Yellow Split-pea Pâté

Makes 2 C

split pea pate

You never know when you’ll be in need of a quick pâté.  My need for it came because Claire and I were going to attend a Crafting/Play date.  Moms are responsible for bringing a healthy dish so we can all eat well (and the kiddies, too) while we’re socializing, getting to know each other, and learning about the new place we live in.  Play dates like these are filled with all kinds of valuable information!

While I can eat hummus for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and I now (happily) live in the land of hummus, I figured a little variety wouldn’t hurt.  And, I was out of chick peas and black beans.  I had intended to make this hummus-ish, but instead the pâté was born.  Inspiration comes from places you’d least expect and by the time I added the ginger, I knew this dish was going in a completely different direction.

Yellow split-peas.  How random, yet how perfect.  If these little organic yellow split peas could talk, I’m sure this is what they would say, “Wait!  Stop right there and give us a chance because believe it or not, we pack quite a nutritious punch in each of our tasty halves.  We have awesome fiber power.  More specifically, we have great soluble fiber, you know, the kind that forms a gel-like substance in the body making you feel full longer and then travels slowly out the body taking with it some cholesterol.  This slow movement is also great for balancing blood-sugar levels and is great news for diabetics.  You know what else we’re good at?  We’re good at reducing your risk of breast and colon cancer thanks to the isoflavones (those are phytonutrients-aka pretty potent stuff) we have.¹  And, with basically no fat at all, we’re also a pretty good source of protein.  Eat us with some rice and we’re a complete source of protein-great for vegans and vegetarians.  We’re also well known for our folate and B1 in addition to potassium, thiamin and phosphorus.²  And, (as if you need more convincing), we are absolutely DELICIOUS!”

Those are some pretty convincing peas!  And by the time you’re done with this pâté, you might be more willing to give the hummus a little rest once in a while.  It’s only fair, chickpeas work hard, too.

You’ll need:

1 shallot, diced

2 T extra-virgin olive oil

1 T balsamic vinegar

1 C dried yellow split peas, rinsed*

4-6 C vegetable stock (or a bouillon with water)

1 1″ piece of kombu

1 bay leaf

1 t cumin

1/4 t cinnamon

3 1/4″ slices of fresh ginger

Sea Salt, to taste

1 t miso paste (optional)

1 t sesame seeds (for garnish)

To make:

1.  In a saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil and then shallots and a pinch of salt.  Sauté shallots for a few minutes until translucent and fragrant.  Once they begin to caramelize, remove from heat and add balsamic vinegar.  Return to heat.

2.  Add yellow split peas, kombu, bay leaf, and spices, including ginger and enough stock/water to cover by a couple of inches.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer, covering partially.  Let cook for about 40 minutes or until the peas are tender.

3.  Remove from heat.  With a slotted spoon, scoop out the split-peas (discarding ginger, bay leaf and kombu) and place in a blender.  Reserve the cooking liquid to adjust the texture to your liking, but I found that the split peas soaked in a lot of the liquid so I didn’t need any extra.  Add miso if using.  Blend to your desired consistency.

4.  Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle sesame seeds on top for garnish.  (I was going to use tahini but after tasting it, I found it so yummy I didn’t want to add anything else to it…that’s the reason I had the sesame seeds ready for garnish;)

5.  Enjoy with vegetable chips or crudité.  Either way, enjoy!

¹http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=56

²http://www.livestrong.com/article/279735-yellow-split-peas-health-benefits/

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