I used to think that ham was a prerequisite for a delicious split pea soup and that the flavour and smokiness that is so characteristic of split pea soup could come only from using the meat of an intelligent, beautiful piggy. Oh how wrong I was. Turns out, the split peas are what lend the smokiness and with the addition of tomato paste for sweetness, vegan split pea soup is even better than any animal meat version I enjoyed in my paternal grandmothers kitchen growing up.
This soup is the perfect winter comfort food – it’s easy to make, low in fat and high in fibre which means it will fill up whilst doing all kinds of good things to your insides. And if you go back for a second, third, even fourth bowl, you may do so without any guilt, hence why this delicious and inexpensive pot of goodness is my winter staple.
1-2 Tbsp coconut oil (use water instead if you are cooking without oil)
1 large onion, roughly chopped
3-5 stalks of celery, cut into 1cm slices
3-5 carrots, peeled and cut into 2cm semi circles
3-5 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-2cm chunks
1.5C split peas
2 generous Tbsp tomato paste
3-5 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
something from the brassica family such as florets of broccoli or cauliflower, halved brussels sprouts or very finely sliced cabbage (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Melt the coconut oil in a large pot over a medium heat. If using water in place of oil, place a couple of tablespoons of water in the bottom of the pot and heat until it’s steaming.
Add the onion, celery, carrot and potato and stir for a couple of minutes, until the onion and celery become fragrant. Add the split peas, veggie stock, tomato paste and garlic and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add your brassica (if using) and then lower to a simmer for about an hour – until the split peas are mushy and the veggies are easily pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.
Taste – depending on your brand of veggie stock, you may need to add salt and pepper.
Remove from heat and cover until ready to eat. If covered, it will stay warm enough to eat for a couple of hours.
Notes and serving suggestions:
Enjoy alone or with crusty bread.
I usually make a pot of this and leave it on the stove to be enjoyed over the course of one or two days – it’s cool enough in my kitchen that the soup doesn’t go bad if being left out overnight. If you live somewhere warmer, you may need to transfer it to the fridge overnight to prevent it going sour.
You can certainly this recipe as a base to build on, adding other vegetables and legumes to make a rich, hearty vegetable soup, however I have learnt over time that this soup is beautiful in it’s simplicity. Sometimes, less is more y’know? 🙂 xx