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The Step You Can't Skip When Making Your Split Pea Soup

Bowl of split pea soup
Bowl of split pea soup - Maren Epstein/Mashed

Cold weather always means soup season, and one of the best soup recipes to make at home is split pea. Peas are an excellent source of plant-based protein and fiber — a great food choice for vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters alike. And despite being vegetable-heavy, split pea soup is thick, creamy, and filling.

Mashed recipe developer Maren Epstein knows the power that this tiny green vegetable wields and developed a split pea soup recipe that can easily become a new seasonal favorite. When working with dried peas, however, there's one step you can never skip: It's necessary to manually sort through dried peas to catch any tiny stones that made their way into the package — especially before they accidentally end up in your mouth. Epstein recommends spreading the split peas out over a parchment-lined baking sheet, as it's easier to spot a stone in the mix when the peas are laid out in a single layer rather than piled up in a bag or bowl. Then, just thoroughly rinse your peas in a strainer, and they'll be ready to cook.

Read more: 7 Nuts You Should Be Eating And 7 You Shouldn't

How Does Debris End Up In Dried Peas?

split pea soup in enamel pot
split pea soup in enamel pot - Maren Epstein/Mashed

Small rocks and dried mud can sometimes end up amongst peas during the processing and packing processes. The same goes for other dried legumes and lentils. Commercially, peas are harvested by an industrial farming machine known as a pea viner. This machine drives through the crops, picking the plants so it can separate the peas from the pods. Debris can end up amongst the separated peas, particularly rocks and stones of a similar size. Since a rock or two in a bag of dried split peas is almost inevitable, it's imperative that you first sort through them to make sure no one breaks a tooth at the dinner table.

Thankfully, Epstein notes that -- unlike dried beans, which need to be soaked overnight -- split peas require no soaking, because they cook much faster. Between prep and cooking time, this recipe can easily come together in about an hour, even with the added task of pea-sorting. As Epstein said, "I love how affordable this recipe is. You really can get all of the nutrients you need and be satisfied by eating a bowl of split pea soup." She even went so far as to call split peas "the unsung superfood."

Read the original article on Mashed.