Fair warning: If you’re strict about following a Paleolithic Diet, this recipe is probably not for you!
As I’ve stated before many a times, we follow a paleo-conscious lifestyle, teetering between paleo and whole-foods approaches. This path is achieved by cutting a large portion of the paleo no-no’s from our daily food intake. Carbs, grains/gluten, processed foods, refined processed sugars–they’re the big ones that have made the most difference in our lives. However, there are other Paleolithic diet “rules” that we mostly adhere to. The guideline that I’m addressing today is the topic of “No Legumes”.
What are legumes? They’re dried fruits that are usually contained within a pod. Think of snap peas, peanuts, green beans, alfalfa, lentils, etc. Why are they bad for you? They contain phytates, a mineral that bonds with nutrients in the food that you eat, blocking the body from utilizing those vitamins and minerals. Phytates cause the bloating and gas that we often associate with eating a heaping helping of beans, as beans tend to contain the largest amount of them compared to all legumes. Legumes also contain lectins, protein-binding carbs that stick to the nutrients in the food, preventing your intestines from absorbing them. Lectins are commonly associated with Leaky Gut Syndrome, which affects a variety of gastro-intestinal inflammatory diseases, such as Crohn’s and IBS. Furthermore, legumes are high on the glycemic index, which makes them not the best choice for people who’re sensitive to carbohydrates, such as Diabetics. Certainly, they’re well known for being high in protein, an excellent source in fact for those who’re not meat-eaters, but there are other foods out there with better nutritional profiles that could be used instead. 
Quite frankly, this rule perplexes me. The Paleo Diet allows for nuts, green beans, and peas. Beans (kidney, navy, lentils) are ruled out because they’re considered not worth it, despite the fact that lentils are incredibly high in proteins. (Some paleo followers still eat lentils on occasion anyway.) And then there are nuts, which I suppose are permissible because they are an excellent source of Omega-6 fats, which helps caveman connoisseurs balance their Omega-3:6 fat ratio. Forget peanuts, though. But what about green beans and peas?
I searched the internet high and low for an answer to this. The best that I was able to find is that green beans and peas are the exception to the rule, that “fresh is best,” and that they shouldn’t be a constant part of the diet. More like a treat that you allow yourself every once in a while.
Chorizo and Lentil Stew is a rather popular staple in Spain. As you probably guessed, the main ingredients are Chorizo and Lentils. What you don’t know is that the secret ingredient that makes this dish stand out is the use of Smokey Paprika. I love smoked paprika, and I have been craving peas. With that, I decided that it was time to have a healthy treat. Thus, Spanish Split Pea Soup was concocted, with the lentils swapped out for peas. This soup was filling, hearty, and one of the most stomach-warming soups that we’ve had this cold winter.
- 2 lbs. Chorizo Sausage: Loose or linked, preferably grass-free, gluten-free, definitely preservatives/nitrate free. I find the linked ones, when you cut them up into inch-thick pieces, form a sort of "meatball" when they're cubed. Otherwise, use the loose chorizo and roll up into inch-sized balls. We get ours from a local farm.
- 2 Red Peppers: Seeds removed and chopped.
- 1 Small White or Yellow Onion: Diced
- 1 Large Shallot: Diced
- 2 Stalks Celery: Chopped
- 1 TBSP Olive Oil
- 1 Large Tomato: Diced
- 3 Medium Sweet Potatoes: Peeled, and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 Medium-Large Carrots: Peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch coins
- 16 oz. Fresh or dried Green Peas
- 4 Cups Better Than Yo' Mama's chicken broth: Or low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 Cup Water
- 1 TBSP Smoked Paprika
- 1/2 tsp Cumin
- 1/2 tsp Ground Coriander
- 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- If using dried peas, dump them into a bowl. Rinse with cold water until the water drains clear. Although you do not need to soak peas like beans, I do this anyway. Fill the bowl with water until you have about an inch over the top of the peas. Allow to sit overnight.
- Cut up your sausage links into 1- to 2-inch-long pieces. (If using loose Chorizo, form into 1- to 2-inch thick meatballs.
- Prepare all your vegetables that need to be cut, diced, and peeled.
- Add all of the vegetables and Chorizo, to the slow cooker. Add spices. Then finish up with chicken broth and water.
- Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.
- This is an optional step if you want a creamy consistency much like regular split pea soup.
- Remove about 1 cup of the soup and place it into a blender. Remove any chorizo and place it back in the slow-cooker. Blend the ingredients until smooth, then stir the puréed mix back into the soup.
© Julie Marie Pierpont and Death Defying Diet 2013-Present
Joel Runyon (January 31, 2013). What the Hell is a Legume?. [ONLINE] Available at: ultimatepaleoguide.com/what-are-legumes-paleo/. [Last Accessed February 23, 2013].