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Table of Contents
  1. Ingredients for Split Pea Soup
  2. How to Make Vegetarian Split Pea Soup
  3. Storing + Freezing Soup Tips
  4. More Soup Recipes
  5. Vegetarian Split Pea Soup Recipe
  6. Vegetarian Split Pea Soup FAQs

Traditional split pea soup is made with some kind of meat broth and a ham bone, yet I’ve found a way to make it just as flavorful with plant-based ingredients. This vegetarian split pea soup is a recipe the whole family can enjoy, plus it reheats nicely. Hearty & healthy leftovers, anyone?

labeled ingredients for split pea soup including vegetable stock, dried green split peas, fresh thyme, celery, yellow onion, garlic cloves, bay leaves, carrots, leek and avocado oil.

Ingredients for Split Pea Soup

This comforting recipe can be made with ingredients found at almost any grocery store, so no need to shop around! Here’s what I’m putting in the stock pot:

  • Avocado oil: this high-heat oil is perfect for creating lovely sautéed vegetables.
  • Leek: full of nutrients, leeks are a lighter-flavored cousin to onions. I use both in cooking so that more onions don’t overpower the dish. If this is a new vegetable to you then learn how to cut leeks like a pro.
  • Yellow onion: buttery, milder flavor that I love in almost any savory dish.
  • Carrots: cut through the green produce with some vibrant carrots, as well as some earthy flavor.
  • Celery: a staple soup ingredient, celery is full of antioxidants that benefit any dish.
  • Garlic cloves: another way to add a flavor burst is through fresh garlic, and it doesn’t disappoint in this aromatic recipe.
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper: added to enhance flavor, feel free to have some at the table in case you need a bit more after cooking.
  • Dried green split peas: split peas have 8g of protein per serving, making them a great plant-based protein option.
  • Fresh thyme: Thyme has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries, plus it adds a minty, sweet, woodsy flavor to this soup.
  • Bay leaves: these unique leaves add a lovely floral and thyme flavor to foods, yet you don’t eat them. Just toss 1-2 leaves in the soup pot then remove before serving. They should stay right on the top while simmering.
  • Vegetable stock: Whether you buy some or make your own, use a version that contains only real, whole-food ingredients and is lower in sodium.
large white bowl of green split peas.

Easy Ingredient Swaps

If you don’t have any split peas on hand, you can actually substitute lentils. Both are great plant-based protein options. Leeks can be swapped out for one cup of shallots, which are similar in flavor.

Also, don’t be afraid to add your own spice combo to make this soup unique. I often add a little heat to my recipes, and some green chili hot sauce is the perfect kick for this vegetarian split pea soup. While fresh herbs add more health benefits (and flavor), dried herbs are a great swap in a pinch.

How to Make Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

This recipe is so simple! Grab a stock pot and cutting board and good chopping knife and let’s get cookin’.

white stock pot with onions, carrots, celery and leeks then another white stock pot getting filled with vegetable stock.

Step 1: Wash + chop up the veggies then sauté in oil in a large stock pot. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the vegetables are softened. Add the garlic and sauté for just under a minute longer, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t burn.

Step 2: Add the spices, stock and split peas. Cover the stock pot and reduce heat to low so that the soup can simmer for 1 hour. You know it’s done when the peas are soft and partially broken down, but not just mush.

cooked vegetable soup getting stirred by a wooden spoon in a white stock pot.

Step 3: Remove bay leaves and serve in bowls with paprika and green onions.

I recommend getting organic veggies for this soup, as celery is on EWG’s Dirty Dozen list (produced with the most chemicals). Organic vegetable stock is also a better option for this split pea soup, as it has better flavor, as well as no additives.

Instant Pot Version

Need to make this soup quickly? Grab that instant pot and get chopping! Seriously though, the instant pot makes surprisingly great soups.

To make this vegetarian soup in an instant pot, chop up the veggies, then set the pot to sauté. Add in the avocado oil, and once heated, toss in the veggies. These will probably soften a bit faster, so check on them after 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once sautéd, turn off the instant pot, remove the veggies, and deglaze the bottom of the pot with 1/2 cup of vegetable stock. Then add in the cooked vegetables, the rest of the stock and all the spices. Pressure cook on high for 15 minutes.

Follow the instant pot guide to manually release pressure, or allow for the pressure to naturally release in 15-20 minutes.

Storing + Freezing Soup Tips

This recipe makes a full pot of soup, so freezing some is a great option! I usually freeze soups in single-serving portions, so that I can reheat for a quick lunch. I typically use pint-sized mason jars with a wide mouth, for easy defrosting/pouring when defrosting. They also stack well in my freezer!

Alternatively, freeze in a soup cube tray until completely frozen, then remove and store in a freezer-safe storage bag.

Make sure to cool completely before freezing. I actually let this vegetarian split pea soup chill in the fridge overnight before transferring to the freezer, to make sure it really has cooled off. I definitely don’t want any exploding glass jars!

white bowl of plant-based soup next to a spoon.

More Soup Recipes

If you know me, you know I love soup. It’s a great way to pack in lots of different veggies at once. It also fills the whole house with amazing smells. Here are a few more of my favorite soup recipes:

What are some of your favorite soup recipes? Drop a comment and share! Also, do you have any family soup recipes that you’d love to see in a healthier version? If so, let me know. I love a good challenge, as well as new soup recipes.

white bowl of vegetarian split pea soup on wooden slab.
4.75 from 51 votes

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

While this vegetarian split pea soup is delicious straight from the stovetop, it's even better as leftovers. Make a batch and freeze, or enjoy as a cozy family dinner.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total: 1 hour 20 minutes
Author: Jen Hansard
Course: Entree, Soup
Cuisine: Plant-Based, Vegan
Serves: 6


  • stove


  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 leek white and light green parts only, halved, washed well, and thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow onion finely chopped
  • 3 carrots peeled and cut into thin rounds
  • 3 celery stalks thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic cloves minced
  • sea salt
  • black pepper ground
  • 1 ½ cup dried green split peas about 12 oz.
  • 2 tbsp. fresh thyme plus more for serving
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4-6 cups vegetable stock

For Topping:

  • smoked paprika
  • green onions
  • fresh thyme
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  • Sauté the leek, onion, carrot, and celery in 2 tbs avocado oil. Season with salt and pepper then stir occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes.  Add the garlic and sauté for 45 more seconds.
  • Add fresh thyme, bay leaves, vegetable stock and green split peas. Cover and reduce heat to low for 1 hour (or until split peas are soft and partially broken down). Remove bay leaves before serving.
  • Serve with paprika, green onions, salt & pepper.


  • To make this onion-free, sub the yellow onion with another leek.
  • This may make extra servings. To freeze, allow to cool completely. Store in freezer-safe containers and freeze.
  • Dried thyme can be substituted in a pinch.


Calories: 259kcal, Carbohydrates: 41g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Sodium: 49mg, Potassium: 722mg, Fiber: 16g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 5742IU, Vitamin C: 15mg, Calcium: 81mg, Iron: 4mg
Tried this recipe? Show me!Mention @SimpleGreenSmoothies or tag #SimpleGreenSmoothies!

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup FAQs

Is vegetarian split pea soup good for you?

Yes! It’s full of ingredients used to boost immunity full of vitamins and minerals and ready to fight inflammation.

Is split pea soup inflammatory?

Not my version. I use all vegan ingredients that actually fight inflammation vs heightening it.

How do you make split pea soup vegetarian?

Instead of using a ham bone or meat broth, I use vegetable stock and spices to flavor my soup. It does change the final taste a bit, yet give my version a try! You might be surprised just how good it tastes with these changes.

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  1. This was my last soup and it was delicious. Lot’s of flavor. Like the thickness of this soup. I would make it again.

    I am glad I signed up for this challenge. My husband and I love soup in the fall and winter. Now I have many more to add to repertoire! Thank you.

  2. 4 stars
    This recipe was alittle thick since my husband likes watery pea soup. overall it was delicious…i just addedmore water:}

  3. 5 stars
    This soup had great flavour. I have never made nor eaten split pea soup, but will definitely make it again.
    I am so glad I took part in this 10 day soup challenge.
    Thank you

  4. 5 stars
    I really love this soup. Dried thyme was all I had on hand so I used that. Also used extra onions as I did not have enough leeks, and it still tasted very good. This recipe is one of my favorites and I usually don’t use split peas.
    When I make in the future, I will use less stock or more of the vegetables. This is the last recipe of the challenge and I am so glad I participated. I used more spices during this challenge than I’ve ever used and I have eaten soups that I’ve never made before. Great experience.

  5. 5 stars
    I don’t remember ever eating split peas before, so I was a bit hesitant to try this recipe. I was surprised how much I liked it. I topped each bowl with smoked paprika and green onions. It was easy to make and was very good.