There’s nothing as comforting in winter as a good soup, especially a hearty split pea soup. This one is fully vegetarian, with all the goodness of homemade vegetable stock. The original recipe called for a lot of fresh herbs, which I didn’t have because I ran out and there wasn’t time to go out and buy them. What I had instead were dried rosemary, thyme and bay leaves, and fresh mint leaves. The latter was a very nice addition to the soup and if I had to do it all over again, I’d make this soup with the same ingredients.

A few weeks ago, I asked for vegetarian cookbook recommendations on Twitter. One of the top two mentioned by my Twitter pals is Deborah Madison’s “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I didn’t realize it was like The Vegetarian Cooking Tome–the massive amount of recipes overwhelmed me the minute I held it. I haven’t delved that much into vegetarian cooking (there’s always a slight meat component in most of my vegetable dishes), so I didn’t know where to start. That week, we were having an incredibly cold and rainy week, as is typical for Vancouver winter. It was starting to get really old and the only thing that could really lighten the mood up was a good bowl of soup. When I looked through the cookbook, this one jumped at me. This would be the books “first test”.

Friends, do you do that, too, when you have a new cookbook? Do you test out a few recipes to see if the cookbook will be worth its place as a standby in the kitchen? For me, if one recipe succeeds, it stays near the kitchen and I continue to cook from it. If it fails, I’ll give it 2 more tries before I ditch it. What about you? How many recipes do you test before it gets a Yay or a Nay?

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

This recipe definitely earned a “Yay!” in my book.

I love when everything goes together and the whole experience of making a dish somehow connects you to the author, through the methods, the flavors, and the culmination in the forms of a really good meal and a silent Thank You to the mind that created something so wonderful. A regular dinner turned into something special. Yes, I romanticize about meals, and if this was a date, I’m picking the phone to ask for a second. ;-)

SPLIT PEA SOUPDownload the PDF recipe for Split Pea Soup
Adapted from Deborah Madison’s the book, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone


  • 1 ½ cups slip green peas, sorted and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs of fresh mint
  • 2 quarts vegetable stock or water**
  • mushroom soy sauce (optional)
  • Greek yogurt (optional)


  1. Soak peas in water and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and carrots and sauté for about 10 minutes. Add garlic, parsley, herbs, paprika, fresh ground black pepper and cook for another 3 minutes.
  3. Drain split peas. Add peas, 1 ½ teaspoon salt and stock (or water). Stir to keep peas from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Wait for it to boil before lowering the heat to simmer for about an hour. Partially cover until peas have broken down. If soup becomes to thick, add water according to your preference. Remove bay and mint leaves.
  4. Season with soy sauce or salt as desired.

Serve hot. Highly recommended topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt.

** You can also use chicken or beef stock, if you do not have preference for vegetarian.

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  • January 28, 2010 6:49 pm

    You are after our hearts – we adore soup and we adore split peas. Not many people actually enjoy a bowl of the “green stuff” but we do! I have actually been thinking I should make it & now I am inspired to try your veggie version – I usually put bacon in it! Thanks for a great recipe!

    • joy
      January 29, 2010 3:14 am

      Haha..I know…I was surprised how many people steer away from the green stuff. This is part of my #10in10 effort so I’m cooking more vegetarian recipes. You’re welcome! I have to admit, I was tempted to put bacon on the end product. Hah.

  • January 28, 2010 7:05 pm

    Looks wonderful! I’m about to do a 21 day vegan “cleanse” diet and this is something I can actually eat! Yay!
    .-= Kristina@FormerChef´s last blog ..Four Favorite Markets in Rome =-.

    • joy
      January 29, 2010 3:16 am

      Kristina, so you’re actually going to do it? :) I’ll be posting another vegan recipe, and another one that is the most amazing dessert (and it’s raw and vegan). Good luck! When are you starting?

      • January 29, 2010 6:07 am

        I think I’m going to start on Monday. Have you done something similar?

        • joy
          January 29, 2010 11:57 am

          I’m semi-doing it unintentionally because of the vegetarian and raw cookbooks that I’ve purchased. I think I’ve only eaten non-vegetarian twice the past week. One thing I can’t give up though is baked goods. Haha.

  • January 30, 2010 10:07 am

    You’re the one who calls for a second date? Heh heh ;) I give cookbooks several tries, especially if I was hell-bent on liking it. Oops! But I still like being pleasantly surprised.
    This soup would be perfect for a frigid day like today! Brr!
    .-= Manggy´s last blog ..Rose’s Chocolate Feather Bed =-.

  • January 31, 2010 10:16 am

    This is wonderful! Split pea soup is one of my favourite recipes and you have reminded me of how easy it is to make but oh how satisfying. YUM!
    .-= Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite´s last blog ..Tastes of Brittany =-.

  • January 31, 2010 11:31 pm

    This is one of those soups that gets better as it sits. Perfect for leftovers!
    .-= The Duo Dishes´s last blog ..Stirring Up Help for Haiti =-.

  • February 1, 2010 2:58 pm

    Oh love this! But then I might be biased because split peas is one of the ingredients in my favourite Caribbean soup which I actually blogged about recently. The spices are different but how could anyone not love this. Love the dreamy quality to this picture.

  • February 2, 2010 3:58 am

    What a beautiful bowl of split pea soup! One of my favorites! Love that it’s a veg-friendly version.
    .-= carolyn´s last blog ..On leeks and groundhogs =-.

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