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Vegetarian French-Canadian Yellow Split-Pea Soup


Vegetarian recipes, healthy foods, kitchen tips and shortcuts interest Liz, but she also likes desserts!

Delicious homestyle yellow split-pea soup

Delicious homestyle yellow split-pea soup

The History of This Soup

My father was of French-Canadian descent. This yellow split-pea soup was one of his favorite recipes from his mother. In the original version, ham hocks are used for extra flavor and some tiny tidbits of meat.

As I've been a vegetarian since the mid-1980s, I've reinvented many of my family's recipes to be veg-friendly. This one is a favorite for chilly evenings.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

1 hour 30 min

1 hour 45 min

8 to 12 servings


  • 1 red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 pounds dried yellow split peas
  • 1 cup sliced carrots, fresh or frozen
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 to 5 quarts water


  1. Using a 6-quart pot, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until almost translucent.
  2. Rinse the split peas in a large strainer or colander, drain well, and add to the pot.
  3. Stir the sauteed garlic and onion through the peas. Then add the carrots, stirring them in.
  4. Add the salt, pepper, and curry powder. Mix well.
  5. Add the water, stir, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  6. Cover, and reduce to simmer for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Keep an eye on it; stir every now and then. If it is getting too thick, add more water. The longer the ingredients cook together, the better the flavors blend.
  7. In the last 30 minutes, add in the liquid smoke, and continue to simmer for the remaining time.
  8. Test to be sure the peas are fully cooked and soft. If not, simmer a while longer.
  9. When the peas are fully tender, turn off the heat, and stir well.
  10. Using a food mill placed across a large bowl, empty the soup by 2 cupfuls at a time into the food mill, and press through into the bowl.

Cooking Guide

Saute the onion and garlic

Saute the onion and garlic

Add the peas, carrots, seasonings, and water; then put to boil

Add the peas, carrots, seasonings, and water; then put to boil

Run through a food mill to finish. (Yes, it can get messy, especially if you're a klutz like me.)

Run through a food mill to finish. (Yes, it can get messy, especially if you're a klutz like me.)

Serving Suggestions

Serve with a nice red wine and a hearty roll, as pictured at the top of the article, and you have a full meal.

Of course, I believe "wine rules" are made to be broken, so if you prefer a white, go for it. Or, if you don't care for wine, serve with some other beverage of your choice.

Slow Cooker Method

If desired, you can also cook this together in a slow-cooker for about 3 hours on low heat. Bring the ingredients to a boil first, on the stove, then transfer to slow cooker, for an even quicker finish.

No Food Mill? No Problem

If you don't have a food mill, you can always run the finished soup through a food processor, and then through a strainer, depending how smooth you want it.

The food mill allows some texture to remain, but there will be no chunks; it's a soup that has no bits needing to be chewed. For this reason, it doesn't matter if your onions and garlic aren't chopped super fine, or if the carrots are in slices or chunks.

It's also a perfect soup for the elderly, or anyone with chewing difficulties.

Extra Tips

What if you are short an ingredient?

Not to worry; this is a very forgiving dish. As it happened, I was short on onion, so I simply added some onion powder into the pot and no one is the wiser. (Well, I guess they are now; I've told on myself!)

Ditto for other flavors. Carrots can be more, fewer, or omitted; it's all up to you. They don't add their own flavor, but just kick up the nutrition another notch.

The liquid smoke is very pungent smelling in the bottle; don't let that throw you off. It's far more subtle in the soup, and you may find you want to add a bit more.

This is a large-batch recipe. It can easily be cut in half for serving fewer people, or you can just freeze the extra; it freezes very well.

© 2018 Liz Elias


Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on April 18, 2018:

@ Susan--Thank you. In fact, I don't think I ever make it exactly the same way twice, myself! LOL As I said, it's a pretty forgiving "recipe." Basically, a jumping off point for your own variations. In fact, I forgot, and left this particular batch simmering a tad too long, and all the water was absorbed; I ended up with pea soup paste, about the consistency of peanut butter! All I had to do was add another quart of water, adjust the seasonings, and it was as good as new! This usually has to be done anyway, when reheating leftovers, as it thickens a lot in the fridge overnight.

@ Eric--Thank you; I hope you enjoy it. Remember, it is easily cut down for a smaller batch, or, conversely, increased if you're feeding a big crowd.

@ Brian--I hope you do, too! It's really very good, and hearty. Served with a loaf of still-warm French bread, it's positively addictive! (Well, at least the bread is, for me! Hahaha.) Thanks much for stopping by, and I'm glad you liked the recipe.

Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on April 18, 2018:

Sounds good. I hope and expect to make it some time.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on April 17, 2018:

Very cool. I will give this a go.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on April 17, 2018:

You make yours a bit differently than how I make mine. Will have to try yours as it sounds good.

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