Yellow Split Pea Vegan Soup
Looking for some easy vegan recipes for beginners? This yellow split pea vegan soup is a recipe is quick, easy and healthy. Seriously. It’s loaded with vegetables: yellow split peas, carrots, celery and potatoes. It’s warm and comforting: the perfect vegan recipe to cut your vegan teeth on. Give it a try!
When Food Bloggers Punt on Cooking
A couple of days ago, I was happily clicking away at my computer at 5:30 in the evening. I was contentedly banging through my to-do list and ignoring the complete lack of smells coming from my kitchen. What can I say? Despite this blog, some nights I just don’t feel like cooking.
I tried to convince my family to go out to eat, but even I wasn’t terribly enthusiastic about that idea. I live in a small mountain town in Colorado and November is what we call mud season. This means that the trails are too wet to hike or bike and the ski resort has yet to have enough snow (read: mud). It also means that many of the local restaurants are closed to rest up for the next busy tourist season. It’s just a good time to hibernate.
So, I dug into my fridge and pantry and put together this Yellow Split Pea Soup. I’ve been tinkering with yellow split peas as an ingredient in a vegan dal recipe, so I did happen to have them. As for the rest of the ingredients – those are just staples that I keep around each week. Then, within 45 minutes (15-20 active cooking minutes), I had this healthy bowl of vegan soup on the table and leftovers for lunch the next day. Not bad for a punt, eh?
The Easy Vegan Recipe Series
This experience made me think that there’s something to be said for having a collection of vegan recipes that are: easy, quick, healthy and that don’t require any extraordinary ingredients. Maybe you don’t have a mud season, but maybe this idea appeals to you as well? I hope so. Because cooking at home doesn’t have to be a chore. And, more often than not, when you cook at home, you’re going to make healthier choices.
So, this yellow split pea vegan soup is just the start of a plan I am putting together for an easy vegan recipes series. If this interests you, please sign up for my newsletter. The plan will include a list of pantry staples that are smart to keep around as well as a list of fresh ingredients that I recommend habitually picking up each week.
What Yellow Split Pea Soup and Easy Vegan Recipes Have in Common
This vegan recipe is a simple one! Almost as simple as throwing everything into a pot and being done. Almost.
You see, eating healthy does require a little extra work. I find with vegan cooking, it’s worth the time to coax as much flavor out of your ingredients as possible. When you forego hambone (which is typically included in split pea soup for a rich, smoky umami flavor), you have to find that flavor elsewhere. While meat and cheese are two foods that might first come to mind when you think about umami flavors, there are many vegan-friendly ways to achieve this as well. If you’re not familiar with umami, it’s the savory taste sensation. In a soup like this vegan yellow split pea soup, if you didn’t have this sensation, you might describe the soup as “thin” or “bland.”
Onions and tomatoes are two vegetables that, when cooked properly, can provide a lot of umami flavor. I’ve included both in this yellow split pea soup recipe. To get the most flavor out of the onions, I’ve suggested that they be sautéed over a low heat for 10-15 minutes until they’re a rich brown. Likewise, a few steps later, I’ll have you include tomato paste. If you allow this to caramelize along with the onions (and at this point, garlic), you’ll get a much deeper, richer flavor. These two ingredients, along with some salt and a dash of fresh lemon juice at the end of the recipe, will offer up a hearty, rich, vegetable-based soup with significant depth-of-flavor.
Despite this extra care, I still think that this vegan recipe is very easy. It includes only 11 ingredients. The recipe will take you about 45 minutes, but most of this time is idle. You’re just going to be allowing your ingredients to simmer until they’re ready. Active cooking time is only about 15-20 minutes. Think of it this way: by the time you get to a restaurant, order then wait, this option is faster!
Yellow Split Peas, Carrots and Tomatoes Get Along…in the End
Here’s another food chemistry fun fact: yellow split peas (as well as other legumes) and carrots don’t soften very well if you add an acid too early in the recipe. Tomato paste is an acid and (as I’ve learned from experience) adding the yellow split peas and carrots at the beginning with the tomato paste is a recipe for tough, hard yellow split peas and carrots that just won’t soften. To get around this, I simmer my yellow split peas and carrots separately and add them at the end. Then, I hit the whole pot with a few pulses from my immersion blender and end up with a wonderfully rich, silky split pea soup that is almost entirely comprised of vegetables.
Yellow Split Pea Vegan Soup
Looking for some easy vegan recipes for beginners? This yellow split pea soup is a recipe is quick, easy and healthy. Seriously. It’s loaded with vegetables: yellow split peas, carrots, celery and potatoes. It’s warm and comforting: the perfect vegan recipe to cut your vegan teeth on. Give it a try!
- 2 cups dried yellow split peas rinsed and debris picked out
- 1 tbsp extra virgin oilve oil
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes diced
- 2 carrots washed and sliced into 1/4" coins
- 1 celery stalk diced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 qt low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 handful fresh baby spinach
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- salt & pepper to taste
Rinse and drain the yellow split peas. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium-sized sauce pan. Add the yellow split peas and simmer until the split peas are soft. About 30 minutes. You might need to add more water.
In a large stockpot, heat up the olive oil until shimmering. Add the diced onion and, stirring occasionally, sauté on medium-low heat until browned. About 10-15 minutes, being careful not to burn.
Add the garlic and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and increase the heat to medium. Allow the tomato paste to caramelize until it is a dark red.
Add the celery and potatoes and stir to coat. Add salt and pepper to season. Start with 1 tsp of salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper. You will likely want to add more as you taste and cook.
Add the vegetable broth. Simmer until the potatoes are able to be easily pierced with a fork.
In the final 10 minutes of simmering the yellow split peas, add the carrots to the pot with the yellow split peas.
When the split peas and carrots are soft, there should only be a small amount of cooking water remaining. I like to add that to the vegetable broth when I add the carrots and split peas. It usually amounts to ~1 cup of cooking water. If you have more than that, you can drain the excess water before adding.
Add the fresh lemon juice and any additional salt and pepper.
Blend the entire pot with a few pulses of an immersion blender. I like to leave some larger pieces in the soup.
Add the baby spinach and stir until slightly wilted. Serve immediately.
About Herbivore’s Kitchen
Herbivore’s Kitchen is a blog run by me, a plant-based home chef and aspiring food photographer. I switched my and my family’s diet to a plant-based diet after learning about the health benefits of going vegan. Making this change has prompted a variety of food and holistic-lifestyle related questions that I explore through this blog. I talk about how to pick and prepare the most nutritious foods, to how to reduce waste at home, to how to live a more sustainable lifestyle while on the road.