Mar 16, 2010

Amped-up Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

Legumes like split peas contain soluble fiber, which helps reduce cholesterol.  So for someone like me, legumes are like medicine. And I’ll take my medicine in split pea soup form anytime.

Some vegetarian split pea soups taste like baby food, but my version is definitely for adults.  I livened it up with chives, hefty shots of mustard and vinegar, and smoked paprika to give it a bit of that smoky ham hock taste that I know you love (don’t even try and deny it.)

Note: be sure to get your split peas from a good source and use them promptly, because if they’re too old they will never break down in the soup.  You’ll end up having to throw the whole thing in a blender, and blending hard little peas into submission is not ideal.

Split Pea Soup

2 T. extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, finely diced

2 carrots, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 T. minced fresh chives, divided

1 t. Spanish smoked paprika

2 t. fresh thyme, or 1 t. dried thyme

½ t. freshly ground black pepper

1 bay leaf

2 c. green split peas, rinsed

7 c. water, more if needed

2 c. vegetable broth (use gluten-free broth if you are gluten-sensitive)

½ t. salt

1 T. Dijon mustard (use gluten-free mustard if you are gluten-sensitive)

2 T. red wine or sherry vinegar, or more to taste (use gluten-free variety if you prefer)

Nonfat yogurt (or soy yogurt)

Heat the oil in a large pot or dutch oven. Saute the onions and carrots over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the garlic, 2 T. chives, paprika, thyme and pepper.  Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the peas, bay leaf, broth and water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1-2 hours, until peas are broken down and completely soft (this will depend on how old the beans are).  Add more water along the way if the soup gets too thick. Add salt when peas are just about tender. Remove bay leaf. Stir in vinegar and mustard. Top with remaining chives and a swirl of yogurt.

See more recipes: Gluten-free, Soups and stews, Vegan


  • Janet Flemer

    Made this last night, delicious, and then a fine filling for somewhat non-Cathy-friendly but maybe adaptable samosas I made tonight from a Bittman recipe. Can’t wait to try the cranberry bean recipe from the beans I’m hoping to grow this summer!

  • Janice

    Another one I must try. Do you find “smoked paprika” in a specialty store, and is it usually labeled as such? I don’t recall coming across it but perhaps I wasn’t looking, so…..

  • Smoked paprika is becoming a more common ingredient. But if you can’t find it, you can mail order it from Penzys or even Amazon. It’s very strong – be careful how much you use in recipes!

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