Vegetarian Split Pea Soup is every bit as delicious, wholesome, and nostalgic as the soup your mom made. This is a pantry staple recipe with a few fresh root vegetables. Not looking for a vegetarian soup? Add bacon or ham to your soup or serve them both on the side!
VEGETARIAN SPLIT PEA SOUP
Oh, pea soup! How I adore thee!? The fact that you’re a Vegetarian Split Pea Soup is even better, because I can finally put to rest the notion that Split Pea Soup isn’t good soup at all without bacon or ham.
To all of you bacon and ham lovers, I just have one thing to say: whatever! This vegetarian version of your beloved split pea soup will have you thinking otherwise; trust me! I am proof of that!
Before you start sending me hate mail, rest assured that I would never turn down ham or bacon – never! But, when making a pot of soup in our home, nary a meat product must come in contact with it for fear that the two vegetarians I live with might hatch a vicious plan to convert me to vegetarianism. Or worse, refuse to wash the dishes! (Yep, I cook; they clean!)
YOUR CAN ADD DOUGH BOYS TOO! (Non-Newfoundlander’s call them dumplings.)
Whenever I think of Split Pea Soup, my mom’s soup comes to mind. She, mind you, used to make it with ham and there would always be dumplings floating in the pot. I was never a fan of dumplings in any shape or form, but her soup was mightily delicious.
I’ve not included dumplings in this recipe. If you want to add dumplings, you certainly can. In Newfoundland, we call the Dough Boys rather than dumplings. You can find the recipe at Rock Recipes. Barry is a terrific resource for Newfoundland recipes and you can totally trust his dough boy/dumpling recipe.
In the recipe card for Barry’s recipe, he will instruct you to add the dumpling to the pot during the last 15 minutes of cooking time. Follow my recipe completely, and then prepare the mixture for the dumplings once your potatoes are cooked through.
WHY VEGETARIAN SPLIT PEA SOUP IS NECESSARY
A few years ago, before I began to adapt to cooking vegetarian dishes at home, John.e would get his Split Pea Soup fix from a jar at the grocery store. I would watch him crack open the lid and spoon the stuff into a sauce pan in gelatinous lumps.
Why does cold Split Pea Soup do that? Anyway, I made it my mission to prevent him from spending $8 on a jar of soup when, clearly, I could make a huge pot of it for about the same price.
You see, Dear Reader, this recipe has very cheap ingredients, but the flavour is rich beyond price. Does that sound corny? Well, I can’t find the words to describe how delicious this soup really tastes. I guess you’ll have to just take my word for it and try it for yourself.
Look at those pictures though! Can you believe that’s the result of a few carrots, some celery, potatoes, onions, and dried yellow split peas? I almost can’t believe it either. But, as you can see from the ingredient list below, pictures don’t lie. Now, get cooking!
HERE’S WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
The following is a list of the ingredients needed to prepare this recipe. For exact amounts and measurements, refer to the printable recipe card located near the bottom of this post.
- Olive Oil – This is used to get the aromatics started.
- Vegetables – Often referred to as the Holy Trinity in cooking, for this recipe, you will need onion, celery, and carrots. They add depth and flavour to the soup.
- Spit Peas – Dried yellow split peas are the star of this soup. Be sure to wash them and rinse them well first! But, there’s no need to pre-soak them.
- Potatoes – These help to thicken up the soup with their starchiness, but also helps to make the soup more hearty and bulky.
- Garlic – This was never traditionally found in my mom’s pea soup, but I love the addition of it to my version.
- Vegetable Stock – Do you call it stock or broth? Either way, it’s the liquid base you’ll need.
- Bay Leaves – I think 99% of all soup recipes have bay leaves. The purpose of bay leaves in soups and stew is to elevate the other ingredients by enhancing and bolding more subtle flavours.
- Turmeric – It doesn’t add a lot of flavour, but it certainly helps to intensify that bold, yellow colour.
- Salt & Pepper – Because these two will make everything taste better!
HOW TO MAKE THIS SOUP:
In a stock pot, over medium heat, add the olive oil, onions, carrot, and celery. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 more minutes. Next, add the split peas and turmeric, stir into the vegetable mixture, and sauté for 3 minutes. Finally, add the vegetable stock and water, along with the salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Cover and cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the split peas from settling to the bottom of the pot.
Once the aromatics have cooked for 40 minutes, add the potatoes and stir to combine. Cover and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Stir the soup and check the liquid level. At this point, the potatoes should be starting to soften, and the peas should be nearly dissolved. Add one cup of water if the peas are not nearly dissolved.
Cover and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Check the potatoes for doneness again. Add another cup of water if needed. If not, cover and continue to cook until the potatoes are fork tender. Once the potatoes are cooked, remove the lid and turn off the heat. Stir the soup well, and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS
- A heavy-bottomed pot is great for soups and stews. Not only does it hold and distribute the heat more consistently, but it will also help prevent food from burning because of the thick layer between the burner and the actual food. My go-to heavy-bottomed Dutch Ovens are either Le Creuset or Staub.
- If you would like a completely smooth and creamy soup, you can puree the soup once it is completely cooked. Use a hand-held immersion blender or transfer the soup to a blender. Do this is batches so that the soup does not spill out of the blender!
- Remember, if you want you can add ham or bacon. I like to fry bacon and add serve it as a topping so that one can add it or leave it out. I would do the same with ham.
Even though Vegetarian Split Pea Soup is a complete meal all on its own, you might want to consider serving this soup with a few other items. If you have a larger family, you can serve smaller bowls of soup make it stretch longer by serving it with some crusty bread. No matter how thick and hearty the soup, you cannot go wrong with a slice or two of really good crusty bread. My favourite is just about any bread from Ace Bakery!
If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can make a batch of those beautiful – and delicious! – dinner rolls you see in the photos. I made those from scratch and it’s really, really simple. I call them Jumbo No Knead Dinner Rolls. They are quite big; look at how big they are next to that soup bowl! Time it so that the rolls are fresh out of the oven and still warm when you serve the soup. Yum!
Vegetarian Split Pea Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup celery, finely chopped
- 2 cups carrots, chopped
- 2 cups dried yellow split peas, washed and rinsed
- 3 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 4 cups water
- 3 whole bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- In a stock pot, over medium heat, add the olive oil, onions, carrot, and celery. Sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and sauté for 2 more minutes.
- Add the split peas and turmeric, stir into the vegetable mixture, and sauté for 3 minutes.
- Add the vegetable stock and water, along with the salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Cover and cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the split peas from settling to the bottom of the pot.
- Add the potatoes and stir to combine. Cover and continue to cook for 10 minutes.
- Stir the soup and check the liquid level. At this point, the potatoes should be starting to soften, and the peas should be nearly dissolved. Add one cup of water if the peas are not nearly dissolved.
- Cover and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Check the potatoes for doneness again. Add another cup of water if needed. If not, cover and continue to cook until the potatoes are fork tender.
- Once the potatoes are cooked, remove the lid and turn off the heat. Stir the soup well, and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.