Vegetarian Split-Pea Soup: You Will Not Miss the Ham is this Incredible Recipe

Winter makes us hungry for hot, filling, thick and hearty soups. For most Americans, this means turning to meat and poultry based soups. In actuality, after the rich and fatty foods consumed during the holidays, vegetable-based soups are a better choice.

Meaty, difficult to digest main dishes take up almost one third of the American food dollar. Vegetable-based soups, particularly bean and grain soups, cost a tiny amount and are every bit as filling – and tasty, if cooked properly.

Soups made with grains and legumes, such as barley, rice and lentils are as hearty, and thicker than many meat or poultry based soups. A great example is split pea soup. It is difficult to imagine hearty pea soup made without a ham bone, plus the ham left over from Christmas or New Year’s Day. Yet there is an entirely vegetarian recipe that tastes almost exactly the same as ham based pea soup – without a touch of meat.

This recipe is adapted from the original recipe “Vegetarian Pea Soup,” The Los Angeles Times Natural Foods Cookbook, by Jeanne Voltz, 1973.

Ingredients for Vegetarian Soup Recipe

  • 1 pound split peas
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 onions
  • 6 or more ribs celery sliced horizontally
  • 2 – 4 carrots, sliced into rounds
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • black pepper to taste

Vegetarian Recipe for Pea Soup

  1. Vegetarian Pea Soup starts with a pound of dry split peas in a large pot of water. The amount of water does not matter, as water can be added at any time in the process, but two quarts are recommended to begin. Bring the split peas to a boil, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Add a whole onion studded with 3 whole cloves, a bay leaf, several ribs of celery (chopped), several carrots (sliced into rounds) salt and black pepper. Simmer for another 30 minutes.
  3. Chop 2 more onions and fry in 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick) until translucent but not browned. Add to soup when peas are completely absorbed.
  4. Top servings with whole grain toast on top.

Vegetarian Soups

Like many vegetarian recipes, vegetarian split pea soup tastes as warm and good as pea soup with ham. Like all soups, it thickens when left over. Depending on the size of the family, it can last several days.

Warm and Comforting

For those who like traditional pea soup, this soup is addictive. Once you eat a bowl, it is so warm and filling it is hard not to have another bowl!