9 g
- Sodium Content 561 mg
- Sugar Content 9.5 g
- Monounsaturated Fat Content 8 g
- Polyunsaturated Fat Content 1 g