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!

Yellow Split Pea Soup

rate this recipe:
4.95 from 19 votes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 1 hr 10 mins
Serves 5
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.

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
  • 1 1/2 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

  • Make the cashew cream. Combine the cashews, water, and salt in a blender and process until very smooth. Set 3/4 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.

 

51 comments

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  1. Heidi
    07.20.2021

    5 stars
    I just happened to have purchased yellow split peas and corn at a farmers market yesterday and then came across this recipe. I didn’t have a potato so left that out but it was still delicious, Will definitely make this again, so yummy.

  2. Allie
    03.15.2021

    5 stars
    Delicious! Pretty simple to make. Used frozen corn and red potatoes, which worked out well. Added some baby spinach at the end for extra veg. My husband and I enjoyed it very much.

  3. JezMez
    02.02.2021

    4 stars
    I made this today and the flavor is great. I have two problems, though. First, I have cooked this for literally hours and the split peas just will not cook. I’ve just thrown them in the instapot for a few minutes to see if that won’t do the trick. I imagine that they must be old peas? I bought them in bulk some time ago.

    My other issue is that the name of this is all wrong. This is a corn chowder no matter how you look at it. Yes there are some split peas but the majority of this soup is corn. It looks like corn chowder, it tastes like corn chowder. It’ will be a very good corn chowder if I can get these peas to stop being crunchy!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.03.2021

      Hi Jessica, if the peas never cooked it means they’re old. It happens with old beans too.

  4. Katie
    11.25.2020

    5 stars
    I made this tonight and I used the whole amount of cashew cream and only 1/2 tbsp of vinegar. And it was SO good! My picky toddler and 9 year old even asked for seconds. I served it along side your lemon Rosemary no knead bread (which also turned out great) and the whole dinner was a hit. My husband barely noticed it was vegetarian. Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.26.2020

      Hi Katie, I’m so glad you all loved the soup and the bread!

  5. kate skwire
    11.02.2020

    5 stars
    This was DABOMB. I followed the recipe except instead of cashew cream I dumped a can of full fat coconut milk into it. It is divine and adds some extra nutritional value to this corn chowder. Definitely a keeper that I will make again and again. THANK YOU!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.02.2020

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  6. Victora
    10.13.2020

    This was incredibly good. I was kind of nervous to add the vinegar but it was delicious. It adds a little tang but doesnt scream vinegar. This really satisfied my pregnant tummy and I didnt get heartburn so thats a serious win. My peas didnt cook all the way through though after 45 minutes so I might try this in a crockpot next time. This was definitely worth making. I will being making it again.

  7. Jennifer McLemore
    10.13.2020

    5 stars
    Wow! My daughter is vegan and has always loved green pea soup with ham prior to veganism. I made and followed all directions ( which is almost impossible for me to do). Only thing I added was some carrots. I love carrots in pea soup. OMG Was delicious! I used Lawrey’s seasoning salt, and on the second bowl added some Thyme and enjoyed the added flavor ! The fresh corn I think is the key! Thanks so much! will be a staple in out home! BTW did in my insta pot in 35 mins! Added some vegan 1/2 and 1/2 because it was a bit too thick!

  8. Carmen Young
    10.12.2020

    5 stars
    Absolutely amazingly creative and delicious soup! I’m not a fan of split pea soup, but now I have a favorite soup with peas. Thank you for your recipes and inspiration!

  9. Lalla
    09.22.2020

    Hey Jeanine,
    I’ve been looking for some handled soup bowls similar to the ones in these photos. Do you know what company they are from?
    Thank you for posting such yummy food and beautiful photos!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.22.2020

      Hi Lalla, they’re from Farmhouse Pottery. I’m so obsessed with them!

      • Lalla
        09.22.2020

        Thank you! There are so many beautiful items on their website.!

  10. 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!

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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.