Winter is not a good season for me. Like many of you I prefer spring, summer and fall in Texas. Now that I started walking again I feel like taking every opportunity to escape out of the house with any excuse in mind. Yesterday, as I was starting dinner, I realized I needed a couple of ingredients for my meal. Natalie and I strapped the dogs in their harnesses, grabbed the eco-friendly HEB green bag and started our walk to the grocery store.

I was planning on cooking black-eyed peas for dinner, but at the last minute I found out I was missing leeks and carrots. The ingredients for my black-eyed pea soup include a 1 bag of peas (1 lb), 1 leek, 2 carrots, 1 medium onion, 2 garlic cloves, olive oil and pimenton (Spanish Paprika). When I looked in the refrigerator I found no leeks and no carrots. Surprise! But I did have a bunch of celery that was looking at me with despair while appearing warped and sad. The peas had been soaking since the morning and there was no turning back now.

While Natalie was getting the dogs ready to walk to the store, I salted the onion, garlic and cut-up celery in some olive oil. A couple of minutes later I added the black-eyed peas, stirring constantly and added water to cover. I turned the stove to low and I instructed my husband to keep an eye on the soup, adding cold water if needed, while we walked to HEB to buy the leeks and carrots.

It was warm and humid, which made us use even more energy during the walk. The dogs loved it; they enjoy stopping at the Cat Hollow Park for some water in the middle of the trip.

By the time we made it back to the house the soup was already cooked. Soaking the beans ahead really cuts down cooking time. I didn’t see the need to add the leeks and carrots now, when the other ingredients were completely cooked.

The next step consisted of heating some olive oil in a saucepan and adding two links of sausage, cut up in small pieces. Then we added a couple of teaspoonfuls of Spanish paprika (pimenton) and when the sausage was mildly brown, we added it all to the peas, stirring all ingredients together. We add salt to taste and the soup was complete.

We prepared a green salad with some lettuce and tomatoes and dinner was done. Painless! A couple of slices of French bread gave the final touch.

Who said cooking a healthy meal has to be elaborate and difficult?

About the Author

Dr. Katalenas

Dr. Katalenas is a pediatrician and owner of The Pediatric Center of Round Rock and the author of the book "The Step Up Diet: From Scratch… The Quality, Quantity, and Timing Solution to Childhood Obesity", a guide to healthy cooking and eating for busy families.