As you may know we live in the Nordic countries. Northern Europe. The spot on mother earth, when the sun rarely shines and winter tends to last at least half of the year, if not more. At least in Estonia it's perfectly normal to see snow even in May.
Living in the Nordic countries, I have heard more than enough times that veganism isn't possible in a colder climate. This my friends is complete nonsense. Of course it would be delightful to live in a climate where ripe fruits are abundant and available all year round, but then again there is so much more about veganism than fruits. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds-they all have an important place in a vegan diet. And I can say that the Nordic diet is very rich in vegetables, especially in root vegetables. In my opinion you have to be conscious about your nutrition no matter where you live and what your food preferences are. For example almost every Estonian is suffering from vitamin D deficiency- so we should use vitamin D supplements just because sunshine and warm weather is rather an exception where we live. So you must be aware despite of your diet choices.
An other myth I often hear is that being vegan means that all of a sudden you can't eat anything, especially the traditional dishes. Well, this is one other thing I certainly must argue against, because basically all dishes can be veganized. This is one of the reasons I wanted to create Lifebasedfoods. To show people that healthy homecooked and hearty vegan foods are possible. You don't have to abandon family dinners at the holiday table, on the opposite. You can make the dinner table even richer.
Last Tuesday it was Shrove Tuesday or Vastlapäev in Estonian. Some nations celebrate it as Pancake day. Well in the Nordic countries we traditionally celebrate Vastlapäev by eating pea soup and vastlakukkel/semla balls (doughy buns with whipped cream). Luckily we had so many vegan cafes offering vegan semla balls, that it wasn't really an issue. And yes, I ate too much of those! But I really wanted to cook a traditional pea soup at home for my family. And oh god it was good! So I just have to share the recipe with you:
RUSTIC SCANDINAVIAN PEA SOUP:
- 250g split dried peas (rinsed and soaked the night before)
- 150g pearled barley (also soaked the night before)
- 2 onions
- 1 big carrot
- 3 medium potatoes
- 150g of smoked tofu*
- fresh parsley and dill
- 1 vegetable stock cube (10g)
- black pepper and salt for seasoning
- olive oil
* If none is available then use sliced vegan smoked ham (100g) and regular tofu (150g) instead
In a big pot heat the oil and cook the finely diced onion until soft. Add some chopped carrots and tofu, roast them a little and add the water with a vegetable stock cube. Then add the soaked peas and barley to the pot. Add some water if needed and season the soup with a little salt and black pepper. Cook on medium heat. Don't forget to stir often. When the peas are almost softened add some finely chopped potatoes with some dill and parsley. Add some water for desired consistency and cook until soft.
Although it seems as a lot of work at first, it's really easy. Just throw everything in a pot and let it boil into a piece of art! Boiling a soup you have to be creative. Add water to reach the consistency you desire and don't forget to try it in the process to adjust seasoning.
I just love traditional Scandinavian cooking and it's a joy to share the vegan version with you guys!