Cauliflower Split Pea Soup

Comfort in a bowl! Thick and creamy, with a luscious texture, this is my son’s all-time favorite soup. What I love about it is its reliance on homely, common vegetables and how simple and fast it is to make. You can serve it as a rustic soup with the veggies intact or as a more refined blended soup with a creamier texture.

Serves 8 to 10


1½ pounds split green peas

1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets (reserve some for garnish, if you like)

1 large onion, cut in large dice

2 large carrots, cut in large dice

3 stalks celery, cut in large dice

4 to 6 cups no-sodium vegetable broth

2 to 3 bay leaves

1 leek, cut in large dice

3 large cloves garlic, minced

2 russet potatoes, cut in large dice

2 large bunches Swiss chard, leaves and stems, cut in 2-inch slices

Aka (red) miso paste (optional)

Freshly ground white pepper

  1. Rinse and soak the split peas for a minimum of 8 hours or to save time, boil them for 2 minutes and steep for 1 hour. Drain and set them aside.
  2. If you choose to use cauliflower florets as a garnish, lightly steam or dry roast some cauliflower now (see steps 4 and 5 for presentation ideas).
  3. In a large soup pot, dry sauté the onion, carrots, and celery over low heat, stirring occasionally, as the vegetables gently sweat. Add a small amount of the broth as they begin to dry and stick to the pot. Add the bay leaves, leek, and garlic, stir to combine, and cook for a minute. Stir in the cauliflower, potatoes, and soaked split peas, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add enough broth to cover all the vegetables by 1 to 2 inches. Simmer on low for a minimum of 30 minutes, though the longer it cooks the creamier it becomes. Stir occasionally. When the vegetables are nearly tender, toss in the chard and cook for the final 15 minutes. Season with miso to taste, stirring it well to dissolve into the soup.
  4. If you’re in the mood for a chunky, rustic soup, simply serve the soup as is, with a fresh grind of black pepper, a dusting of nutritional yeast, and some fresh parsley on top.
  5. For a creamier texture and formal presentation, blend the soup using an immersion blender (or transfer in batches to a stand blender) before serving.
  6. Garnish the soup as desired with steamed or roasted cauliflower florets, a dusting of nutritional yeast, chopped fresh parsley, scallion green strips or chives, or a sprinkle of mild Aleppo chili flakes or shichimi tōgarashi spice blend.