Monday, October 12, 2009

Split Pea Soup

So at least one of the Mother Units (yes, I have more than one) has been following the blog. Maybe she's not, humor me anyway. I desperately needed a non-dessert win after two back to back main dish losers.  Mom's are supposed to root for you and encourage you when you are down. Yesterday, Mother Unit e-mailed me 2  purported delicious foolproof vegan recipes.   I took this as a sign. Never mind that neither recipe was designed for a crock pot.  Naturally, I decided to try them in a crock pot.

Ironically, I consulted Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook, hoping not to disappoint and sabotage Mother Unit's valiant imagined rescue attempt,   I figured the water/broth ratios on  their split pea soup would help me modify Mother Unit's version  for a crock pot.  Her recipe was so mammoth, it needed to be reduced (a lot) just to fit in a crock pot. I decide to add in 1 Tbls of brown sugar, since day old holiday hams usually have brown sugar glaze bits on them.  I also tossed in a bay leaf.

During a follow-up call, she swears this recipe is so good, non vegetarians love it and gasp in amazement that it isn't a post holiday meaty ham bone laden meat fest. On second thought, she confesses, she might have imagined this response.  Suddenly, I have a flash back to a very strange diet she was following in 1979 that gave rise to this soup. I remind myself that, so far, all of my main dish losers have been successfully redeemed with a follow-up sugary success. If this turns out badly, my fall back plan is redemptive crock pot caramel apples.

Winner, Loser or Meh

Exceptional.  I love this soup. Thanks to the Mother Unit.   I tasted it before adding the brown sugar and after.  I think it needed the brown sugar.  The whole leftover holiday ham split pea soup experience is had with the brown sugar. I could swear I was gnawing on tiny bits of ham.  I had a small bowl at the 12 hour mark which was okay, but not perfect.  I then left the lid off for about on hour while it stayed on low.  Then, it was perfect and thick.  I also didn't take out the celery spiked with cloves.  As the day went on, I kept going back for small bowls of the soup, it got better and better.


I used a large round crock pot for this. A medium would have worked, too.

  • 1 cup dried split peas
  • 5 cups vegetable stock (I used Pacific Organic)
  • 2 cloves garlic or 1 tsp chopped garlic (I used Christopher's in a jar)
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled, finely diced
  • 1 handful baby carrots, finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery (with a few leaves), finely diced, except leave one 3" chunk
  • 3 whole cloves - poke cloves into 3" celery chunk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • l/2 tsp. cumin
  • l/2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 Tbls brown sugar
Rinse the split peas in colander and remove any discolored ones.  Mix all ingredients except the sugar in the crock pot.  Cook on low for 12-15 hours.  Add brown sugar, stir.  Remove the cloves & bay leaf. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.  You can use an immersion blender to puree the soup (I did not) .Serve with croutons (or not).


  1. This soup was soooo delicious! I have been looking for a vegetarian substitute for my Grandma's pea and ham soup for so long, and I can say now that I have found it! Thanks for posting this!

    With my slow cooker I think it needed to be cooked for longer on low, or perhaps on a higher setting, because it was quite watery and there were still some crunchy pea bits. This didn't matter in the end, though, because I was so excited by the taste!

  2. Awesome. I liked it chunky by leaving the carrots and celery in larger pieces. I also threw in a small diced potato. Perfection.

  3. Sounds like a winner to me!! This soup would be perfect on this cold, rainy day - - YUMMM!!

  4. I just made this soup this week. Very good. I've been vegetarian for over 20 years and haven't had split pea soup since I became vegetarian. This soup is wonderful!

  5. Smelling this wafting from the kitchen right now. It is tomorrow's dinner with some homemade olive and rosemary garlic bread. My crockpot is ginormous, so I had to double the recipe. I could have actually tripled it without a problem. I also left the carrots chunky. Can't wait to add the brown sugar and taste it tomorrow!