This easy vegan split pea soup is hearty and loaded with smoky, umami flavors. Can be made on the stove top or in your instant pot.
My husband’s favorite soup is split pea soup and he asks me to make this soup for him quite often once it starts getting colder. One of the big draws for this soup is the herby flavor mixed with some savory, umami filled bites thanks to the nutritional yeast, miso and smoked paprika.
To further compliment those smoky notes, I paired this soup with some smoky tofu bites. Easy to make, and bakes up as the soup is cooking. Perfectly chewy and also coated in those umami flavors.
Why You’ll Love This Soup
- Super flavorful thanks to the combination of herbs and umami flavors mixed in to help replace the ham in traditional preparations.
- Budget friendly. Split pea soup in general is very budget friendly and often doesn’t include a long list of ingredients. While there are some extra flavor boosters here, you can definitely customize it to be even lower in cost.
- Simple nourishing ingredients. This soup is packed with fiber and lots of plant-based protein thanks to the split peas and tofu. It’s also loaded with vitamins and minerals.
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
- Split Peas: The main protein source of our soup. You can substitute for yellow split peas as well. Yellow split peas tend to have a sweeter, earthier flavor compared to green split peas.
- Onion, Carrots and Celery: The three main base vegetables in this soup. If you can, please don’t skip on these.
- Garlic: In my original recipe, I used 2 cloves of garlic, which I feel didn’t live up to the flavor of this newer recipe that includes more garlic to suit my taste buds.
- Spices: Smoked paprika and black pepper really add the flavor punch we need in the soup to help develop those smoky flavors. For added smoky flavor, feel free to use smoked black pepper as well.
- Herbs: Thyme, oregano and bay leaves provide a balance of herby flavors in this soup. You can also use the herb mix, Herbs de Provence as a substitute as well, 2 teaspoons should be fine.
- Nutritional Yeast: Provides extra umami flavor while keeping the soup base light in color.
- Miso Paste: This fermented paste has a lovely salty, umami rich taste that can be added to the very end of this soup. If you don’t have this, you can also leave it out or replace with a 1 teaspoon of vegan Worcestershire sauce.
- Vegetable Broth: I love dissolving a teaspoon of Better Than Bouillon vegetable broth base into water to make my vegetable broth, but any favorite vegetable broth will do.
How to Make Split Pea Soup
In a large pot or Instant Pot, sauté onions, carrots and celery with a pinch of salt. Cook until onions have softened. Add in garlic and nutritional yeast and sauté until fragrant. To the pot, stir in the dry thyme, oregano, smoked paprika and pepper. Pour in the split peas, vegetable broth and milk, then add thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
If using an Instant Pot or any other pressure cooker, seal and set to manual pressure and cook for 15 minutes. Allow to sit undisturbed for 15 more minutes before releasing the remaining pressure by flipping the pressure release valve.
If cooking on the stove top, bring mixture to a boil then lower to a simmer. Cover the pot with a lid, and cook for 1 hour or until split peas are tender. Make sure to stir occasionally to prevent veggies or split peas from sticking and burning at the bottom.
Finish Off the Soup
Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaves then mix water and miso together making sure there are no lumps. Pour mixture into the soup after the soup is done cooking. Stir well and add additional salt and pepper to taste and top with optional baked smoky tofu.
Tips for the Perfect Hearty Soup
- You can add some potato to this soup to make it extra rich and hearty. Add diced golden potatoes when you add in the herbs. Note it will cause the soup to thicken more, so you may wish to add more broth or water.
- Your soup will thicken over time. You will notice that at the end of cooking, your soup will be very loose. Once off the heat and allowed to sit, your soup will continue to thicken.
- Blend your soup if you’d like it to be creamy. The split peas will break down as they soften, but you can use a hand held immersion blender and blend the soup to desired consistency.
- Add your miso at the end of cooking. This will help preserve the flavor of your miso and prevent it from getting bitter.
Frequently Asked Questions
While it can help speed up cooking time, it is technically not necessary to soak them especially if you are using a slow cooker or pressure cooker. It can be helpful for reducing cooking time on the stove top and I generally recommend this technique. If you forget to soak overnight, you can do a quick soak by placing rinsed split peas in a bowl with boiling water and allowing it to sit for an hour before starting the recipe.
There could be a number of reasons for this, but one main reason is that your split peas are old. Old legumes, chickpeas and lentils tend to resist cooking and take much longer to soften. Unsoaked peas can take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours to cook depending on your desired consistency.
This soup is perfect for meal prep for the week or beyond. I’ve included some storage tips below to help provide some good recommendations for refrigerating and freezing. To help make this soup faster, consider soaking your lentils or using some prechopped carrots, celery and onion to save time.
This vegan version of split pea soup is loaded with fiber and protein thanks to the split peas. They are also high in iron, folate and potassium. Potassium in particular is associated with keeping your blood pressure in a healthier range, so consuming adequate amounts of potassium rich sources like split peas can be beneficial.
The soup won’t have the exact same taste, but you can substitute green lentils if needed. Please note that the amount of liquid and cook time will be different as lentils cook faster. If you’d like a lentil soup specific recipe try this Latin Style Lentil Soup or if you have red lentils try my Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Soup.
Allow the soup to cool completely before placing in airtight containers. If storing in the fridge, it should keep for 5 to 6 days.
If freezing, I recommend placing the soup in smaller individual containers so that it is easier to pull out the perfect amount of soup to thaw and reheat. Frozen soup will last for up to 3 months in the freezer.
To reheat, allow to thaw completely from frozen and reheat on the stove top with extra vegetable broth until desired consistency is reached. Adjust salt and herbs based on your preference.
How to Serve
This protein packed soup is nice and hearty on it’s own, but for extra nutrition, flavor and texture, I love to top with some baked smoky tofu. If you’d rather not do tofu, you can roast up some chickpeas using similar flavors or make some toasty croutons to top your bowl with.
More Hearty Soup Recipes
- Lentil Kale Soup
- Roasted Tomato and White Bean Soup
- Lasagna Soup
- Vegan Chickpea Noodle Soup
- Smoky Chickpea Kale Soup
This hearty and healthy split pea soup is loaded with umami flavor and topped with smoky baked tofu. Vegan and can be made in the instant pot for easy meal prep.
- 1–2 tbsp of oil or vegetable broth for sautéing
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp each black pepper, dry oregano, dry thyme and smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 lb dry green split peas, rinsed and drained
- 6 cups vegetable broth or 1–2 tsp Better Than Bouillon dissolved in 6 cups water
- 1 cup unsweetened plant based milk, optional
- 2 tsp yellow miso paste
- Salt to taste
- Baked Smoky Tofu, for garnish
- In a large pot or instant pot, heat up your oil and sauté onions, carrots and celery with a pinch of salt. Cook the vegetables down until onions have become translucent.
- Add in garlic and sauté until fragrant.
- To the pot, add dry thyme, oregano, smoked paprika, pepper and nutritional yeast, then stir well to combine with vegetables.
- Pour in the split peas along with the vegetable broth and milk, then top with the fresh thyme sprigs and bay leaves and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
- Stove Top Instructions: Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and cover the pot with a lid. Cook for 1 hour or until split peas are tender. Make sure to stir occasionally to prevent veggies or split peas from sticking and burning the bottom of the pot.
- Instant Pot Instructions: Close the lid and seal the pressure valve, then set the pressure cooker to manual pressure and cook for 15 minutes. Leave the soup as is for 15 minutes and then release the remaining pressure through the pressure valve before opening and stirring.
- Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaves from the soup. Then mash and mix 1/4 cup water with the miso paste until there are no lumps remaining. Pour mixture into pot after soup is done cooking. Stir well and add additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve with baked tofu and enjoy.
You can add some potato to this soup to make it extra rich and hearty. Add diced golden potatoes when you add in the herbs. Note it will cause the soup to thicken more, so you may wish to add more broth or water.
Your soup will thicken over time. You will notice that at the end of cooking, your soup will be very loose. Once off the heat and allowed to sit, your soup will continue to thicken.
Blend your soup if you’d like it to be creamy. The split peas will break down as they soften, but you can use a hand held immersion blender and blend the soup to desired consistency.
Add your miso at the end of cooking. This will help preserve the flavor of your miso and prevent it from getting bitter.
Keywords: vegan split pea soup, instant split pea soup
This easy smoky baked tofu is easy to season and cook. Bakes in the oven quickly and perfect in bowls or topped in my vegan split pea soup.
- 1 block (450g) extra firm tofu, pressed and drained
- 1 tsp smoke paprika
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp dry basil
- 1 tsp maple syrup, optional
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 400F. After pressing your tofu, pat it dry with a clean kitchen towel. Cube your tofu into 16 pieces.
- Place the tofu into an airtight container with the remaining ingredients, seal container and give the ingredients a gentle shake to coat your tofu pieces evenly.
- Set tofu pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the oven for 25 minutes or until the edges have browned.
You can replace the nutritional yeast with 1 teaspoon cornstarch or 1 teaspoon potato starch.
I like to prep the tofu as the soup is cooking so it’s all done at about the same time.
Keywords: easy vegan baked smoky tofu
Did You Try This Recipe?
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