Immerse your senses in the vibrant allure of our vegetarian split pea soup recipe – a culinary love song to heartwarming, home-cooked nutrition. Enriched with nature’s goodness, this comforting concoction pays homage to timeless tradition while embracing the wholesome ethos of plant-based living.
Watch as green split peas, gentle aromatics, and hearty vegetables unite in a symphony of flavors, unraveling the magic of simplicity in every spoonful. This humble dish, effusing rich, savory notes, not only satisfies your palate, but also fuels your body – a testament to the power of plant-protein.
Imagine cozy nights in, a bowl of this verdant wonder warming your hands, bringing a sense of calm and well-being. Dive into our journey exploring this classic staple, a beacon of sustainable living.
Your journey to a delightful, nourishing experience begins here. Bask in the charm of vegetarian split pea soup – a quintessential treasure in the tapestry of nutritious cuisine.
What Is Vegetarian Split Pea Soup?
Vegetarian split pea soup is a hearty, nutritious dish made primarily from dried split peas. These pulses are simmered until soft, often with a flavorful medley of onions, carrots, and celery.
Seasonings like garlic, bay leaves, and thyme are added to enhance the flavor, while vegetable stock provides a robust base. This vegetarian rendition eschews traditional ham or bacon, yet retains a rich, savory profile.
The result is a thick, comforting soup, embodying the essence of home-cooked, plant-based nourishment.
History Of Vegetarian Split Pea Soup
Split pea soup’s origins date back over 500 years, with roots in ancient Greece and Rome where dried peas were a dietary staple. It gained prominence in Europe, especially in Britain and France, evolving into what we know as “pease pudding” or “potage Saint-Germain”.
With the advent of vegetarianism in the 19th century, the traditional ham was replaced by plant-based ingredients. Vegetarian split pea soup became a symbol of resourceful cooking, combining nutrition, affordability, and flavor.
This humble soup’s journey, from ancient times to modern plant-based cuisine, underscores its enduring appeal in nourishing generations worldwide.
Interesting Facts About Vegetarian Split Pea Soup
- Vegetarian Split Pea Soup is a protein powerhouse. Just one cup of cooked split peas offers 16 grams of protein – an excellent source for those on a plant-based diet.
- Its rich, creamy texture is achieved without any dairy products. The peas, when cooked down, naturally yield a delightful, creamy consistency.
- Split peas are an exceptional source of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and helps maintain a healthy gut.
- Vegetarian split pea soup, despite its simplicity, offers a canvas for international flavors. Variations include Indian-style with turmeric and cumin, or Mediterranean with added tomatoes and herbs.
- This hearty soup is a celebrated dish in various cultures, from Canada’s “Habitant” soup to Sweden’s “Ärtsoppa”, traditionally served on Thursdays to prepare for fasting.
- Split peas are actually a part of the legume family, making this soup an excellent source of nutrients like iron, folate, and magnesium.
What Makes The Vegetarian Split Pea Soup Special?
Vegetarian split pea soup is special because it balances simplicity with robust flavor and nutritious benefits. The main ingredient, split peas, transform into a creamy texture when simmered, naturally thickening the soup without the need for dairy or thickeners.
Its high protein and fiber content make it a valuable part of a plant-based diet, supporting overall health and well-being. Moreover, it’s a versatile canvas for various spices and vegetables, catering to diverse taste buds.
Above all, it symbolizes the beauty of humble, home-cooked meals, showcasing how uncomplicated ingredients can deliver a rich, comforting culinary experience.
|Uncooked orzo pasta||3/4 cup|
|Chopped onion||1 cup|
|Chopped celery||1 cup|
|Garlic, minced||2 cloves|
|Chopped carrots||1 1/2 cups|
|Olive oil||1 tablespoon|
|Vegetable broth||1 quart|
|Dried split peas||1 cup|
|Dried thyme||1 teaspoon|
|Dried chipotle chile pepper||1/2 teaspoon|
|Salt and pepper||to taste|
- Split Peas: Opt for fresh bags of dried split peas, as older ones may take longer to cook. No need to soak them, they cook fairly quickly.
- Vegetables: Using a mirepoix (onions, carrots, celery) base adds depth to the soup. Fresh vegetables yield the best flavor, but frozen can be used in a pinch.
- Vegetable Stock: Choose low-sodium stocks to control the salt level. Homemade stock can dramatically enhance the soup’s flavor.
- Seasonings: Fresh herbs like thyme and parsley add a vibrant flavor. Smoked paprika or liquid smoke can replace the smoky flavor typically provided by ham.
- Acid: A splash of vinegar or squeeze of lemon at the end of cooking brightens the soup’s flavor and balances the earthy tones of the peas.
- Texture: For a chunkier soup, set aside some cooked vegetables before blending, then add them back in for a varied texture.
Can You Vary The Vegetarian Split Pea Soup With Other Ingredients?
The beauty of vegetarian split pea soup lies in its adaptability.
- Keto: While split peas are not keto-friendly due to their high carb content, you can make a similar soup with low-carb vegetables like cauliflower and zucchini, and add a non-starchy protein like tofu.
- Paleo: Again, legumes aren’t considered Paleo, but a similar texture can be achieved using vegetables like sweet potatoes and parsnips, or even bone broth for a protein boost.
- Gluten-free: Vegetarian split pea soup is naturally gluten-free, just make sure your vegetable stock is certified gluten-free.
- Whole30: While legumes aren’t Whole30 compliant, you can prepare a soup with compliant ingredients like chicken, vegetables, and bone broth.
- Vegan/Vegetarian: The soup is naturally vegetarian. To ensure it’s vegan, use a vegetable stock and check that any added ingredients, such as store-bought bread for serving, are vegan-friendly.
- Cook orzo: Boil orzo in salted water until it is cooked al dente. Drain well and set aside.
- Sauté vegetables: In a large skillet, sauté onion, celery, garlic, and carrots in olive oil for 5 minutes until they are slightly softened.
- Pressure cook: In a pressure cooker, combine the sautéed vegetables with vegetable broth, dried split peas, dried thyme, dried chipotle chile, salt, and pepper. Cook for 10-12 minutes after reaching full pressure.
- Add orzo: Once cooked, remove the pressure cooker from heat and stir in the cooked orzo.
- Optional: For a creamier consistency, transfer the soup to a blender and puree it. Add extra broth as needed to achieve the desired consistency.
- Serve and enjoy: Serve the vegetarian split pea soup hot and savor its delicious flavors.
Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings
- Add smokiness with a touch of liquid smoke or smoked paprika.
- Bring an Indian twist by adding turmeric, cumin, and a dash of garam masala.
- A Mediterranean take could involve tomatoes, olives, and fresh basil.
- Toss in diced potatoes or sweet potatoes for additional heartiness.
- Amp up the protein with cubes of tofu or tempeh.
- For a crunchier texture, add roasted chickpeas.
- Garnish with fresh herbs like parsley or dill for added freshness.
- Add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or a dollop of vegan yogurt for creaminess.
- Sprinkle with croutons or toasted seeds for a satisfying crunch.
Scaling The Recipe
Scaling a recipe like vegetarian split pea soup is fairly straightforward. Here’s how:
- If you want to make a larger batch, simply double or triple the ingredients. For instance, if the recipe calls for 1 cup of split peas for four servings, use 2 cups for eight servings or 3 cups for twelve.
- Do remember to adjust the cooking time as needed, as a larger volume of soup may take longer to reach the desired consistency.
- Similarly, if you wish to make a smaller portion, halve the ingredients. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 cup of split peas for four servings, use 1/2 cup for two servings.
- Keep in mind that cooking times might be shorter for smaller quantities, so check the soup frequently to ensure it doesn’t overcook.
What Is Used For Garnishing?
Garnishing for vegetarian split pea soup can vary based on personal preference and the flavors you want to highlight. Here are some options:
- Fresh Herbs: Chopped fresh parsley, thyme, or dill not only add color but also a burst of fresh flavor.
- Drizzle of Olive Oil: A light drizzle of high-quality extra virgin olive oil can add a luxurious touch and depth of flavor.
- Croutons or Toasted Bread: These add a delightful crunch and are an excellent contrast to the creamy soup.
- Seeds or Nuts: Sprinkle toasted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or slivered almonds for a nutty taste and added texture.
- Vegan Cream or Yogurt: A dollop of vegan cream or yogurt can add a tangy note and creamy consistency.
- Freshly Ground Pepper or Red Pepper Flakes: For a bit of heat and additional flavor, sprinkle some freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes on top.
Can I Make Vegetarian Split Pea Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?
Both a slow cooker and an Instant Pot can simplify the process of making vegetarian split pea soup.
- Start by sautéing your vegetables (onion, celery, garlic, carrots) in a skillet until they’re softened.
- Then, transfer the sautéed vegetables, along with your split peas, vegetable broth, and seasonings to your slow cooker.
- Set it on low and let it cook for about 7-8 hours, or until the split peas are soft and the soup is at your desired consistency.
- Use the ‘Sauté’ function on your Instant Pot to cook your vegetables until they’re softened.
- Add the split peas, vegetable broth, and seasonings, then secure the lid and set the valve to ‘Sealing’.
- Select the ‘Pressure Cook’ or ‘Manual’ setting, and set the timer for about 15 minutes.
- Once the cooking time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally for about 10-15 minutes, then carefully move the valve to ‘Venting’ to release any remaining pressure.
Can I Use Store Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?
Both store-bought and homemade broths can be used in making vegetarian split pea soup.
- It is a convenient option, particularly when you’re short on time. When choosing store-bought broth, opt for low-sodium versions to control the salt content of your soup.
- Additionally, ensure the broth is certified vegetarian or vegan, as some vegetable broths may contain hidden animal products.
- If time permits, homemade vegetable broth is a great choice. It allows you to control the ingredients and customize the flavor to your liking.
- You can use vegetable scraps like onion skins, carrot peels, and celery leaves, making it a cost-effective and sustainable option.
Can I Use Different Types Of Meat/Fish/Pasta/Vegetables For The Soup?
The classic vegetarian split pea soup is, by definition, meat-free. However, the recipe is flexible, and variations can be made depending on dietary preferences.
- Meat: Traditional split pea soup often includes ham or bacon. If you’re not strictly vegetarian, adding these could bring a smoky depth to the soup.
- Fish: It’s unusual to add fish to split pea soup, but a smoked fish like haddock could be an interesting addition.
- Pasta: The recipe you provided includes orzo. Other small pasta shapes like ditalini or small shells could also work. Pasta adds body and makes the soup even heartier.
- Vegetables: Feel free to add other vegetables. Root veggies such as parsnips or turnips work well, as do greens like spinach or kale, added towards the end of cooking.
Success Tips – Tips And Tricks For Making Soup
Here are some useful tips and tricks for making the best vegetarian split pea soup:
- Check peas: Rinse the split peas thoroughly before cooking to remove any debris, and check for any stones or discolored peas.
- Prep vegetables: Make sure your vegetables are cut into even pieces so they cook uniformly.
- Use fresh herbs: Fresh herbs can enhance the flavor significantly. If you’re using dried herbs, remember they’re more potent, so use less.
- Saute the vegetables: Sauteing your vegetables before adding them to the soup can add depth to the flavor.
- Don’t rush the peas: Split peas take time to break down and create that creamy texture. Patience is key!
- Stir occasionally: This will ensure the soup doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot, especially as it thickens.
- Adjust consistency: If the soup is too thick for your liking, add more broth or water. If it’s too thin, allow it to simmer a bit longer.
- Season towards the end: Split peas absorb a lot of salt. To avoid over-seasoning, taste and adjust the seasoning closer to the end of the cooking process.
- Use an immersion blender: If you like a creamier soup, use an immersion blender directly in the pot. You can control how much of the soup you blend, allowing for some texture.
Nourish your body with a bowl of vegetarian split pea soup, a nutritional powerhouse. Loaded with fiber, protein, and essential vitamins, this satisfying dish promotes digestive health and supports a balanced diet. Embrace the benefits of a wholesome meal that delights your taste buds and fuels your well-being.
What Are The Total Calories In The Soup?
The total calorie count in vegetarian split pea soup can vary depending on the specific ingredients and their quantities. However, on average, a one-cup serving of homemade vegetarian split pea soup can range between 200 – 300 calories. Keep in mind, additions like oil, pasta, or any garnishes will add to this count.
Dietary Restrictions Of Vegetarian Split Pea Soup
Vegetarian split pea soup is a versatile dish that can suit many dietary needs, but there are some potential restrictions to consider:
- Vegan: As long as it doesn’t contain any animal-derived ingredients, such as butter or honey, it’s suitable for vegans. Ensure the broth is vegan, as some store-bought versions may contain hidden animal products.
- Gluten-Free: If the soup recipe doesn’t include pasta, barley, or any other gluten-containing ingredients, it’s naturally gluten-free. However, if using store-bought broth, check that it’s gluten-free as some brands may include additives containing gluten.
- Nut-Free: The soup is typically nut-free, but always check the ingredients list if you’re using a store-bought broth or adding any spice mixes or garnishes.
- Soy-Free: Unless it contains tofu or soy-based ingredients, the soup is generally soy-free.
- Low-FODMAP: Split peas are high in FODMAPs (a group of carbs that can cause digestive issues in some people), so this soup might not be suitable for people following a low-FODMAP diet.
- Keto/Paleo: Peas are legumes, and therefore aren’t allowed on strict keto or paleo diets. They’re also high in carbohydrates which could be an issue for some keto followers.
Health Benefits Of Vegetarian Split Pea Soup
Vegetarian split pea soup is packed with several health benefits due to its nutrient-dense ingredients:
- High in Protein and Fiber: Split peas are an excellent source of plant-based protein and fiber, which can help you feel full and satisfied, aid digestion, and regulate blood sugar levels.
- Rich in Vitamins and Minerals: It contains essential nutrients like Vitamin A from carrots, Vitamin C from celery, and iron and zinc from split peas.
- Heart Healthy: The fiber and potassium in this soup are beneficial for heart health. Additionally, it’s typically low in fat and doesn’t contain cholesterol.
- Weight Management: Thanks to its high fiber content and low calorie count, this soup can be a good choice for those managing their weight.
- Bone Health: Split peas provide Vitamin K, which plays a crucial role in bone health.
- Antioxidant-rich: Vegetables and herbs in the soup contribute valuable antioxidants that help combat oxidative stress in the body.
How Can I Make Vegetarian Split Pea Soup Lower In Sodium?
Reducing sodium in your vegetarian split pea soup is a great way to make it even healthier. Here are some tips:
- Broth: Use a low-sodium or sodium-free vegetable broth. This is one of the primary sources of sodium in the recipe.
- Avoid Added Salt: Limit or omit the added salt in the recipe. You can always add a pinch at the end if needed.
- Rely on Herbs and Spices: Enhance flavor with a variety of herbs and spices instead of relying on salt. Thyme, bay leaves, garlic, and black pepper can all add depth and complexity to your soup.
- Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh vegetables instead of canned or pickled ones, which often contain added sodium.
- Rinse Legumes: If you’re using canned peas instead of dried, make sure to rinse them thoroughly to remove any excess sodium.
- Taste Test: Always taste your soup before serving. You might find it doesn’t need any extra salt at all!
How Can I Make Vegetarian Split Pea Soup Lower In Sugar?
Vegetarian split pea soup is generally low in sugar, as it mostly contains vegetables, herbs, and split peas, none of which are significant sources of sugar. However, if you’re looking to ensure the recipe is as low in sugar as possible, here are a few tips:
- Choose Broth Carefully: Some store-bought vegetable broths can contain added sugars. Look for a brand that doesn’t add sugar, or make your own at home.
- Mind Your Vegetables: While all vegetables have some natural sugars, some have more than others. For instance, carrots and onions have a higher sugar content than many other vegetables. You can reduce the amount used or substitute with lower-sugar veggies if desired.
- Watch for Hidden Sugars: If you’re adding any pre-made sauces or condiments, be sure to check the label for hidden sugars.
- Control Your Add-Ins: If you’re adding any extras to your soup, such as a dollop of yogurt, make sure it’s unsweetened.
How To Serve The Vegetarian Split Pea Soup Best?
Vegetarian split pea soup can be served in various delightful ways. Here are a few suggestions to elevate your serving game:
- Bread on the Side: A warm, crusty bread roll or a slice of sourdough is a classic pairing that’s perfect for dunking and soaking up the soup. For a twist, try a flavored bread like garlic or rosemary.
- Garnishes: Enhance the presentation and flavor with a garnish of fresh herbs like parsley or thyme. A swirl of cream or a dollop of unsweetened Greek yogurt can add a rich, creamy touch. For a pop of color and crunch, top with finely chopped red pepper or crumbled crispy onions.
- Salad Pairing: Serve the soup alongside a fresh, crunchy salad for a balanced meal. A simple green salad, or a more substantial grain salad would pair well.
- Cheese Toast: Upgrade your bread serving by grating some cheese on top and toasting it until it’s melty and golden.
- Crackers: For a lighter option, offer some whole grain crackers on the side.
- Soup Toppers: Consider other fun toppings like roasted pumpkin seeds, croutons, or even a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for a cheesy, vegan-friendly boost.
Perfect Side Dishes To Complement Vegetarian Split Pea Soup Recipe
Vegetarian split pea soup is a hearty, comforting meal in itself, but it can be complemented beautifully with some side dishes. Here are a few ideas:
- Crusty Bread or Rolls: There’s nothing like a chunk of warm, crusty bread for dipping into soup. For something extra special, try homemade garlic bread.
- Grilled Cheese Sandwich: A classic combo – the crunch and meltiness of the grilled cheese pairs perfectly with the smooth soup.
- Simple Green Salad: Balance the heartiness of the soup with a refreshing salad. A classic vinaigrette would complement the soup without overpowering it.
- Roasted Vegetables: For added nutrients and a variety of textures, roast some seasonal veggies. Root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, or sweet potatoes would be a great choice.
- Quinoa or Rice Salad: A grain salad can provide a textural contrast and make the meal even more filling. Opt for mild flavors that won’t compete with the soup.
- Flatbread or Naan: Similar to crusty bread but with a slight twist. You could even brush it with garlic butter for an added burst of flavor.
How Long Can We Store The Soup?
Vegetarian split pea soup can be safely stored in the refrigerator for about 3 to 4 days. Make sure it’s cooled before storing and kept in a sealed container to preserve its freshness and flavor.
If you wish to store it for a longer period, split pea soup freezes exceptionally well. Once cooled, portion it into freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags, leaving some space for expansion.
It can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. To use, defrost overnight in the refrigerator and then reheat gently on the stovetop, adding a little extra liquid if necessary.
Can I Make Soup In Advance?
Yes, you can absolutely make vegetarian split pea soup in advance! In fact, this soup is a great choice for meal prepping as its flavors tend to deepen and meld together when stored, making it even more delicious a day or two after cooking.
After preparing the soup, allow it to cool, then transfer it into airtight containers and store it in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to serve, simply reheat it on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
You may need to add a bit more broth or water as the split peas can thicken the soup upon standing.
What Can We Do With Leftovers?
Leftover vegetarian split pea soup is versatile and can be repurposed into several delicious meals:
- Pasta Sauce: Thicken the soup with a little flour or cornstarch, and use it as a creamy, protein-packed sauce for pasta.
- Stew Base: Add additional cooked vegetables, beans, or grains to the leftover soup, and serve it as a hearty stew.
- Baked Potatoes: Use the warmed soup as a rich, flavorful topping for baked potatoes.
- Casserole Layer: Use the soup as a moist, flavorful layer in a baked vegetable or grain casserole.
- Rice Enhancer: Mix it with cooked rice for a flavorful, easy side dish.
- Topping for Grains: Drizzle it over cooked quinoa, barley, or farro for a protein and fiber-rich meal.
Cooking vegetarian split pea soup does not require any special tools. However, having the following basic kitchen tools can make the cooking process more convenient:
- Soup Pot: A large, sturdy pot to cook the soup and accommodate all the ingredients.
- Cutting Board and Knife: Essential for chopping vegetables like onions, celery, and carrots.
- Wooden Spoon or Ladle: Useful for stirring and serving the soup.
- Immersion Blender or Potato Masher (optional): If you prefer a smoother consistency, an immersion blender or potato masher can be used to blend or mash the cooked split peas.
- Measuring Cups and Spoons: To accurately measure the ingredients.
- Timer: Helps to keep track of cooking times.
- Stovetop or Range: A heat source for cooking the soup.
- Serving Bowls: To present and serve the finished soup.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Use Canned Split Peas Instead Of Dried Ones?
It is recommended to use dried split peas for this recipe as canned split peas have a different texture and may result in a less hearty soup. However, if you only have canned split peas, you can still use them, but the cooking time will be significantly reduced.
Can I Substitute Orzo Pasta With Another Type Of Pasta?
Yes, you can substitute orzo pasta with other small pasta shapes like ditalini or small shells. Just adjust the cooking time according to the instructions on the pasta package.
Can I Make This Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?
Yes, you can adapt this recipe for a slow cooker or Instant Pot. For a slow cooker, follow the instructions until step 3, then transfer everything to the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. For an Instant Pot, sauté the vegetables using the sauté function, then switch to pressure cooking mode and cook on high pressure for about 12-15 minutes with a natural release.
Can I Add Meat Or Meat-Based Broth To This Recipe?
This recipe is specifically designed to be vegetarian. However, if you prefer a non-vegetarian version, you can add cooked ham, bacon, or smoked sausage to enhance the flavor. You can also use meat-based broth instead of vegetable broth if desired.
Can I Freeze The Soup?
Yes, you can freeze the soup. Allow it to cool completely, then transfer it to freezer-safe containers or bags. Make sure to leave some room for expansion. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
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