Home-style Split Pea & Other Soups That Will Stick To Your Ribs

Chickpea and rice soup with kaleWhen the weather gets cold, I crave hearty, stick-to-your-ribs style soups.  For time and convenience, you can’t beat one-pot meals 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.

Chickpea and rice soup with kaleThis 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 ChiliI 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 cheddar Daiya 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 2Finally, 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.

Smoked salt with split pea soupThis 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!

What vegan soups are filling your bowls these days?

Home-style Split Pea Soup

Home-style Split Pea Soup

Serving Size: 4-6

Home-style Split Pea Soup


  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.



  1. says

    Oh man, I love a good “stick-to-your-ribs” soup, especially split-pea! This one looks wonderful- totally apropos for this chilly fall weather. :-) Heading over to watch your cabin video now!

    • says

      Thanks, Kristy! Dense and filling soups are definitely my favorite kind! When I’m at a restaurant, a less filling soup can be nice as a starter. However, when I’m making a soup at home, I want an easy, one pot meal!

  2. says

    Yum, I love split pea soup! I think most of the vegan versions I’ve had have used liquid smoke for flavor, but smoked salt is brilliant too. I’ve had trouble finding liquid smoke in stores but I’ll check around for smoked salt.
    Soup season is the best season, imo. You mentioned Isa: her new cookbook has a ton of amazing looking soups. I think I’m especially looking forward to a yellow split pea and rutabaga soup she has in there!

    • says

      Yes, Isa’s book looks incredible! I just got my copy on Friday and made my first meal from it last night. We had the home-style curry with tofu & broccoli. (Although, I was surprised to discover that my broccoli had gone bad, and so we had tofu and peas.) It was super tasty! I am so excited to make more from it. And you’re right, all of the soups look fantastic!

  3. says

    Snap! I’ve been making some split pea and kale soup, and it didn’t work out half so well as that rather beautiful one up there! Red lentil, butternut squash and coconut milk is another one on my rotation right now, and that’s been a bit more successful.

  4. Mae says

    All of the soups that you just wrote about sound amazing! I wish I could sample all of them right now. Lately I’ve been making spicy pumpkin soup, topped with chives and toasted pumpkin seeds.

      • Mae says

        It’s pretty simple actually – About 2 1/2 cups broth, two cups pumpkin puree, 1/2 an onion, 1 clove of garlic, 1 tsp cajun seasoning, and anything to cream it up like coconut milk, or cashew cream blended with more water to make it thinner. I cook it for about 45 mins, and it’s so creamy and delicious!

  5. Denise says

    Hi. Someone just told me about your blog and also “Cooking With Mr. C.” on Facebook.(also a blog) I just “Liked” his Facebook page and came to your site. It’s great. I’m so glad when people share their favorite blogs with each other. Denise

  6. says

    Everyone is posting about soups and they look great, but I’ll be honest. I don’t love it. I don’t know what it is about it in general, but it never feels like a complete meal if I can’t eat something with my hands. Before going vegan I did love my mom’s chicken noodle soup because she used thick Reames’ egg noodles and tons of carrots, but since then…not so much.

    But when I am in a soupy mood, I like Amy’s Organic lentil vegetable. It’s the perfect size for one person-me!-and I can add something on the side to eat with my hands. Yes, it’s from a (BPA-free) can, but I don’t like soup enough to make a big batch to eat for days. 😉

    • says

      Aw, you can tell we both have Midwestern backgrounds. My mom also used to make chicken and noodles with Reames’ egg noodles. Although, it wasn’t so much a soup, more like a creamy pasta dish. It used to be one of my favorite dishes of hers, and it’s something I’ve been wanting to veganize for the longest time! Some people use the Vegg to make vegan egg noodles. The only thing stopping me is the time commitment of noodle-making!

      I totally hear you about soup not being a complete meal. I don’t feel that way, but David always wants something more than just soup for dinner. That’s why we’ll grill bread, make a side of baked fries, have dolmas, sautéed spinach, or something else. He likes to have several different flavors for dinner; whereas, I’m happy with just soup.

      I used to get that lentil vegetable soup a lot, but I got the generic one from Trader Joe’s. (I’m pretty sure it’s the same soup, though.)

    • says

      Lentil soups are so tasty! I’m often amazed at how many years I went without eating lentils. They’re one of my favorite foods now. I have a double lentil soup that I like to make often. Plus, you can’t beat the price of lentils, especially for the nutritional punch!

  7. says

    I love to have a big pot of creamy white bean and kale (or spinach) soup bubbling on the stove. Not only is it comforting the night it’s made, but it provides warm lunches for several days after. Your soups look so good — really nice photos, Cadry!

    • says

      Don’t you just love easy lunches that are already prepped for you? White bean and kale soup sounds so good! Thanks for the kind words about the photos. You know how daunting it can be to photograph soup, especially ones that are murky green! :)

  8. says

    I’m all over the stick-to-your-ribs soups these days! Split pea is most definitely my favorite. I’m in serious need of picking up some sourdough and making some of that chickpea and rice soup. Sounds like perfection right now.

    • says

      Thank you! We really loved living there for five months. We were renting it, and FEMA bought it from the owners. It was in a flood zone, and they tore it to the ground. :( It was such a special place, but I’m really glad that we got to experience living that close to nature while it lasted.

  9. says

    Oh yeah! I’m totally all about the soups now too. All of these look so wonderful, but my favorite is the split pea soup. I seriously have some leftover split pea soup in the fridge right now too. I used to think soups were like this crazy thing that I could never make. So I always bought the canned stuff. But they are crazy-easy to make and it’s definitely great for using up leftovers. I love the video! Living in a cabin by the river sounds like a dream come true to me.

    • says

      I used to feel the same way about soup! As a kid, I would have been really disappointed to eat homemade soup over my preferred soup with the red and white label. Now canned soup doesn’t hold a candle to homemade. It’s just so much better.

      I’m so glad you liked the video! When we moved into the cabin, we knew we would love the experience, but it was just so much better than I’d even imagined. Bald eagles built nests across the river from us, and we were able to watch them soar over the river. Sadly, we had to move out when FEMA bought the property from the owners, because it was in a flood zone. It was then torn to the ground. It’s just a memory and a cooking video! :) I would love to live on the water again someday if I have the chance.

  10. says

    Oh hell yeah! This post is delicious. My husband and I eat like 2-3 different soups a week, and Split Pea just happens to be our favorite. Now you got me cravin. Tomorrow I’m making a White Bean Stew with Upton’s Bacon even though it’ll probably be 80 degrees outside :)

  11. says

    Ooh it’s been quite a long time since I made split pea soup, but I made a large batch of broccoli cheddar earlier this week. There’s a few more on my list now that it’s getting cool out.

  12. says

    I’ve always loved superthick soups, especially split pea and lentil…like you could scoop them up with bread like chunky dip. As a kid I never like watery soups like chicken noodle or chicken with rice…I’d always get rid of the broth and scoop up the rest onto saltine crackers. :)
    Your videos are so fun…slaving away over dinner, yeah that’s me! 😉
    Happy Halloween and a Blessed Samhain!

    • says

      Thanks for the Halloween & Samhain wishes! I’m a much bigger fan of thick, scoopable soups too. Every once in a while as a starter at a restaurant a thin soup is okay, but at home, I’m much more inclined to make a meal-like soup.


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