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Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

by Berkeley Wellness  

Split pea soup often gets its hearty flavor from a ham hock or some smoked sausage, but in this vegetarian version, super-savory dried porcini mushrooms delivers a meaty flavor without any meat (and with far less saturated fat and sodium).

Makes 6 servings


  • 1 package (¼ ounce) dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1½ cups boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, such as olive or canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups (1 pound) split peas
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 6 cups water


1. In a small heatproof bowl, combine the dried mushrooms and the boiling water, and let stand for 20 minutes or until softened. Reserving the soaking liquid, scoop out the dried mushrooms. Strain the soaking liquid through a coffee filter or a paper towel-lined sieve.

2. In a nonstick Dutch oven or large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until the onion is golden brown and tender, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the carrots and cook until tender, about seven minutes. Stir in the split peas, tomato paste, salt, pepper, sage, mushrooms, and their soaking liquid. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the split peas are tender, about 45 minutes.

4. Working in batches, transfer the split peas to a food processor and process until smooth. (Or, if you have a hand blender, puree the soup in the pan.) Return to the saucepan and heat gently over very low heat.

Nutrition per serving: 274 calories, 3.2g total fat (0.4g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 18g dietary fiber, 46g carbohydrate, 17g protein, 666mg sodium.

Good source of: beta carotene, fiber, folate, lutein, thiamin, potassium.

A different spin

Chunky Vegetarian Split Pea Soup: Follow the directions for Vegetarian Split Pea Soup and substitute one large peeled and sliced sweet potato for the carrots. Increase the water to seven cups. Once the soup has been pureed, stir in one cup cooked brown rice, 1½ cups thawed frozen peas, ½ cup minced red onion and ¼ cup chopped fresh basil.

From The Wellness Kitchen, by the staff of The Wellness Kitchen and the editors of the University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter.