Yellow split peas fill this cozy soup with plant-based protein, cashews add richness, and smoked paprika and fresh corn give it a sweet, smoky flavor.
Until I tried this yellow split pea soup from Gena Hamshaw’s cookbook Power Plates, I didn’t think split peas were something to get excited about. I’d only ever had them when I was growing up, in classic split pea soup. You know, the kind that’s cooked with chicken stock and a ham hock and that’s really not my thing. This recipe takes the best parts of that traditional soup – smoky flavor, tons of plant-based protein – and heads in a totally new direction. It’s 100% vegan, sweet and savory, creamy, cozy, and totally delicious.
If you’ve never cooked with yellow or green split peas, they’re very similar to lentils. Unlike most dried beans, there’s no need to soak them before you cook them, and they become soft and tender in under an hour on the stove. They make this soup thick and creamy without using actual cream, and as I mentioned above, they add plenty of plant-based protein, too. Thanks to the split peas, this soup is hearty and comforting, but in a light, feel-good way.
Yellow Split Pea Soup Recipe Ingredients
I like to think of this yellow split pea soup as a plant-based riff on corn chowder. Here’s what’s in it:
- Yellow split peas: They add protein and contribute to the creamy texture, but there’s another reason to love the dried peas in this soup! They perfectly mimic the shape of the corn kernels here. As you eat it, you’re never sure if your spoon is full of corn or yellow peas, which makes it fun to eat.
- Onion, garlic, and celery: They add savory, aromatic flavor.
- Yukon gold potato: It amps up the creamy texture.
- Corn kernels: They make the soup extra creamy and add a lovely sweetness. I like to make this soup in early fall, when I have lots of fresh corn on hand, but frozen corn could work here too.
- Cashew cream: It perfects the creamy texture and adds necessary richness.
- Smoked paprika: Who needs a ham bone when you have smoked paprika? It adds bold, smoky flavor.
- Apple cider vinegar: It cuts the sweetness of the corn and gives the soup a bright, tangy finish.
Sauté the aromatics, add the potato, split peas, broth, corn, paprika, and salt, and simmer until the peas are tender, about 45 minutes. Puree half the soup and return it to the pot, and stir in the cashew cream and apple cider vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve hot! Find the full recipe below.
Yellow Split Pea Soup Serving Suggestions
Thanks to the protein-packed split peas and rich cashew cream, this soup is hearty enough to be a meal on its own. I like to top it with crispy coconut bacon, chives, and fresh parsley and serve it with a hunk of good crusty bread like this easy no-knead bread.
You could also serve it as a side with avocado toast or a hearty salad like my kale salad, broccoli salad, or Caesar salad.
Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze them for several months. Check out this post for my best freezer meal tips and recipes!
More Favorite Soup Recipes
If you love this yellow split pea soup, check out Power Plates! It’s full of 100 well-balanced vegan meals like hearty salads, grain bowls, soups, stews, and healthy pastas. I have my eye on the Curried Tomato Stew with Chickpea Dumplings and the Korean Tempeh Bowls with Broccoli and Brown Rice.
In the meantime, try one of these delicious soup recipes:
Or find more of my favorite soups here!
Yellow Split Pea Soup
Author: Jeanine Donofrio
Recipe type: Soup
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup yellow split peas
- 1 medium Yukon gold potato, peeled and chopped
- Kernels from 4 ears corn (about 2 1⁄2 cups)
- 3⁄4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
- 3⁄4 cup Cashew Cream (recipe below)
- 1½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3⁄4 cup raw cashews (soaked 2 hours, if not using a Vitamix)
- 2⁄3 cup water
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- extra fresh corn kernels
- chopped parsley
- red pepper flakes
- coconut bacon
- olive oil, for drizzling
- Make the cashew cream. Combine the cashews, water, and salt in a blender and process until very smooth. Set ¾ cup aside.
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the onion is tender and translucent. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
- Stir in the broth, split peas, potato, corn, paprika, and salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes, until the split peas are completely tender.
- Use an immersion blender to partially puree the soup, or puree about half of it in a regular blender and return it to the pot. Stir in the Cashew Cream and apple cider vinegar. Taste and adjust the seasonings if desired. (I added up to 1 teaspoon more sea salt here). Serve piping hot, with any desired toppings.