Foodie Friday: Vegetarian (or Vegan!) Split Pea Soup Recipe

Split pea soup is the best of all worlds: cheap, easy, and tasty. It’s also simple to convert from it’s classic “add ham first” iteration to a vegan or vegetarian version. Here’s how I like to make it …


  • 5 c. dried split peas
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 4 stems of celery, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 8 c. veggie broth
  • 6 bay leaves (whole)
  • 1 tbs. thyme leaves
  • Olive oil for sautéing (about 1 tsp.)
  • Sour cream (for garnish)
  • Chopped green or red onions (for garnish)
  • Salt (to taste)


  1. Sauté onions on low heat in olive oil until they just begin to get soft (about 10 minutes – I like to chop onions first, put them on the heat, and then chop the other veggies while I’m waiting).
  2. Add chopped carrots and celery to pan and stir to coat.
  3. Rinse split peas with water then add to pan with a little more olive oil. Toss to coat all ingredients.
  4. Add thyme and bay leaves to pan.  Sauté all ingredients together for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so that nothing sticks to the pan. With absolutely no evidence, I’m convinced this step is what makes the soup really come together and taste good. This is because this step is when it smells the most amazing and you can see the peas start to get a beautiful green.
  5. Add broth, bring to a simmer.
  6. At this point, I like to put the soup, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven to let it slow cook. I set a timer and check every 30 minutes. It is generally done in 1.5 hours. You can also just let it simmer on low on your stovetop, stirring from time to time so it doesn’t stick to the bottom. If you leave it too long and it thickens more than you’d like (I’m notorious for doing this), add some more veggie broth to thin it.
  7. You know the soup is done when you try it and the peas have broken down nicely and are soft.
  8. The broth is already pretty salty, so at this point you may not need more salt, but I do, because apparently I am partly made of salt.
  9. Add sour cream for garnish (leave off, and you have yourself a vegan meal) and chopped green or red onions.

One thing you’ll note is that I don’t add garlic, which most recipes do.  This is because I just don’t find anything better or different in this soup when I do add garlic.  Strange but true!