This vegetarian split pea soup is made with a touch of liquid smoke and smoked paprika in place of the traditional ham. Perfect for a plant-based meal!
There’s nothing quite like a comforting bowl of soup. And how about split pea soup? It’s the cozy equivalent of blueberry pancakes and pumpkin spiced coffee, right? This vegetarian split pea soup is one of our favorite healthy dinner recipes since it’s not only hearty and delicious, but it’s also incredibly easy to make. While the pea green color makes it not the prettiest of meals, it can be very tasty when made correctly! Here we’ve used a few tricks to substitute for the traditional ham hock. Here are our secrets to the perfect vegetarian split pea soup…which it turns out is also a vegan split pea soup, too. (Score.)
How to make vegetarian split pea soup
Of course, the easiest way to make vegetarian split pea soup is to buy a bag of split peas with a flavoring packet and just add water. But when experimenting with our own recipe, we found that simply adding some sautéed onions and garlic to a vegetable broth base gives great flavor. We also added some liquid smoke to mimic the ham that normally gives the soup flavor.
Cooking down the split peas in this soup causes them to disintegrate into a thick, stew-like texture. We used an immersion blender to blend our vegetarian split pea soup a bit after cooking, but not too much – we like to keep it fairly chunky.
If you don’t have any liquid smoke, feel free to omit it or try adding a pinch of chipotle powder instead. Chipotle powder is spicy yet smoky; you won’t need much of it, but if you’re craving that ham-like, smoky flavor it’ll do the trick. The smoked paprika will also add a subtle smokiness to this dish, so you could mix a little bit of that into the soup as well.
Want to use up that liquid smoke? Here are a few other recipes where we use liquid smoke:
How to serve vegetarian split pea soup
Serve this vegan and vegetarian split pea soup with some crusty bread or a simple side salad for a full meal. It keeps well in the fridge for up to five days, and it actually tastes better the longer it sits! If you don’t want to fuss with making sides, enjoy this soup by itself and crush up some crackers to stir in. This recipe makes enough for four good-sized servings, so you should have plenty to eat.
To freeze this soup for later, let it cool completely to room temperature before pouring it into a freezer-safe container. Glass jars and freezer bags would both work well, but really anything will work. We like to freeze soups in individual portions so we can thaw out exactly the amount we need for a single serving. This vegetarian split pea soup will last for a few months in the freezer, and it reheats beautifully.
This vegetarian split pea soup recipe is…
Vegetarian, gluten-free, plant-based, vegan, and dairy-free.Print
This vegetarian split pea soup is made smoky with a touch of liquid smoke and smoked paprika. Perfect for a winter lunch or dinner!
- Chop 1 onion and 4 carrots. Mince 4 garlic cloves.
- In a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onion and carrots and saute for 2 minutes. Add garlic and 1 pound split peas and saute for 1 minute.
- Add 8 cups vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 to 55 minutes, until the split peas fall apart and the soup becomes thickened. With a hand-held immersion blender, pulse a few times to yield a smoother yet still chunky texture.
- Taste, then season with 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (to taste), kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. Garnish with smoked paprika if desired.
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: vegan split pea soup
Looking for more vegan and vegetarian soup recipes?
Still craving cozy? Here are some of our coziest soup recipes:
- Easy Tomato Basil Soup
- Vegetarian Tortellini Soup
- Golden Vegetable Soup Recipe
- Creamy Corn Chowder (or Vegan Corn Chowder)
- Tomato Sage Chickpea Soup
- Za’atar Spiced Butternut Squash Soup
- Creamy Coconut Curry Pantry Soup
- Cozy Vegetable Soup
- Instant Pot Wild Rice Soup Recipe
- Creamy Vegan Spinach Potato Leek Soup
- Quinoa Black Bean Vegan Chili
- Golden Vegetable Soup Recipe
- Creamy Vegan Tomato Soup
- 13 Easy Soup Recipes for a Cozy Evening
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.