I’ve been told by many people that this is the best vegan split pea soup recipe. If you’re looking for an instant pot recipe, stovetop, or slow cooker recipe, this quick and easy recipe is sure to deliver an affordable, satisfying and flavorful gluten free soup every time. With only 10 common ingredients and 1 pot, you’ll have vegan split pea soup ready to welcome the family home on busy weekday nights.
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Why You’ll Love This Vegan Split Pea Soup Recipe
- Simple Plant Based Ingredients
- Easy to Make
- One Pot Meal
- Dairy Free
- Paleo Friendly
- Gluten Free Friendly
- Nut Free
- Soy Free
What Makes This Vegan Split Pea Soup Recipe Different Than Traditional Split Pea Soup?
The main difference between this vegan version and classic split pea soup recipes is that the vegan recipe doesn’t use animal products. Both vegetarian split pea soup recipe and traditional recipes use animal products.
I wanted to make a simple recipe using simple plant-based ingredients that was good for the whole family. Both meat eaters and vegans alike will enjoy this delicious split pea soup.
There are so many versions of split pea soup: vegetarian split pea soup, split pea soup with ham and even some low carb split pea soups. Some of these recipes are healthy/vegetarian, but I didn’t see many vegan versions!
So I came up with this flavorful split pea soup using minimal clean ingredients. After reading through a few different recipes, I came up with my own version.
Is This Vegan Split Pea Soup Recipe Gluten Free?
Yes, this vegan split pea soup recipe is completely gluten free because the recipe ingredients are all vegetable based. None of the ingredients are derived from wheat sources or are processed ingredients that could be cross contaminated with gluten.
What Are Green Split Peas?
The name split peas gives the secret away! Split peas are a type of field pea that are grown specifically to be dried out. They are peas that have been dried out and split in half. Farmers dry out peas and other lentils in order to preserve them for the cold seasons. Split peas have become a staple in our diets.
Split peas are a great pantry staple to have on hand because:
- Tons of protein
- Zero Cholesterol
- Long shelf life
Split peas are split along the seam when they’re harvested to speed up their drying and cooking times. People say that splitting the peas eliminates the need to soak them because they cook faster.
From a health perspective I think it is still important for you to soak your split peas so that they are easier to digest. Soaking your split peas will also ensure that they are clean before you cook them.
What You’ll Need to Make this Health Vegan Split Pea Soup
The full amount of ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe are in the recipe card.
- Olive Oil
- Yellow Onion
- Jarred Garlic
- Bay Leaves
- Dried Oregano
- Split Peas
- Fresh Parsley
- Apple Cider Vinegar
You can use veggie stock if you like, but I found that water works well as long as you add 2 teaspoons of sea salt. The less shopping I have to do the better. Carrying home two heavy boxes of veggie stock is cumbersome. Of course, you can make your own stock… But who has time for that?
How to Make Perfect Split Pea Soup: Not too Thick or Thin
I always found split pea soup challenging to make. If you add too much water it becomes runny. But if you don’t add enough, the soup becomes thick enough to stand a spoon in. Of course you can mediate thick soup by adding more water. But this comes at the cost of diluting the flavor.
I find that the soup tastes the best if you don’t have to add any water in at the end. I always air on the side of caution and add more water to the soup than recommended. That way I can make sure that the split peas are fully cooked (soft) before most of my cooking liquid evaporates.
How to Make Vegan Split Pea Soup On the Stove Top
Step 1: Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. When the oil is hot add chopped onion and 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Sauté the onions until they’re translucent (5 minutes). Next, add the garlic. Stir for 1 minute. Next, add the celery, carrots, bay leaf and oregano. Cook while stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.
Step 2: Add the split peas, water and another teaspoon of sea salt. Bring the soup to a boil and let it simmer for 45 minutes, with the lid ajar. During the last five minutes, stir in the parsley.
Step 3: Once the split peas are fully cooked, turn off the heat. Transfer 2 cups of the soup to a high speed blender. Emulsify and add the pureed soup back into the pot. Stir in apple cider vinegar and season with pepper.
How to make vegan split pea soup in the instant pot?
If you want the split pea soup in half the time, you can use an instant pot! An instant pot is a simple to use multicooker that has functions including slow cooking, pressure cooking, rice cooking, steaming, warming and sauteing. These functions work together to speed up the cooking process for anything you can put in a pot!
If you just took your instant pot out of the box and are feeling a bit overwhelmed, don’t worry. I’ll tell you exactly how to set your instant pot so that your vegan split pea soup comes out perfectly.
- Set the instant on sauté mode and add the onions and salt. Cook until the onions are translucent.
- Now set the instant pot to pressure cook. Add the garlic, celery, carrots, bay leaf, oregano, Water, Split Peas and put the lid on the instant pot. Allow the soup to cook on high for 30 minutes.
- Allow the steam to release on its own before removing the lid. Next add a handful of fresh parsley and the vinegar.
- Remove the bay leaf before you serve the soup.
Ingredient Substitutions for Vegan Split Pea Soup
- Instead of green split peas you can use yellow split peas.
- Replace water with veggie broth, vegetable stock, chicken broth or low sodium vegetable stock.
- You can use fresh garlic cloves instead of jarred garlic.
- Don’t have rice vinegar? You can use lemon juice instead.
- If you don’t have dried herbs you can use fresh herbs.
Serving Suggestions for This Vegan Split Pea Soup Recipe
- Serve with crusty bread.
- Add a dash of liquid smoke or smoked paprika for more smokey flavor.
- Add 1 cup of red potatoes for a more hearty soup.
- A dash of soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce will add some umami flavor.
- Garnish with green onion and black pepper.
Time Saving Tips
Pro Tip: Don’t add the onion and garlic into the pot at the same time. Onion takes longer to cook than garlic does. Garlic also burns more easily. Burnt garlic can ruin a dish. So instead of worrying about it, add it later! If by some chance you do burn the garlic, start over. The soup will be bitter.
Use Jarred Garlic – Jarred garlic has a more mature, less spicy texture than raw garlic, making it ideal for this recipe. Using jarred garlic will also save you time! If you want to use fresh garlic you can, just make sure to mince the garlic well.
How to freeze split pea soup?
Freezing split pea soup is easy to do! Just follow these step by step instructions:
- Once you’re done cooking the soup, remove it from the pot and break the soup down into single serving portions in 1 pint containers.
- Leave the lids off of the containers and line them up on the counter. Breaking the soup down into smaller portions will help it cool off faster. You need to wait until the soup’s temperature cools down to room temperature before you can safely put the lid on the soup. If you put the Tupperware lid on the soup when it’s still hot, the heat will create a vacuum seal. This will make the soup harder to open.
- Place the soup in the freezer and allow it to freeze over 4-6 hours.
How Do I Reheat Vegan Split Pea Soup on the Stovetop
The best way to reheat split pea soup is to warm it up on the stove top in a small pot. If you follow the instructions above on how to freeze your vegan split pea soup by breaking it down into smaller portions…
- Thaw out the split pea soup in the fridge, under cold water, or the microwave.
- Place the soup in a small saucepan and cook it over low heat and stir every few minutes.
- Within 7 minutes, the soup will start to steam. This means it’s hot enough to eat!
How Do You Reheat Vegan Split Pea Soup in the Microwave?
Place the soup in a microwave safe dish and put a paper plate on top of it and another microwave safe dish on the bottom. Reheat the soup for 4 minutes. Stir the soup at every 1 minute interval.
How To Store The Soup
- Fridge: This soup can be kept in the refrigerator for up to five days in an air tight container.
- Freeze: You can freeze vegan split pea soup for up to 3 months. Just store in a freezer safe container and leave 1 or 2 inches of room at the top for expansion.
- Reheat – Reheat the soup on the stove top. Run frozen soup under hot water. Pop the soup out of the Tupperware and into a pan. Heat on medium low, stir often. In the microwave, heat the soup up at 1 minute intervals. Stir in between each minute until the soup is hot enough. Microwaves heat soup unevenly. Parts of the soup will be boiling hot, while the other side of the bowl is still ice cold. That’s why I recommend stirring at each 1 minute interval.
Is Homemade Split Pea Soup Healthy?
Of course, it depends what you put in your homemade split pea soup. Homemade split pea soup is almost always healthier than store bought split pea soup even with or without ham!
When you make homemade split pea soup you can control the amount of sodium that goes into it. Processed soups always have more salt than homemade soups. It’s important to limit salt intake if you have heart disease, high blood pressure or kidney disease.
Another reason homemade split pea soup is healthy is because it won’t have chemicals or preservatives in it like processed split pea soup. Canned split pea soup will always have preservatives in it to keep bacteria from growing and spoiling the soup.
Cup of split pea soup has 27 grams of carbohydrates in it. That’s half of the daily recommended intake for carbohydrates on a low-carb or ketogenic diet. So no, while spit pea soup has many health benefits including (anti-inflammatory, anticancer and helps lower cholesterol) it is not keto friendly.
Should Split Peas Be Soaked Before Cooking?
This is always a topic of great debate. To soak the split peas or not to soak, that is the question. In my opinion, as a certified health supportive chef and nutritionist who specializes in gut health, I think you should always soak the split peas before you cook them. Here’s why:
Wash off Digestive Inhibitors
Legumes are covered with digestive inhibitors. While digestive inhibitors are not toxic or dangerous to your health they do make it hard for your body to digest the legumes. That’s why they are called digestion inhibitors. They are enzymes meant to inhibit (prevent) the digestive process from taking place.
Legumes are covered in digestive inhibitors including lectins, amylase, and trypsin inhibitors. These enzymes are designed to allow the legume to pass through an animal that has eaten it completely intact.
That way when the animal defecates it can grow in a new place. This is literally how forestation happens. When a heavy rain hits the undigested legume, the inhibitors are washed off and the seed can then germinate and grow into a plant.
Soaking Split Peas Removes Animal Feces and Other Debris
Soaking your split peas before cooking them is also a good way to ensure that they’re clean. Lentils are stored in huge silos and warehouses for a long period of time. These storage facilities are usually infested with roaches, mice and rats.
Therefore, it isn’t uncommon for rat droppings and the droppings of other animals to be mixed in with the split peas. Not to mention the dust and dirt also present on the legumes.
Rinsing split peas will wash off debris from the surface of the bean, but unless you are very thorough, rinsing is not as effective as soaking when it comes to cleaning your legumes.
How to Soak Split Peas
To soak split peas place them in a bowl of water for 12-24 hours. Place the split peas in a colander and run the peas under water until the water runs clean.
Can you soak split peas too long?
You cannot soak split peas for too long as long as you change the water every 12 hours. While the peas themselves will be fine, the water (if it isn’t kept below 40 degrees) can become a breeding ground for bacteria that will contaminate the peas.
I believe that a 24 hour long soak is long enough. If you ever soak split peas and the water appears putrid or stinky, if there is film in the water or slime, discard the peas and the water.
Always make sure to thoroughly rinse the split peas after you soak them to remove any debris from the split peas that could contaminate your food and cause foodborne illnesses.
Does soaking split peas reduce gas?
Yes, soaking split peas before you cook them reduces gas because it washes off the enzymes that act as digestive inhibitors before you cook them. Digestive inhibitors literally prevent your body from digesting the split peas.
As a result, the peas rot in the intestine and gas is produced as a result. By removing the digestive inhibitors you will help your body digest the split peas faster, before they have a chance to putrefy and produce intestinal gas.
Can You Make Split Pea Soup Without Oil?
Yes you can make split pea soup without oil by using another type of fat source to coat the bottom of the pan. You need to use some sort of fat to prevent the vegetables from burning when you saute them.
Some alternatives to oil include ghee or unsalted organic butter. You can also use a nut based vegan butter. If you want to skip the fat all together you can water sauté the vegetables but beware that as the water evaporates the vegetables will be more likely to burn.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
Split pea soup is made from dried field peas and pea soup is made from fresh or frozen spring peas.
If you like smooth split pea soup instead of chunky you can blend it with an immersion blender or in a high speed blender when it’s done cooking. As long as your split peas are nice and mushy the soup will blend into a silky and creamy consistency.
If you over cook split pea soup nothing bad happens. The soup may dry out and get too thick. You can fix this by adding 1 extra cup of broth to the soup.
If your split pea soup is not mushy chances are that your split peas are undercooked.
If your pea soup is grainy it is probably because you added too much salt to the soup before the peas were done cooking. In this recipe I do have you add salt to the onions to draw the water out. If you want perfectly mushy split pea soup, you can use 1/4th of the salt to sauté the onions and then stir the rest of the salt in after the peas have cooked for 30 minutes.
You should soak the split peas minimally for 12 hours to 24 hours.
Split pea soup can be frozen for up to 3 months. If you leave the soup in the freezer for longer than a few weeks the soup will still taste the same and retain its freshness.
Gluten Free Soup Recipes
The world of gluten free soups is a big one. If you simply Google gluten free soups you’ll see over 10 million results! I reached out to the best gluten free bloggers on the internet and they came up with these awesome gluten free soup recipes for you to try. No matter what kind of soup you like there is something for everyone here. Most of these recipes are both gluten free and vegan. Some are vegetarian.
Vegan Split Pea Soup Recipe
- Dutch Oven or 4 Quart Soup Pot
For the Split Pea Soup
- Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add chopped onion and 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Saute the onions until they're translucent (5 minutes). Next, add the garlic. Stir for one minute. Then add the celery, carrots, bay leaf and oregano. Saute, stiring occasionally for 10 minutes.
- Add the split peas, water and another teaspoon of sea salt. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 45 minutes with the lid slightly ajar. During the last five minutes of cooking, stir in the parsley.
- Once the split peas are fully cooked, turn off the heat. Transfer 2 cups of the soup to a high speed blender. Emulsify and add the pureed soup back into the pot. Stir in apple cider vinegar and season with pepper.
- How to Store and Reheat Split Pea Soup
- Fridge: This soup can be kept in the refrigerator for up to five days in an air tight container.
- Freeze: You can freeze vegan split pea soup for up to 3 months. Just store in a freezer safe container and leave 1 or two inches of room at the top for expansion.
- Reheat – Reheat the soup on the stove top. Run frozen soup under hot water. Pop the soup out of the Tupperware and into a pan. Heat on medium low, stir often. In the microwave heat the soup up at 1 minute intervals. Stir in between minutes until your desired temperature is reached.