When the weather gets cold, I crave hearty meals-in-a-bowl like homestyle split pea soup. For time and convenience, you can’t beat hearty soups that deliver a lot of flavor and make your insides feel cozy and soothed. Add some toasted baguette, crackers, or grilled garlic sourdough, and dishes are kept to a minimum with just spoons and soup bowls. Plus, most soups freeze well, meaning quick and easy thaw-able meals later.
Some of my favorite soups include:
Chickpea & Rice Soup with a Little Kale
This Chickpea & Rice Soup with a Little Kale is one of my all-time favorites. It’s a recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz at Post Punk Kitchen, and during the cold weather months it’s been very well loved since she posted it last January. I usually make it with cannellini or Great Northern beans instead of chickpeas, and barley instead of rice, but it’s really satisfying any way you make it. With creamy cashew cream at its base, fragrant rosemary and thyme, and nutrient-dense kale, it feels like more than just a soup. It’s a meal.
Smoky Soy Curl & Two Bean Chili
I don’t know if it technically qualifies as a soup since it’s chili, but in my mind if there are beans and broth, it must be soup. I posted this recipe for Smoky Soy Curl & Two Bean Chili back in July when I was smothering grilled veggie dogs with it. Now it’s making its way into bowls to be adorned with crackers and a sprinkling of non-dairy cheese shreds. Or it’s also great in a chili cheese burrito (with vegan cheese, of course), being careful to remove as much liquid from the chili as possible before ladling it onto a tortilla.
Homestyle Split Pea Soup
Finally, this home-style split pea soup is thick and dense with carrots, celery, garlic, barley, and broken down split peas. (For a gluten-free option, replace the barley with rice.) I started making this soup way back in 2010 when I wanted a split pea option that was like my favorite canned split pea of yore but without having any pigs harmed in the process.
This comforting soup gets its smokiness by way of smoked salt, but if you’d rather use liquid smoke, that works as well. I even made a video about this soup when we were still living in a cabin on the river. The light and sound aren’t the greatest, but you can see one of my favorite places I’ve lived. It’s actually my most-viewed video on YouTube by far!
- 1 tsp organic canola oil or other neutral cooking oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 4 ½ cups water
- 1 vegan vegetable bouillon cube
- 1 ½ cups split peas, green or yellow, rinsed and sorted
- ¼ cup barley, rinsed and sorted (Brown rice also works, but the soup will be a bit more watery since it doesn’t absorb as much water)
- ½ tsp coriander
- ½ tsp dried basil
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ¼ tsp smoked salt (or liquid smoke)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large soup pot, add organic canola oil and bring to a medium heat. Sauté garlic, carrots, celery and onion for about five minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the water and bouillon cube to the pot.
- Put the split peas and barley into the soup pot along with the coriander, basil, and thyme. Bring to a simmer. Once it is simmering, reduce the heat to low, stir, and cover with lid.
- Keep the soup covered and cooking for 60 minutes. Depending on the age of your split peas, the seal of your pot, and the heat of the low setting on the stove, the soup may be done anywhere between 60-90 minutes. The soup is done when the split peas are soft, mushy, and falling apart. If it looks like you'll run out of liquid before the split peas are totally softened, add more water as necessary and adjust spices accordingly.
- When finished, add smoked salt, and salt and pepper to taste.
This soup is lovely on its own or topped with your favorite veggie bacon.