Split Pea and Cauliflower Soup

A little lighter than the original, but packed with flavor and nutrition. In a pressure cooker, this is easily a weeknight dinner.

This is my 100th post!

Pea soup made from dried legumes is a classic Northern dish with French Canadian roots. On rainy spring nights, this soup warms the bones and adds home comfort to the day.

split peas
Split peas come in both the green and yellow varieties and are enjoyed world-wide, the star of many cuisines. They are among the highest sources of dietary fiber, and filled with protein, vitamins, and minerals. They are also pretty tasty!

Traditionally, this soup was made with a ham bone to add flavor, smokiness, and a bit of meat presence, and also to make use of every part of the animal. I make it that way for my husband (his favorite soup) when we have a ham bone left from a holiday meal, and he loves it. However, this vegetarian version is quick to put together and cook in a pressure cooker or multi-cooker, especially on a weeknight when we need something comforting, and we need it fast. It makes a lot, so you’ll have enough for lunches tomorrow.

Still a simple dish to make

The original family version was simple –– split peas, a ham bone, an onion, and water, and it was delicious. In my redux, I’ve added a substantial amount of cauliflower to lessen the carbohydrate load on each serving. I’ve omitted the ham bone, but added some spices to make up for the lack thereof, especially the smoked paprika.

It takes just a few moments to prep and put together, and the appliance can do the rest of the work. This soup is beautiful when leisurely simmered in a stockpot. It is equally delicious made in a pressure cooker or multi-cooker, and it can slow cook all day in the crockpot while you are at work.

This is the basic recipe, but I also love this with curry flavors. When blooming the other spices, add a tablespoon of your own or a prepared curry blend and a little extra cumin for good measure.  Curry Spice Blend

Garnish possibilities

Garnish with crispy shallots or onions (below) or homemade croutons, toasted pepitas, or a mix of all of the above! You could add crunchy noodles, or even something with a bit of spice like sliced radishes.

Serve this with biscuits, traditionally, or, if there is no time to bake, whole wheat pita bread, toasted and slipped into the side of the soup.

Split Pea and Cauliflower Soup

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 large yellow onions, diced
2 ribs celery, tops and all, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 large or two small parsnips or carrots
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2 bay leaves
3 cups cauliflower, small dice
2 cups split peas
8 cups water

It all starts the same:  In your pressure cooker, multi-cooker, or stock pot, heat and add olive oil followed by the onions, celery, pepper, and carrots. Sauté until the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, and bay, and stir until fragrant, 30 seconds or so. If you are using a slow cooker, do this in a sauté pan and transfer to the cooker.

Add the cauliflower, peas, and water to the pot.

Here are your options at this point:

If using a pressure cooker or multi-cooker on pressure, cook on high pressure for 10 minutes, and let the pressure release naturally.

If cooking in a stockpot on the stove, bring to boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 2 hours, or until the soup is at the consistency you like.

If using a slow cooker, set to low heat for 8 hours.

Leftovers will probably have to be thinned down as this soup naturally condenses!

Crispy Shallots or Onions

These make a great topping for many soups where you want some texture, and if you have any left over you can add them to a salad or sandwich.

1 cup canola oil
1 large onion or 4 shallots, sliced very thinly

Place the shallots in the canola and heat to medium high. Keep an eye on them, they will probably take from 8 to 10 minutes to crisp up. I like them really crispy, but take them out when they are at the stage you like.

Nutritional information:  For 10 servings, 160 calories each, 3 grams of fat, and full of fiber (12 grams), protein (10 grams). Also, a good source of vitamins A & C, calcium, potassium, and iron.

© Copyright 2019 – or current year, Dorothy Grover-Read, The New Vintage Kitchen.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. John Breen says:

    no poblano, no parsnips and no cauliflower, but I just made a big pot of split pea soup with lots of ham in it. What a nice thing to be able to put into the freezer in small containers for when we want some hot and hearty soup! Love all the recipes Dot.


    1. I love cooking big batches like that and tucking dinners away in the freezer! It’s the best fast food!

  2. Sheryl says:

    I never would have thought of combining split peas and cauliflower, but it sounds like a delightful combination.

    1. It lightens it up a little, split pea soup, especially day 2, can be heavy if not diluted! Ever so tasty though!

  3. I love split pea soup and yours looks amazing!

    1. Why thank you Diane!

  4. Ham and pea soup was a winter staple in my Nanna’s kitchen when I was growing up. She used to make great containers full and freeze it when I was a student all the way up to when I was married with children, so I would always have some on hand. I even had 1 last container in the freezer after she passed away. I now make it, not as good as hers, and always reserve the Christmas ham bone for the soup. The veg version sounds also very delightful.

    1. What a lovely memory Kathryn! I love the story about the last container of soup after she passed a way. We had a similar story in our family. My mother always made these delicious little coffee cakes at Christmastime, and often there was so much food about that we didn’t get to eat it, so I would tuck it away in the freezer. Quite a few months after she died, I found one in the freezer and saved it for Christmas when I shared it with the family. It was a sacred communion, as I’m sure it was with your soup. PS, we had a ham at Easter and I made my husband a big instant pot of split pea and ham soup. It tasted ALMOST as good as my mothers!

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