Yellow Split Pea Soup

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.

Yellow split pea soup

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.

Corn, onions, celery, potatoes, and yellow split peas

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 recipe

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!

Power Plates Cookbook

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!


5.0 from 10 reviews

Yellow Split Pea Soup

 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This yellow split pea soup is a vegan riff on corn chowder! It's sweet and smoky, cozy, creamy, and totally delicious. Adapted from Power Plates by Gena Hamshaw.
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 5
Ingredients
  • 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
Cashew Cream (makes extra)
  • 3⁄4 cup raw cashews (soaked 2 hours, if not using a Vitamix)
  • 2⁄3 cup water
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
Toppings options:
  • chives
  • extra fresh corn kernels
  • chopped parsley
  • red pepper flakes
  • coconut bacon
  • olive oil, for drizzling
Instructions
  1. Make the cashew cream. Combine the cashews, water, and salt in a blender and process until very smooth. Set ¾ cup aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

37 comments

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  1. Dawn Mayo from colormeetsplate.com
    10.04.2018

    Thank you for this recipe! This is very timely for the fall season. 🙂
    I can’t wait to get back to my kitchen and try this out the soonest. I started a healthy lifestyle just last month and recipes like these are all I need to get started. Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.05.2018

      I hope you love it as much as we did!

  2. Adriana
    10.04.2018

    Hi, Can you use whole milk instead of cashew cream? or would heavy cream be better? Love all your soup recipes. I make your black bean chili once a month usually!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.04.2018

      Hi Adriana, I think either would be just fine – the cashew cream was about the consistency of a heavy cream, but the other elements (corn, split, peas, potato), all help thicken it as well. I’m glad you’re loving the black bean chili!

  3. Corn chowder is the BEST meal. This is absolutely stunning. I love the coconut bacon too! That’s a great flavor combo 🙂

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.05.2018

      Thanks, Kathleen!

  4. Susan
    10.04.2018

    This is a very intriguing recipe. I grew up on yellow split pea soup and didn’t care much for it, but I’m thinking that after 40-50 years without eating yellow split peas, I’m ready to try them again.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.05.2018

      Hi Susan, I hope you love it – the corn gives it a really interesting flavor and the split peas provide texture and protein, more than anything else. It’s delish!

  5. kateinams
    10.04.2018

    Looks great!
    Fresh corn is not so easy to get where I am; how would canned corn change the recipe/cooking time?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.04.2018

      Hi Kate, I think frozen corn might be better than canned, if you can find that. I wouldn’t change anything about the cook time. Hope that helps!

  6. MACKENZIE REYNOLDS
    10.04.2018

    Would coconut cream be a good substitute for the cashew cream? I know the consistency would be right, but unsure of the flavor profiles.

    • MACKENZIE REYNOLDS
      10.04.2018

      I meant coconut MILK!

      • Jeanine Donofrio
        10.04.2018

        I used coconut milk and liked it in this corn chowder recipe that I posted awhile back: https://www.loveandlemons.com/creamy-vegan-corn-chowder/

        That recipe was a little more heavily spiced so I’m not sure exactly how it would affect this one without tasting it myself but I think it’s possible 🙂

  7. Julie from Www.breakawaytrainingpdx.com
    10.04.2018

    So good! Made this tonight with frozen corn. Added roasted green Chile’s and topped with tortilla chips. And we have enough for left overs tomorrow. I’ll try the coconut bacon. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.05.2018

      Ooh, I love that twist with green chiles and tortilla chips! Glad you loved the recipe 🙂

  8. sabrina from newkitchenlife.com
    10.04.2018

    love all of this, the split pea especially since I miss it and am using this as my welcome to the fall! thank you

  9. Mrs E from ohsheglows.com
    10.05.2018

    As soon as I saw your post I immediately thought of Gena’s recipe from Power Plates, I have the book and every recipe I’ve tried so far is a winner, including this fantastic soup! Whenever I make a batch…I think I’ve made this three times so far, it is enjoyed to the last drop! Nice job on finding this great recipe and posting it! I’ve never tried the topping of coconut bacon, but always add the chard, which makes it even healthier!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.05.2018

      it’s so good! We really enjoyed it!

  10. Mrs E from ohsheglows.com
    10.05.2018

    I forgot to add, I have not tried it with the cashew crema either, and your recipe does not call for chard but I add a whole bunch stemmed and chopped after blending half of the soup and let it simmer for another 10 minutes. I also like the soup completely un blended as well.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.05.2018

      I bet it’s really good with the chard! I just didn’t have any the day I was making it 🙂

  11. Gaby Dalkin
    10.06.2018

    YUM! I can literally taste fall while reading this cozy recipe!

  12. shridevi
    10.12.2018

    Thanks for sharing such a unique and healthy corn recipe…..
    keep sharing such a new and interesting recipes.
    Indian recipes

  13. Erin
    10.14.2018

    Just made it and it is perfect, right down to the coconut bacon. Great recipe! I ended up simmering the cashews (instead of soaking) through the chopping of the veg right up to just before the cream would be added to the soup, and then pureed in the cashew water. Came out so so velvety smooth. This is definitely a new favourite. Thanks!

  14. Alissa
    10.23.2018

    I’ve been making your fabulous recipes since you first started this blog. I wanted to let you know that my 9 year old refuses to eat anything I cook for him except this. He requires I make this at least once a week 🙂

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.24.2018

      Hi Alissa, oh I’m so happy to hear that you’ve been following for so long! Ha, I’m glad he loves the soup!

  15. Rosu Sensei
    12.09.2018

    My sons and daughter really love your recipes. Thank you for providing a good recipes for me to cook for my children. Really appreciate of what you have done. All my children will request me corn chowder each and every weekend. They really love it.

  16. Puneeta
    03.18.2019

    I had a day off work today and made the corn chowder soup with yellow split peas. It was delicious and definitely a recipe for life! Thank you.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.22.2019

      Hi Puneeta, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  17. Laura
    03.23.2019

    This was really delicious! It was a big hit with my family. The only issue I had was my split peas we’re still a little crunchy after simmering for an hour and a half… At which point I gave up and finished the soup because we needed to eat and I didn’t want the other veggies to turn to mush. Maybe I should’ve soaked them first?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.26.2019

      Hmm, wow, that’s a long time… I’ve only heard of that sort of thing happening at high altitude(?), otherwise it might be an issue with the freshness of the split peas? Either way, I definitely think soaking would help (and it can’t hurt).

  18. Bailey
    08.24.2019

    Made this tonight for dinner and it was outstanding! Thank you so much for providing another amazing recipe for our rotation!

  19. Susan
    03.01.2020

    Loved this recipe! It was perfect for a cold winter evening in Colorado; the soup was warm, delicious and flavorful. Will definitely make this one again!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.02.2020

      I’m so happy to hear!

  20. Karen
    03.26.2020

    A really delicious soup. So hearty and satisfying. I made it minus the cashew cream and it was still pretty creamy with the half blended mix of soup ingredients. I subbed out real celery for a little celery salt (personal preference) and topped with the recommended coconut bacon. Recipe is a total keeper, cheers!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.29.2020

      Hi Karen, I’m so glad you loved it! I’m a big fan of celery salt too 🙂

  21. Elizabeth
    07.07.2020

    Hi I love all your recipes. I noticed someone said they made this without cashew cream and now substitute for it? Is that ok that I leave out and not substitute anything for it? thank you!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.