The key to a truly delicious split pea soup? Instead of hiding the pea flavor with tons of pork products, this vegetarian (and vegan, depending on your pesto choice) soup recipe complements their earthy quality with bright, fresh summer ingredients.
- 2 T plus 1 t olive oil, divided
- 1 C diced white onion and/or shallots
- 2 stalks celery, diced (optional)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 low sodium vegetable bouillon cubes
- 1/2 t dried basil
- 1/3 C water or white wine
- 10 C water
- 15 to 16 oz. (just over 2 cups) dried green split peas, picked over for stones and rinsed
- Kosher salt
- 3 multi-colored bell peppers
- 1 C frozen (thawed) or fresh corn kernels
- A handful or two of baby spinach
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 3 T basil or other green herb pesto (plus more for serving)
- Ground black pepper
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in a 3 to 4 quart pot. Add onion, shallot, and celery and cook until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for a few minutes, until just beginning to brown. Add bouillon cubes, basil, and 1/3 cup water or white wine. Increase heat to a simmer and cook until bouillon is dissolved and liquid is reduced by half. Add 10 cups water, the split peas, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes, until peas are soft and breaking down.
- Meanwhile, coat the peppers lightly with olive oil and broil near heat for 20 to 25 minutes, turning occasionally, until charred all over. Place peppers in a metal or glass bowl and cover with foil or plastic wrap, a dish towel, and a dinner plate to seal in steam. Remove using a tongs after 20 minutes and cool slightly. Peel the peppers but don’t run them under water (it removes the smoky char). Remove seeds and stems, then dice and set aside. If desired, cook corn in a dry skillet over medium to medium high until mostly darkened, and set aside with the peppers.
- Once peas are done simmering, maintain heat and stir in spinach. Cook for a minute or two until just wilted, then cool slightly. Puree with an immersion blender or in batches in a blender, then return soup to pan. Stir in peppers and corn (reserving a few for garnish), lemon juice, pesto, and additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve soup with extra pesto, peppers, and corn, or freeze.
- Cook Time: 50 mins
- Category: Soup
- Cuisine: Vegetarian