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two bowls of split pea soup with croutons
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4.88 from 16 votes

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup Recipe

I love it when comfort food and 'healthy' come together in one dish. Like in this full bodied nutritious vegetarian split pea soup. It's loaded with vegetables, well seasoned and satisfying. Smooth or chunky. Your choice. If you are too lazy to chop vegetables (like me), use a food processor for a great shortcut.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 45 mins
Total Time1 hr 55 mins
Course: Main Dish, Soup
Cuisine: American, Vegetarian
Servings (change as needed): 6
Author: Cheryl


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil (or half oil, half butter)
  • 1 medium to large sweet onion
  • 3 large carrots, peeled
  • 3 celery ribs, scrubbed or 4 ribs
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 7 cups vegetable broth (1.67 liters) (I use a 1-liter box broth plus 3 cups/710 ml water)
  • 2 cups (390 grams) green split peas (or yellow split peas or mix of the two)


  • 1/3 cup (16 grams) chopped fresh dill
  • 1 -2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or more to taste - depends on saltiness of broth)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme (or 1 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • Optional: Note 3


    Option #1: Dice carrots, celery and onion into 1/2 inch/1.3cm pieces - and mince the garlic
    Option #2 (shortcut): Cut vegetables into 2 inch/5 cm pieces and pulse them in the processor (this is a big shortcut so my preference!). I process onions in one batch, then carrots, garlic and celery in another. I leave a few larger chunks of carrots and celery to have some vegetables that hold their shape in the finished soup. If you plan to blend the soup into a purée, however, there's no need.
  • COOK ON STOVE TOP: (see Note 1 and 2 for other cooking methods)
    Sauté veggies: Heat oil on medium heat in a large pot. Add onions and sauté 3 minutes. Add celery and carrots and garlic and sauté 4-5 minutes. Shortcut: skip this step (and skip the oil) and just add everything to the pot and cook. Sautéing adds flavor though.
    Add broth and seasonings, then cook: Add peas, broth, water, dill and seasonings to pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer on medium low (3/10) for 1 1/2-2 hours, until vegetables and peas are soft. If too watery, continue to cook for 15-20 minutes with lid off or partially covering the pot. But note that soup will thicken on standing or in fridge. Remove bay leaf and adjust seasonings to your taste.
  • SERVE: If you like chunkier soup, serve as is. If you prefer creamier soup, blend soup in processor (in batches), blender or with stick immersion blender. Alternatively, do half and half - blend half the soup to creamy, then combine with the unblended chunky half. Serve with croutons, biscuits, a warm crusty loaf bread or cornbread.


  1. Slow cooker method: Dice vegetables very small for this method e.g. 1/4 inch/0.63cm. Place peas at the bottom, add all other ingredients. Loosen peas at the bottom a bit so they don't stick. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours. Don't peek until the end - you lose about 30 minutes of cook time every time you open the lid! Gauge the cook time based on how soft and thick you like the soup. Longer cooking means thicker soup and softer vegetables. Adjust seasonings. Note that soup will thicken as it stands around or sits in the fridge. 
  2. Instant Pot method: Sauté the onions, garlic and veggies for 4-5 minutes (optional but deepens flavors). Add the remaining ingredients. Stir. Set instant pot to High Pressure for 15 minutes. When cooking is finished, do a natural release for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. 
  3. Variations:
    • Flavoring
      • Add a few drops of liquid smoke or 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika for a smoky flavor. 
      • Add some fresh herbs (dill, thyme) or dried herbss (herbes de provence)
      • Other seasonings: 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, cumin or curry powder. 
      • Heat: add a pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes for some heat
    • Make a non vegetarian pea soup
      • Add a ham bone, leftover ham or ham hock for a smoky flavor.
      • Use chicken broth instead of vegetable broth 
  4. Make ahead: 
    • To store: Put leftover soup in the fridge in an airtight container, once cooled, for up to 4-5 days. It will thicken in the fridge. Add a bit of broth or water if needed when reheating it on the stove or in the microwave.
    • To freeze: Cool then freeze in an an airtight container or freezer zipper lock bags for up to 4 months.
Nutrition values are estimates. 
Calories: 294kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 1717mg | Potassium: 847mg | Fiber: 18g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 6046IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 4mg