I love the comforting simplicity of split pea soup, but most classic recipes call for ham hock. To achieve that smoky, smooth, fatty flavor in this vegan version, I did few things.
First, I included smoked paprika, which adds a rich, smoky flavor. It also adds a reddish tinge to the soup, which I don’t mind.
Next, I used a healthy amount of Earth Balance and then pureed a portion of the soup so it has a smoother, more viscous consistency.
Finally, I topped the soup with a few strips of vegan bacon. There are countless ways to make vegan bacon, some more convincing than others. But a jaw-droppingly delicious version is this one from Olives for Dinner that uses shiitake mushrooms. When crispy, they’re just like the ends of bacon, but without all of the, ya know, misery and saturated fat.
One of the nice things about split peas is that they don’t have to be soaked beforehand, although they cook a bit more quickly if you do. I didn’t soak these and they got to the falling apart stage (how I like ‘em) in about an hour.
(Note: If you really want to up the smoke factor of this soup, try adding a drop or two of liquid smoke).
- 2 T Earth Balance spread
- 1 c yellow onion, diced
- 1 c carrots, small dice
- 1 c celery, small dice
- 1 T garlic, minced
- 1 t dried oregano
- 1 t smoked paprika
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 2 c green split peas, rinsed and drained
- 48 oz vegetable stock (unsalted)
- ¾ t salt
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- In a large soup pot, heat Earth Balance spread. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook for about 4 minutes until vegetables are soft. Stir in oregano and smoked paprika and cook another two minutes. Stir in bay leaf and split peas and cook another two minutes. Pour in vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low/medium heat for about an hour. Remove bay leaf. Puree to desired consistency with an immersion blender. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.