It’s been 80°F here for the last few days. What the heck. I mean, I’m not really complaining. I’ll take a warm sunny day any time of year. But what the heck?
I made this easy vegetarian split pea soup last week when we were having some more “normal” February weather. You know, 65° and sunny, not 80. In my brain it was the last of the winter dishes I was going to make. I have a couple “transitional” dishes planned, ones that are going to attempt to bridge the gap between winter spring, but this one was the last winter one.
And now as I’m writing this it’s 80° out. So for all of you out there who don’t live on the western side of the continent, this recipe is for you.
Split pea soup has a special place in my heart. When I was a kid, we used to drive up to Solvang, a teeny tiny little Dutch community here on the Central Coast, for a 100-mile bike ride. A bunch of my parents friends and a few of us kids willing to put up with it would take a long weekend and ride bikes, enjoy the cute community there, and spend more time than necessary in whatever hotel pool or hot tub was available.
At some point during the weekend we would drive into Buellton, another tiny but not quite as quaint town, and go to their famous restaurant, Pea Soup Anderson’s. This restaurant is remarkably famous for being situated in such a small town, but it’s for good reason – they serve ridiculously delicious split pea soup.
I remember going there as a kid and wanting nothing to do with the green-yellow mush put in front of me. It really is unfortunate how ugly split pea soup is. But it’s a really good example of that old saying – Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Because what pea soup lacks in beauty it certainly makes up for in flavor.
About this split pea soup:
Most split pea soup recipes on the internet have some sort of bacon or ham in them, so I set out to make a super delicious vegetarian version. This vegetarian split pea soup has some veggies to bulk it up a bit, like carrots and potatoes, but the kicker is these croutons. I am so into croutons right now. They are so easy to make, and they only take like 15 minutes to bake up. And you guys – there is honestly not much that is quite as satisfying as a fresh-baked still-warm crunchy crouton.
Croutons, you officially have my ❤.
When I did the review for Sun Basket, they sent me a recipe for sumac-spiced pita croutons, and I fell in love with sumac. So I decided to use sumac on these croutons, too, and I’m so glad I did! I found sumac at our local Whole Foods, but if you can’t find it at your grocery store (and you don’t want to buy it online) then just use some salt and a bunch black pepper. They’ll still be fantastic.
The split pea soup has to simmer for about 45 minutes once you add the peas. Stir it every now and then, but otherwise you’re free to make croutons and go play with your dog while it cooks. Split peas are really funny in that they’ll look like split peas for the first 40 minutes of cooking, and then in the blink of an eye they turn to the wonderful mush we call split pea soup. That’s when you know they’re done cooking!
This warm weather has been nice and all, but I’m almost wishing it would cool down again so I can make another batch of this good stuff. Almost ?
Vegetarian Split Pea Soup
This vegetarian split peas soup recipe is full of carrots, potatoes, and of course, split peas! Topped with homemade sumac-spiced croutons, this is a recipe you’ll make time and again.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 45 mins
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings
for the soup:
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 carrots, sliced
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 3-4 small gold potatoes, cut into 1/2″ dice
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 lb split peas, rinsed
- 8 cups veggie broth
- 1/8 – 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt
- a bunch of freshly cracked black pepper
for the croutons:
- 5 cups cubed day-old bread
- 1 Tbsp sumac*
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Warm the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the diced potatoes, oregano, and thyme and mix. Add the peas and veggie broth, stir well, and bring to a rolling boil. Turn the heat to low, then partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the peas turn to mush, about 45 minutes.
- While the soup cooks, toss the cubed bread with the olive oil, then sprinkle on the sumac and toss to distribute. Spread the bread out onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, tossing once halfway through.
- When the soup is done cooking, add cayenne pepper, salt, and a bunch of black pepper to taste. Serve the soup topped with a few croutons and some extra black pepper. Enjoy!
– If you can’t find sumac, just use a bunch of black pepper.