When I was little, I knew a special meal was in store when my dad got out a big bowl and started inspecting dried split peas. To watch him prepare a pot of split pea soup is to see a master creating perfection in a bowl. Unfortunately, when I became a vegetarian in my teens, I could no longer partake because he believes that split pea soup without ham is blasphemy. Since he refused to vegetarian-ize his beloved recipe, I had to come up with my own concoction.
My split pea soup is vegan, highly nutritious, thick and hearty, and—dare I say—even tastier than my dad’s. He refuses to try it; I think he’s afraid of a little competition.
8 cups of vegetable broth*
1 cup of dried green split peas
1 cup of dried yellow split peas
1 cup of diced potatoes (any work, but red potatoes and sweet potatoes are my favorite)
1 cup of diced carrots
1 cup of diced onions
1 cup of diced celery
Three garlic cloves, minced
Spices to taste: garlic powder, cumin, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, curry powder
1 tablespoon olive oil (to oil the pan)
1. Sauté onions and garlic together in a little bit of olive oil on medium heat until the onions are fairly translucent.
2. Add the carrots, celery, and potatoes and sauté for about five to seven more minutes.
3. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a big soup pot and stir in the yellow and green split peas. Pour the vegetable broth in the pot and stir everything together, adding the optional spices (curry powder, cumin, etc.) as you prefer. Don’t add too much at this stage, as the flavors could become too overwhelming as it cooks. Keep in mind you’ll probably add more spices at the end to taste.
4. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer and cover the pot with a lid. Let it simmer for about one and a half to two hours, checking and stirring it a few times to make sure there’s enough liquid in the pot. If it seems too thick, add a little bit more liquid (vegetable broth or water works).
5. After all the peas have popped and it looks like a proper thick soup, taste it and add spices to your liking.
* This amount of vegetable broth is an estimate. At the beginning, you’ll want enough liquid in the pot to completely cover the vegetables. You may need to add more throughout the cooking process, especially depending on how thick you like your soup. (The thicker the better, as far as I’m concerned!)