Autumn is here & our thoughts have turned to wholesome walks in the countryside, crunching through piles of leaves and a nip in the air making our cheeks rosy and cute! Then once we are all tuckered out from being outside, cozying up with something warm & filling, like this Vegan Yellow Split Pea & Ham Soup.
The original version of this veganised Pea & Ham soup was a favourite of our family growing up. Yes, even in Australia, we did get wintery days where we needed a hug in a bowl! The rich smell of slow cooked peas, mingled with the smoky flavours brought in by the addition of ham was irresistible, even to me, and I didn't even like ham as a rule!
So how have I re-created that signature smoky flavour? Simple! I used some delicious smoked tofu! Cooked up with the yellow split peas, it's pretty much indistinguishable from the original. I even chopped up extra & pan fried it to mix through, so you have some little smokey flavour bombs coming through when you scoop up a big spoonful!
Now, you'll notice that this is a yellow split pea soup. Of course, you can also use green split peas, but to be honest- I don't love the khaki colour it goes, whereas the yellow split peas are a wonderful golden colour. All the better for cheering up a gloomy afternoon! Even better for my UK readers, yellow split peas are an ancient pulse crop, that is locally grown. I sourced mine from Hodmedods, who are pioneers in championing all kinds of organic UK grown pulses & grains.
I've made this Vegan Yellow Split Pea & 'Ham' Soup a few times now and usually make it with pre-split yellow peas, however I ended up with a bag of whole yellow peas which I needed to use up. With whole peas you need to pre-soak them (I soak the whole bag over night) then rinse & simmer in enough water to cover them until the peas are tender. This may take around 45 mins, but might take a little longer, depending on how old the peas are. If you are using regular yellow split peas, you just need to simmer them along with the stock in the soup for around 45 mins (or longer, it depends on how old they are!)
For a truly great soup flavour, (and this goes for all soups!) I recommend using a really great vegetable stock. I like to make my own, alternatively, I also adore Nine Meals from Anarchy's concentrated stock. (HOT TIP, we will be featuring this in our October box!!) If you don't have time to make your own, get the best bouillon cube or powder you can find.
To finish the soup you can choose to blend the whole lot for a super smooth soup, or do as I prefer, and blend ¾ of it, leaving some deliciously chunky bits for texture & bite.
Fry off some extra little cubes of smoked tofu in a smidge of oil & soya sauce for yummy chrunchy tofu croutons to sprinkle on top!
Handy Shopping List:
- Smoked Tofu. My fave is Taifun
- Yellow Split Peas are essential
- A really really good blender is essential Vegan kit. We rate Greenis blenders for super smooth blending & powerful reliability.
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Vegan Yellow Split Pea and 'Ham' Soup
For the Soup
- 500 g yellow split peas (uncooked, NB: If you use WHOLE yellow peas, be sure to soak & pre-cook them before using in this recipe)
- 125 g smoked tofu (half a pack, you'll use the rest later! I love Taifun brand the best)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 sticks (stalks) celery
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 large white onion
- 2 tablespoon vegetarian bouillon (or 1 stock cube) dissolved in 1 litre water (or 1 litres good veggie stock )
- 3 fresh or dried bay leaves
- 3 drops liquid smoke (TOTALLY optional, but adds a little extra smokey flavour)
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- You might need more water!
For the Soup
- Very finely chop the carrot, celery & onion.
- Then tip into a large pot with the olive oil & cook on a medium heat until the onion is translucent.
- Add the split peas, stock (or bouillon and water) and the bay leaves.
- Finely chop the tofu and add to the soup.
- Simmer for 45 minutes. Add extra water if needed.
- Once the peas are super soft & dissolving, give it a taste. Add a few drops of liquid smoke, if you like.
- Let the soup cool for a bit, then ladle into a blender (you can blend it all up for a smooth soup, or just blend ¾ for a slightly chunky soup).
- Add the blended soup back into the soup saucepan and heat up as needed!
For the Smokey Croutons
- Finely chop the tofu.
- In a little pan, fry off the tofu in a little olive oil, add a dash of soy sauce for an extra salty kick.
- Serve the soup in big bowls with a sprinkle of croutons & some crusty bread.