I know, I know. You think you can’t make a great split pea soup without ham, right? You read the title of this post and thought – OXYMORON! (heh, and boy is this chick a moron, right?!) I hear ya. And I know you’re right about traditional split pea soup being delish. Though I personally haven’t eaten pork in 24 years, I used to looooove me some ham, and definitely in split pea soup. So I hope you’ll trust that I wanted to make sure that this vegetarian split pea soup checked out with even the pickiest eaters before posting it. And for that reason, I went to my very own picky crew: my four kiddos. And spoiler alert: it passed the test with flying colors.
So here’s the thing – since we’re not using any meat in this recipe, I knew that spices were essential to making it taste good. I first tried a version with a strong focus on curry powder … annnnd then I realized that I’m not sure that I love curry powder. Curry powder is definitely good in the right foods (such as my traditional Indian foods), but it just didn’t do it for me. So I tried another batch with completely different spices. And I liked it. I had my kids taste test both versions and let me know which they preferred, and it turns out that they probably got the no-curry-in-mom’s-split-pea-soup gene from me. Side note: at this point, we had a lot of split pea soup:).
I served this warm and comforting bowl of vegetarian split pea soup (with kale!) with grilled cheese sandwiches, which was perfect for the cold weather that surprisingly stopped back in town here in Charlotte. Oh, but for those up north – I guess I don’t have much to complain about. One more thing before I get to the recipe – I tried this with both vegetable broth and chicken broth. Yes, you can use vegetable broth to make it vegetarian, but it is truly better (IMO) with the chicken broth. Like I told my friend Shawn – I’m a “confusedatarian”. And I’m okay with it!
Tasty split pea soup, chock full of vegetables, and sans the ham.
- 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 carrots diced
- 3 stalks celery diced
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups green split peas soaked for 4+ hours
- 4 cups vegetarian broth or chicken for non-veg broth
- 2 large handfuls of chopped kale ribs removed
Soak the split peas for 4+ hours. After soaking, drain and rinse.
Turn on the saute function of your Instant Pot (IP) and add the oil. Add onion and saute for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic, carrots and celery and saute for another minute. After that minute is up, add spices (aside from the bay leaf) and hit the cancel button. Add broth immediately and then the split peas and bay leaf. Stir a few times.
Lock the lid and press the Manual button and set it for 18 minutes with a Sealed release. After the cooking time is up, let it sit for 20 minutes before releasing any steam that is left (by moving the gauge to Venting).
Open the lid and immerse kale in soup; stir with a large spoon - kale will wilt/cook in the warm liquid.
Let cool and remove bay leaf before enjoying. Add additional salt or pepper to taste.
I made this in my Instant Pot (are you tired of hearing me talk about it yet??);) which I highly recommend. However, this can be made on the stove or in the slow cooker as well:
To make this on the stove top: Sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil until soft. Add the carrots and celery and sauté them just until they begin to soften; add the spices and cook for one more minute, stirring frequently. Quickly add the broth and then the remaining ingredients, bring the soup up to a simmer and let simmer until the peas have broken down and thickened the soup. Add a little water if needed during cooking.
To make this in a slow cooker: Place all ingredients into your slow cooker instead of an Instant Pot/pressure cooker and cook on high for four hours, or on low for eight.
So what do you think? Does this stand up to traditional split pea soup made with ham? I’d love to hear your comments below!
*I recommend organic ingredients when feasible.
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