This yellow split pea and fennel soup is easily prepared in the slow cooker and gives off the most wonderful savoury appetite-inducing aromas while gently bubbling away.
This soup or yellow pea broth is so simple with just a few ingredients but it packs a punch of flavours that is so satisfying, warming and nourishing.
Give this soup a go and you won't regret it as it will quickly become a much loved family staple.
Are yellow split peas good in soup?
Absolutely. Yellow split peas are amazing in soups as they provide delicious savoury flavours and add body to the soup by thickening the veggie stock.
Coupled with a few simple pantry ingredients such as onions and fennel seeds, the split peas are transformed into a tasty veggie soup or broth.
The aromas coming from the slow cooker when this pea soup is cooking is just amazing, and your kitchen will have the pleasant aromas of a cozy, warm cafe.
Yellow split peas are relatively inexpensive, and as they are dried a small amount cooks up into much larger portions providing lots of plant powered nutrition. Yellow split peas are packed with vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, and low-glycemic complex carbs that can help keep us feeling fuller for longer.
Cooking the yellow split peas in the slow cooker, saves cooking energy and fuel, as the slow cooker does all the work at a fraction of the cost of using the cooker. The added bonus of the slow cooker is that less steam is evaporated into your kitchen, due to the peas boiling, which can cause issues if excess moisture is a problem in your home.
In sum, it's just so simple and easy to leave the slow cooker to do all the work while you go off and do something else.
The amazing benefits of fennel seeds
Even if you dislike the flavour of the fennel bulb as a vegetable, do try the fennel seeds with this split pea soup. As the seeds are so delicious especially when sauteed with onions and cooked within a soup along with split peas. The aniseed flavour of fennel seeds is not overpowering rather it sits tastily tempting in the background. Split peas and fennel are just a delicious food combination, so do have a go and prepare to be surprised!
Another reason to add fennel seeds to your diet is the amazing health benefits these little powerhouses can bring. Fennel seeds have good amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and are considered anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and packed with antioxidants. Studies have even shown that fennel may help prevent over-eating, and may aid with depression associated with the menopause.
Fennel seed tea
If you purchase a jar of fennel seeds for this recipe or already have some at home then why not try a cup of homemade fennel tea? Its quite easy, simply add a teaspoon of fennel seeds to a cup and pour over boiling water. Leave to steep for about 5 minutes or so, then strain with a tea strainer or a sieve to remove the seeds. Pour the fennel tea back into your cup and enjoy. A little sugar or sweetener such as date or rice syrup can be added if preferred.
Once you strain your steeped seeds, if your frugal like me then leave these to dry out on a small plate! Then use for soup, or to add extra flavour and nutrition to your favourite stew. Fennel seeds are also tasty in home-made veggie sausages and burgers.
How to prepare slow cooker yellow split pea and fennel soup
Yellow split pea and fennel soup is a really easy soup to prepare in the slow cooker.
The onions and fennel seeds are quickly sautéed before going in the slow cooker, and this step is worth the extra 5 minutes as the flavours intensify and develop beautifully.
The dried yellow split peas in the image below are from the Co-op and cost 69p [at time of writing] so this pea soup recipe is incredibly budget-friendly.
The evening before cooking the soup, soak the yellow split peas in plenty of water and stir through ¼ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. The next day, drain the peas and give them a rinse under water.
Saute the onions and fennel for 5 minutes.
Add all the ingredients including the onions to the slow cooker. Give it all a good stir.
Pour over the hot vegetable stock and switch the slow cooker to the high setting.
Cook on high for 5 hours.
Optional: Serve with a drizzle of vegan pouring cream and/or some grated/shredded vegan cheese. Or enjoy on its own as the flavours are so delicious that no garnish is really needed.
*[The image above: the cream is Alpro soya single cream and the cheese is Asda garlic and chive cheese alternative. The bread is a home-made one baked in a bread machine]*
Yellow split pea soup can be stored within a covered food container and kept in the refrigerator for 3 days.
Pea soup can be frozen for about 3-4 months. Defrost within the refrigerator or out on the countertop.
The pea soup will continue to get even thicker as the peas sit so when it comes to reheating, the soup may need to have some milk or a little extra water added to thin it down enough to reheat.
Although the soup will get thinner as it reheats so don't add too much liquid to begin with.
Reheat on the stovetop or within a microwave until piping hot throughout.
On the split pea packets it usually states that soaking is not required and that the peas can be cooked without any extra steps.
However, I have often followed the packet instructions and ended up several times with hard bullet-like peas after the recommended cooking times!
Older peas can take longer to cook, but really in my experience some old peas may never get soft.
So to safeguard against this issue, I prefer to soak my peas overnight and add a little bicarbonate of soda [baking soda] which helps break down the tough cell walls of the peas. The bicarbonate of soda does not adversely affect the nutrition or the flavour of the pea soup.
Although for best results, I do recommend using split peas soon after opening or within their best-before date, and not to use out-of-date peas for this soup recipe.
Absolutely. If you have green split peas in your food cupboard rather than yellow split peas, then by all means use those instead.
Yes, split pea soup can be easily prepared as gluten-free by using a gluten-free vegetable stock [link to the one I use within the recipe card below].
Yes, bicarb of soda, or baking soda which it is termed in the US, is a natural ingredient prepared from soda ash or sodium carbonate, and the end product does not contain any other ingredients so is always free of gluten.
More tasty vegan budget-friendly soups
For interesting information about the origin of peas and for another tasty pea soup recipe, check out our old-fashioned pea soup recipe.
Slow Cooker Yellow Split Pea and Fennel Soup
- 3.5 litre [3-4 quart] or larger slow cooker
- small skillet or fry pan
Soak in water overnight:
- 300 grams dried yellow split peas
- ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda [baking soda]
Saute before adding to slow cooker:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil [or vegetable/rapeseed oil/vegan butter etc]
- 150 grams onion [1 large diced]
- 2 teaspoon fennel seeds [generous heaped teaspoons]
Add to slow cooker:
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon white pepper powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1.2 litres vegetable stock [hot]
- 2 tablespoon vegan cream [pouring cream such as Alpro single soya cream]
Pre-soak the yellow split peas the evening before cooking:
- Soak the peas the night before in plenty of water and add ¼ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda [baking soda] to the water. Stir well.300 grams dried yellow split peas, ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Prepare the soup:
- Drain the peas and give them a rinse to remove the bicarbonate of soda.
- Add the peas to the slow cooker.
- Heat the oil in a small skillet or fry pan. Add the onions and fennel seeds and over a medium heat cook for 5 minutes, stir frequently.1 tablespoon olive oil, 150 grams onion, 2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- Add the onions and fennel seeds to the slow cooker. Sprinkle in the white pepper, salt, and sugar. Pop in the bay leaf. Give it all a good stir.1 bay leaf, ½ teaspoon white pepper powder, 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, ½ teaspoon salt
- Pour the hot vegetable stock into the slow cooker and turn the setting to high. Give the soup another mix.1.2 litres vegetable stock
- Add the slow cooker lid and leave to cook for 5 hours. Perhaps check after 4 ½ hours to see how the peas are going, as your slow cooker may cook faster than ours. If the peas are falling apart and are soft then the soup is ready. My soup was ready after 5 hours.
- Give the soup a good stir as the peas will have become very thick and will need stirred through the broth.
- Remove the bay leaf, and add extra salt and pepper if necessary.
- Optional:Serve with a little vegan cream if liked, and some shredded/grated vegan cheese on top.2 tablespoon vegan cream
- Nutritional information is provided for guidance only and is not intended to be an exact calculation as ingredients vary.
- Store pea and fennel soup in the refrigerator within a covered container, for 3 days.
- Or freeze for 3-4 months.
- Leftover pea soup will continue to thicken as it sits so a little plant milk, cream or water may be required to thin it down a little for reheating.
- Reheat on the stove-top or microwave until piping hot throughout.
- Green split peas can replace the yellow peas.
- To cook on the medium slow cooker setting, the peas may take 6-7 hours to soften and break down, and on the low setting 8-9 hours. However, do keep an eye on the soup near the end of cooking time as some slow cookers may be quicker than others to cook.
Prepared this tasty slow cooker yellow split pea and fennel soup?
We would love to know how you got on, do leave us a comment below and click on the star rating above within the recipe card.
Thanks so much, Jacq x