Almost every time I've served a meal without meat, the following happens...
I dish up the plates and we all sit down.
Erik says grace and then we dig in.
He'll poke around with his fork/spoon and take a bite.
Then, "Is there any meat in here?"
After I say "No." There would be more times than not that he'd then get up and rummage through the frig to find some form of meat he could add to the dish. So, I finally succumbed to that need and our Split Pea Soup is not vegetarian, but I like to think it is healthy with all the veggies and peas in there. I figured I might as well share it with you.
First, you chop up some carrots, onion and celery. I don't usually measure it, but maybe a cup of each?
Throw it in a big pot and add about 2 cups of dried split peas.
Nice and colorful.
Add stock. I use half chicken and half vegetable. Or you could do water and bouillon cubes.
Turn it on high.
Sprinkle in some sage and thyme.
Take some garlic.
Press it into the soup. Or peel and chop it, but I'm lazy. I love my Pampered chef garlic press.
Stir it all up.
My cute salt & pepper shakers from my mom eon's ago. Add some salt and pepper to the soup.
Once it has gotten to a boil, turn it down to about medium or so and let simmer. I leave a lid on it. You want those peas and veggies to cook and get soft. It takes 45min-1 hour.
While it the soup is cooking, get out your meat.
I usually use Turkey Kielbasa, but they were out of it. I use about half of one of these for a pot of soup, but since this was double I cut up the whole thing. If you don't have this you could add cooked, crumbled bacon, but this might be just a tad healthier.
Cut it up. Don't add it to the soup yet.
Now, once the soup is mostly cooked--see how the peas are falling apart?
Get out your immersion blender and blend that sucker. You don't want it all blended, but enough to make it nice and thick. This also helps camouflage the onions from any picky 6 year olds you might have in your home.
Nice and thick but still some chunks. After you blend it, throw in the meat and let cook a few more minutes to heat it through.
See, doesn't that look yummy? Oh wait, we're missing one last thing...
Crackers! Now, its perfect. :-)