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Vegetarian split pea soup?

I am seeking a recipe for great vegetarian split pea soup...no ham hocks, please! With all the snow we've gotten, we need comfort food!

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  1. cheesecake17 once posted a recipe she liked:

    when i make vegetarian pea soup i like to add a pinch of smoked paprika - it adds a smoky note that you'd typically get from ham or bacon.

    6 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      My sister uses a bacon salt, which is vegan to give her split pea soup that "smokey" flavor.

      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        Thanks for the link and for the paprika suggestion...I will definitely try both!

        1. re: mom22tots

          I can't tell you how much I love this soup. It just comes together so quickly- and you can sub things and leave things out. Made it last week (snow day) and I used sweet potato instead of regular potato.

          1. re: cheesecake17

            And what did that do to the flavor? Was it okay?

            1. re: mom22tots

              sorry for such a late response

              we loved it with sweet potato- had more flavor than with regular potato. didn't quite melt into the soup like regular potato does.

        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Smoked paprika is a great idea! I've always used just a very small touch of liquid smoke in my split pea soup to give it that really great "Ham" flavor. I've also smoked potatoes on a meat smoker and then added them to things that need a smokey flavor like split pea and hash.

        3. I've tried a few & I recently made this one & it's my favorite so far-- Andersen's (google Pea Soup Andersen's for actual site)

          I used fresh thyme because I had it, just pulled out the stem & bay leaf before using the immersion blender right in the pot instead of sieve.
          I also add a little balsamic vinegar at the end.

          1. I've made what I'm sure is hundreds of pots over the years. My favorite, unusual ingredient: mustard, in addition to the usual suspects (onion, garlic, carrot, celery). The mustard wakes up the earthiness of the split peas, and doesn't end up reading as mustardy, if that makes any sense.

            Also good: If you make a big enough batch, eat from it the first day, then simmer it till it's thicker before you cool and store it. You'll then have something more akin to a dip or a spread, which is delicious on hippy-ish whole-wheat bread.

            7 Replies
            1. re: dmd_kc

              What kind of mustard do you recommend?

              1. re: mom22tots

                I've used all sorts, from dry to deli to Dijon. My "recipes" are such haphazard affairs -- because split pea and bean soups are so versatile. Sorry I can't give much more detail than that, but no two pots have ever been the same.

                1. re: mom22tots

                  I made a batch last night and made sure to note the recipe:

                  1 baseball-sized onion, brunoised
                  5 cloves garlic, minced
                  1 cup carrot, shredded

                  Saute in cooking spray/oil of your choice till quite tender -- about 10 minutes or more. You can't overdo this step, really, and it'd be delicious taken all the way till it's caramelized if you like.


                  1 pound split peas, sorted
                  1 quart chicken broth (vegetable would be just fine)
                  1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
                  Salt to taste

                  Bring just to the boil, then reduce to a fairly hard simmer

                  Cook, partially coered, until the peas disintegrate. This can take anywhere between 20 and 40 minutes. Add water to adjust consistency to your liking.

                2. re: dmd_kc

                  "then simmer it till it's thicker before you cool and store it."
                  you can also toss in a little barley or oatmeal to thicken it up...plus you get the bonus of the added fiber and nutrients.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    I'm always up for the extras. Do you use a smaller-cut oatmeal, or old-fashioned? I'm trying to imagine those textures together, and it doesn't quite compute.

                    1. re: dmd_kc

                      standard oatmeal. it disintegrates right into the soup...

                      for the barley, if you don't like the texture you can just give the soup a buzz with the hand blender to break it down.

                  2. re: dmd_kc

                    I eat the leftover thickened soup straight from the fridge! Sometimes I dip pita chips in it.

                  3. Big fan of the crock pot for split pea! I also like to puree in the food processor, onion, celery (leaves and all) carrots & potato. The other night I added a can of crushed tomato and made it tomato split pea with curry.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: waitress

                      Always looking to put my crock pot to use...any tips? Have never done peas or beans in there.

                      1. re: mom22tots

                        Dried beans are the best in the crock pot. Soak your beans over night, I soak everything but lentils. You can cook them straight from the bag, but soak if you think about it. You would be amazed how you could get away with salt, pepper and water. For basic bean starters for soup, I use can of tomatoes, onion, celery & carrots.

                        I start things on the stove and let it cook in the crock pot, beef stew, chili. I make sure my liquid is two inches over whatever I am cooking. If you aren't there to supervise the water can really cook out.

                        Also don't forget a hit of wine or beer! I was in my fridge looking for a dark beer to pour in chili, all I had was a twisted tea wine cooler (that someone left :) and added that to chili and it turned out great.

                        1. re: waitress

                          That's hysterical...who knew?! Thanks for the crock pot tips--I am sort of afraid of mine ;)

                          1. re: waitress

                            I've found out the hard way that dried beans (except lentils) MUST be soaked overnight. I've found crockpot recipes for bean soups which claimed to get things like split peas or Great Northern beans cooked through by just cooking them on Low for a LONG time (10-12 hrs. or so), without preliminary soaking -- but the beans always are still hard if you follow those recipes as written (and who wants to eat "bean pebbles" for supper?).
                            If your family doesn't drink alcohol or have it around the house, vegetable stock might be another way to have a more flavorful liquid than plain water in pea soup. (Cook's Illustrated likes Swanson's veggie broth; Penzey's Spices has a concentrated vegetable soup base that you add to water.) You probably won't need any additional salt if you use vegetable stock, though, as most of them are quite salty already.

                            1. re: CatherineMcClarey

                              Thank you...I've had the same experience with recipes that don't call for the beans to be soaked. Rock soup anyone?!

                              1. re: CatherineMcClarey

                                I never soak beans before cooking and generally don't have the undercooked bean problem. The only exception is if I forget to cover them and some of the water cooks off, leaving the beans on the top undercooked. But I find that if I stick a bag of great northerns or pintos in the crockpot before bed they are ready when I get up the next morning. I use about 6c water to 2c or 1lb beans, or at least 3 inches of water above the level of dried beans.

                        2. Pretty easy to just omit the ham hocks completely, or you can omit them and then add a little liquid smoke or smoked something-or-other if you want that flavor.
                          I thought I had a recipe that I had combined from a few online ones, but I couldn't find it... my gf posted a basic method here:
                          I like mine with carrots too, and I think maybe a little of Yukon Gold or a similar type of potato. Overall, split pea soups are pretty forgiving - if you find a basic method online that looks good, it'll probably work.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: will47

                            Finally found my recipe:

                            1 package (16 oz) split peas
                            6 C water
                            2 C veg stock
                            2 bay leaves
                            1 1/2 tsp or to taste liquid smoke (optional)
                            kosher salt, to taste
                            olive oil (or other veg oil), for sauteeing
                            1 leek, halved and cut into small rounds
                            3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
                            1 large / 2 small carrot, small dice
                            2 med yukon gold or similar potatoes, small dice
                            pepper, to taste
                            minced chives, for garnish
                            crusty bread

                            Soak peas and drain

                            In a large dutch oven or stockpot, bring peas to boil in water and veg stock along w/ bay leaves, a little kosher salt and liquid smoke. let boil for 2 minutes; then lower to a simmer and cook covered for 45 min to an hour, until soft.

                            Saute leeks and garlic in a little olive oil or other oil, add carrot and potato and saute until coated with oil and warm. Add to split pea mixture, and simmer until vegetables are tender.

                            Extract bay leaves if you can find them, puree, if desired, and add more seasoning to taste.

                            Top with chives, and serve with crusty bread.

                            You can also include a little baked tofu or Chinese vegetarian duck as a ham substitute

                            1. re: will47

                              Sounds great...thanks. Have you ever tried it witht he tofu?

                              1. re: mom22tots

                                Not sure about the baked tofu, but last time, I had some tofu-based smoky tasting veggie duck thing (either a packaged thing from a trip to Shanghai or my girlfriend's mom's homemade tofu-skin veggie duck), and it was pretty good in there. Looks like you're in / near NY, so maybe you can find something similar....

                          2. Deborah Madison has a really fabulous split pea in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. It includes marjoram, paprika, bay leaves, thyme, and soy sauce.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: odkaty

                              I've been making this one often of late. We like it with split yellow peas better than with green ones. The recipe in the book calls for split green peas.

                            2. This is my recipe and I swear by it. Have made it more times than I can remember. It really doesn't need much else - the split peas give it plenty of body and the flavour is excellent. You can, I suppose, add some additional herbs - but I suggest you make it once just like this and see before mucking it up with a lot of stuff. I don't miss the smoky ham either. And I'm not a vegetarian.

                              Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

                              2 cups split peas (green or yellow - it doesn’t matter)
                              8 cups cold water
                              2 stalks celery, chopped
                              2 medium carrots, chopped
                              2 small onions, chopped
                              1 tsp. salt
                              1/2 tsp. pepper
                              2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

                              Rinse the split peas in several changes of water, then place them into a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add the cold water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the peas are soft.

                              Add the celery, carrots, onions, salt, pepper, and parsley. Bring back to a boil, and simmer, covered, for another 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the split peas have almost completely disintegrated. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

                              Makes 6 to 8 servings.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Nyleve

                                So I tried your recipe while marooned in my house by all the snow in NJ. It was delicious--thanks for sharing. One question--it turned out a little thinner than split peas I've made in the past...do you puree it?

                                1. re: mom22tots

                                  It usually purees itself - and it's often so thick that I have to add extra liquid! Maybe different peas turn out differently. Sorry - if you make it again, just reduce the liquidand it'll be fine.

                                  1. re: mom22tots

                                    I always puree mine with an immersion blender. Then I add in frozen peas and heat them until they're warmed. That adds a little textural interest to an otherwise delicious-but-boring-feeling soup.

                                    1. re: CindyJ

                                      Interesting...regular frozen peas?

                                2. My version is pretty similar to most of the recipes here. I use saute a couple of onions and a little celery in some olive oil until slightly softened and then add some garlic and cook until fragrant. I then add the split peas, a couple of bay leaves, some fresh or dried thyme, and pepper and then cover with veggie stock. (In a pinch, I use Better than Bouillon Veggie or a Knorr's veggie bouillon cube or two.) After simmering for a while, when the peas are fairly soft, I might add a couple of cubed potatoes and cook until finished.

                                  I always taste carefully for seasoning when it's done, and add some soy sauce for a bit more depth of flavor, along with some salt if needed and more pepper.

                                  1. Here's a link to my go-to recipe for split pea soup. The addition of parsnips adds a hint of sweetness. It's a vegetarian recipe with an option for adding meat, rather than the other way around. http://books.google.com/books?id=Tn0k...

                                    1. Thanks....sounds delicious! Can't be veggie b/c it's made with chicken stock, but I'm sure it would be fine with veggie stock.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: mom22tots

                                        Yes you are correct; thank u. I didnt realize this one had chicken stock in it; most of the time I use veggie. It is delicious either way. The mint is what makes it.

                                        1. Does anyone ever add maple syrup to their split pea soup?

                                          1. Sunday soups made a delicious Yellow Split Pea soup this week. It is wonderful and we found Yellow split peas at Whole Foods.
                                            Yellow Split Pea Soup:

                                            2 C Dried Yellow Split Peas, washed
                                            1/2 C Rice
                                            1 Potato, peeled and chopped
                                            1 Onion, chopped
                                            2 T Olive Oil
                                            Juice of 3 Lemons
                                            8 C Water
                                            4 C Vegetable Stock
                                            Salt/Pepper to taste

                                            1. In a soup pot, boil the yellow split peas in the water. Skim off any foam from the surface.
                                            2. Once boiling, add the vegetable stock, potatoes and rice. Stir to prevent sticking. Turn down heat, cover and simmer for about an hour, until rice and potatoes are cooked.
                                            3. Fry the onion in olive oil and a pinch of salt/pepper until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
                                            4. Add the onions and lemon juice towards the end of cooking. Salt/pepper to taste.

                                            Serves 6-8

                                            For more photos and tips go to http://ww.sundaysoups.com

                                            1. With autumn in the air I had just purchased a six pack of Lost Coast Eight-Ball Stout. After reading this discussion, I added about 1/2 cup to the pot of split peas in my slow cooker. Wow! Had a friend over later who commented on how great the soup was.

                                              1. I just gave this recipe to someone else. I love it! http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2006/10/... it has sweet potatoes and kale. Yum. And low calorie!