Vegan split pea soup is a healthy and comforting meal any time of year. Instead of the meat included in classic pea soup recipes, we're using dried mushrooms, miso, and a touch of smoked paprika for depth of flavor.
Leftovers taste amazing, and split pea soup freezes well, too. This recipe is oil-free, loaded with satisfying protein and fiber, and made even more delicious with the addition of potatoes. Free from gluten, nuts, and oil.
Why You'll Love It
There's just something magical about split pea soup. Onion, celery, garlic, carrots, and potatoes come together to create that comforting, earthy, savory, thick-and-creamy soup everyone loves.
And considering that split pea soup isn't one of the most attractive dishes in the world, I think its popularity is a real testament to how delicious it is!
Split peas are affordable, easy to cook (no soaking required), and very nutritious. By removing the ham and oil found in most recipes, we're left with a wholesome and flavorful plant-based pea soup full of only the good stuff.
This recipe gets an extra flavor boost from mushrooms and miso. Their impact is subtle, but I really think you'll love it. And if you're not a mushroom fan simply leave them out!
Start to finish this recipe takes a little over an hour to prepare. So let's get to it!
What are split peas?
Split peas are a type of field pea that is dried, peeled, and split in half. This process allows them to cook faster and also means there's no need to soak them overnight.
At the grocery store you may see both yellow and green split peas, though green is typically the more popular variety for split pea soup.
Split peas are high in protein and fiber and low in fat. They break down and become creamy when cooked all the way through, which is part of what makes split pea soup so enjoyable.
- Split peas - look for green split peas, usually found in packages on the same aisle as rice and dried beans or in the bulk bins section.
- Dried mushrooms - shiitakes are great because they have a naturally smoky aroma and flavor, but other varieties work here, too. I often order dried mushrooms online, but you can also find them in small packages at the grocery store, usually near the produce or on the Asian foods aisle.
- Potatoes - russet, gold, or red potatoes are all great.
- Broth - either store-bought or homemade vegetable broth. Or use your favorite vegan bouillon dissolved in water.
- Miso - not pictured (oops!); you can usually find miso in the coolers near the tofu; sometimes you'll find a shelf-stable variety on the aisle near other Japanese ingredients. For this soup we're using white miso.
- Smoked paprika and liquid smoke - just a touch of both adds a subtle smoky flavor.
See recipe card below for quantities and full recipe.
Making a pot of vegan split pea soup on the stovetop isn't the quickest thing in the world, but it's certainly not difficult. There is some chopping involved, but you already knew that, right?
- First, cover the dried mushrooms with boiling water and soak for at least 15 minutes. Then drain and finely chop.
- In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the onion for about 3 minutes. Add the celery, mushrooms, garlic, and herbs/seasonings, and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the broth, water, peas, bay leaves, and salt, and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce heat to low, and set a timer for 30 minutes. Stir the soup occasionally during cooking.
- After 30 minutes, add the carrots and potatoes. Return to a simmer, cover the pot again, reduce heat to low, and cook for another 20 to 25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Scoop some of the broth into a mug, and whisk in the miso. Add this to the pot, and taste and adjust seasonings. Remove the bay leaves before serving.
Tip: Adding the carrots later, at the same time as the potatoes, ensures gorgeous, vibrant carrots in the finished soup. Because who likes mushy, over-cooked carrots?
A big piece of toasted bread is especially nice for dipping in the soup.
Sometimes I like to add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to my bowl for extra pop and acidity.
Finally, if you happen to have fresh parsley on hand, it adds a nice herbal freshness to the soup. You can either add it to the pot near the end of cooking, or as a garnish for individual servings.
- Mushrooms - if you're not a fan simply leave them out. You can also use fresh mushrooms instead of dried (6 to 8 ounces). Add them to the pan with the onion.
- Potatoes - I love the flavor of russets, but gold or red potatoes are also great in this soup.
- Miso - if you don't have miso, increase the salt to taste. Another option is to replace the 4 cups of water with additional vegetable broth.
- Thyme - I actually prefer fresh thyme in this soup but wanted to keep the ingredient list as pantry-friendly as possible. If you have fresh thyme on hand, use 1 ½ to 2 teaspoons chopped.
- Spicy - add several dashes of cayenne or red pepper flakes during cooking to add spicy heat to the soup.
- Meaty - stretch this soup even farther by adding seasoned tempeh, vegan chicken strips, seitan sausage, or vegan ground beef to the finished soup.
- Kid friendly - serve with crumbled crackers or chips on top!
RELATED: If you love healthy soups, check out this creamy Instant Pot lentil soup made with curry powder and a touch of peanut butter!
How to Store Leftover Soup
Vegan split pea soup keeps in the refrigerator for up to 6 days.
To freeze it, let the soup to cool completely, then transfer to a freezer-safe container. Be sure to leave a little room for the liquid to expand. Freeze the soup for up to 2 months.
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Vegan Split Pea Soup
- ¾ ounce dried shiitake mushrooms, optional, see Notes. - or other variety of mushroom
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 3 ribs of celery, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning - Or ¼ tsp ground sage
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 4 cups water
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 16 ounces dry green split peas
- 2 large carrots, skinny ends cut into coins, thick ends cut into half moons
- 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about ¾-inch pieces) - Or gold or red potatoes
- 1 tablespoon white miso - If you don't have miso, increase salt to taste.
- ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon liquid smoke, optional
- First, cover the dried mushrooms in boiling water and soak for at least 15 minutes. Then drain and finely chop.
- Preheat a soup pot over medium heat. Saute the onion for about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, celery, garlic, thyme, paprika, poultry seasoning, and a pinch of salt. Stirring frequently cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add the broth, water, peas, bay leaves, and salt, and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce heat to low, and set a timer for 30 minutes. Stir the soup occasionally during this time.
- After 30 minutes, add the carrots and potatoes to the pot, and stir well. Return to a simmer, cover the pot again, reduce heat to low, and cook for another 20 to 25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
- Turn off the heat, and stir to make it creamy. Scoop some of the soup into a mug or bowl, and whisk in the miso until dissolved. Add the miso slurry to the pot. Taste and adjust seasonings, and add liquid smoke, if desired. Remove the bay leaves from the pot before serving.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.