Our Old-Fashioned Split Pea and Lentil Soup is inspired by the classic English Peawack Soup - a staple from Liverpool typically made with dried split peas. Our vegan version incorporates a hearty mix of red split lentils, yellow split peas, meat-free mince, and a bunch of vegetables including potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, and garlic. To enrich the flavours, we use simple yet tasty seasonings like Marmite, vegan Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, mixed dried herbs, and vegetable stock. This is the kind of wholesome, old-fashioned soup of yesteryear that could always be found simmering on a family stove, always ready to nourish family members, friends, or guests.
Vegan peawack soup is a tasty broth prepared with red split lentils, yellow split peas, and TVP mince (dried textured veggie protein). And packed with tasty veggies.
Our Split Pea and Lentil Soup is inspired by the traditional English peawack soup and is a prepared with vegan, plant-based ingredients. However, our soup is also great for vegetarians, flexitarians, omnivores, and anybody who just loves a good budget-friendly veggie soup or broth. Its also easy to prepare for gluten-free diets.
5 reasons why you will love this soup!
This soup is packed with a variety of essential nutrients, from the protein in the split peas and lentils to the fiber in the vegetables. It’s a well-rounded meal that can provide a good portion of your daily vitamins and minerals. A big bowl of our soup provides an estimated 24 grams of protein and 21 grams of fiber.
Most of the ingredients like split peas, lentils, and vegetables are relatively inexpensive, and a big pot can serve multiple people. It's a budget-friendly option that is also packed with flavours.
Our recipe is highly adaptable, so you can add in additional vegetables or swap out spices and herbs as per your preference. This makes it a great option for using up any leftover veggies you have in the fridge.
4. Comforting and Filling:
The soup is hearty and comforting, making it the perfect dish for cold weather or when you're in need of some warming nourishment. Its packed with pulses and veggies that can help you keep fuller for longer.
5. Easy to Make Ahead and Store:
This soup not only tastes better the next day but is also freezer-friendly, making it a convenient option for meal prep or a quick dinner fix on busy nights.
Origins of peawack soup
Peawack soup has a history spanning at least a century. Ask a Liverpudlian about it, and chances are you'll evoke nostalgic memories of their childhood, when grandparents bubbled up their family version of this homely soup.
Originally a communal creation, peawack soup brought communities together. Years ago, it was common for people to get together and prepare a large pot of the soup, sharing the nourishing meal with friends and neighbors.
The term 'wack' in "peawack" is derived from Liverpool slang, signifying 'friend' or 'fellow,' which highlights the warm welcoming theme of this soup.
The main ingredient of traditional peawack soup is dried split peas. Optional ingredients like red lentils and barley are sometimes added for added flavour and texture. For a rich, savory stock, a ham bone, hock, or knuckle is often used. Seasonal vegetables such as carrots, leeks, swede, and potatoes are added, and sometimes cabbage. The soup is humbly seasoned with salt and black pepper.
Bread and soup are as old as the hills—a tasty duo that has been nourishing humans for thousands of years. From the humble flat breads of ancient civilizations to the artisan breads of today, and from medieval pottages to modern gourmet soups, this timeless meal has transcended cultures, survived empires, and become a universal comfort food!
Peawack soup likely evolved from the ancient cooking traditions of pea soup and pottages. Tracing its roots back to at least 500-400 BC, pea soup has long been a staple in human diets. During the Roman era, it even gained popularity as a street food. Romans frequently prepared a stew-like dish known as pottage, which featured a mixture of peas and oats cooked down into a soft, mushy consistency.
Historically, pea soup was the food of peasants and not the richer folks. However dried peas would have provided lots of useful plant-powered nutrition!
We have, an interesting recipe for our take on a medieval pottage stew that one of my daughters actually put together and gave permission to publish it on our recipe blog. My kids love whipping up a ''cauldron'' of this bubbling stew around Halloween. They just add whatever veggies and dried pulses that they can find in the fridge or pantry! For those strict historians out there- we do know that our medieval inspired pottage ingredients are not strictly true to those that would have been available during British medieval times!
Vegan Peawack Soup
Our Vegan Peawack Soup is a plant-based take on the traditional Liverpudlian classic. While it's not an authentic rendition, it's sure to warm you up on a chilly day and nourish your family with an abundance of plant-based goodness.
In place of ham, we use Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), available in either dried chunks or mince form. Made primarily from defatted soy protein, TVP is commonly found in health food stores and UK supermarkets, its also available in the US and other parts of the world. TVP is usually inexpensive and as it can rehydrate to over double its weight, its a budget-friendly ingredient as one bag will do for several different meals.
For rich, savoury flavours, we add a teaspoon of vegetable yeast extract or Marmite, along with a tablespoon of vegan Worcestershire sauce. We also use a plant-based 'beef' stock powder for added flavour.
If vegan Worcestershire sauce isn't readily available, tamari or regular soy sauce make good substitutes. Likewise, a general vegetable stock can be used if plant-based 'beef' stock isn't at hand. We particularly like the OXO meat-free 'beef' stock cube sold in most UK supermarkets.
In addition to the yellow split peas, we add red split lentils, potatoes, carrots, celery, bay leaf, mixed herbs, onions, and garlic to the soup.
How to prepare split pea and lentil soup
As the yellow split peas are dried they will need to be soaked overnight in plenty of water before being used for the soup. Adding a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda [baking soda] to the water will help the peas soften up and cook quicker.
Add the red split lentils, yellow spilt-peas, TVP (textured vegetable protein) to a soup pot.
Mix through the potato, carrot, celery, onion, garlic and bay leaf.
Pour in the vegetable stock, vegan Worcestershire sauce and stir through the marmite [yeast extract].
Simmer for 60 minutes until the split peas are soft but still retain a bite.
Season with salt & pepper, and sprinkle fresh parsley over each bowl if liked.
Recipe notes and FAQ's
Store leftover soup in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Or place in a freezer-proof container and freeze for 3-4 months.
Reheat the soup in a non-stick saucepan until piping hot throughout, stirring frequently. If necessary add some more vegetable stock to loosen up the soup as it will become very thick as its stored.
Yes, you can prepare this soup as gluten-free. However, you will need to use a gluten-free vegetable stock, and if you can't find a vegan & gluten-free Worcestershire sauce then replace that with a gluten-free soy sauce such as Tamari soy sauce. Also, as marmite or yeast extract is not gluten-free, if you can't find a gluten-free variety then just replace with an extra tablespoon of Tamari soy sauce.
Absolutely! The flavours meld together even better when it's left to sit. Just remember, the soup will thicken as it sits, so you may need to add extra stock when reheating.
A bowl of peawack soup is very filling on its own but is especially tasty with some home-made quick bread such as Irish Soda Bread, Australian Damper Bread, Quick Dinner Rolls, Cornbread Muffins, or Old-Fashioned Bran Muffins.
Yes, you can use green split peas instead of yellow split peas and this would just be a straight swop as they are prepared the same way and take about the same length of time to cook.
There are a few reasons why your dried split peas may not be softening in the soup.
1. Old Peas: The age of the dried peas can significantly affect their cooking time. Older peas may take much longer to soften, and in some cases, they may never fully soften no matter how long you cook them.
2. Acidic or Hard Water: The pH level of your water can affect the cooking process. Hard or acidic water can prevent legumes like peas from softening. Some people add some bicarbonate of soda [baking soda] to the water to help with this, although that can alter the flavour of the soup, so we like to add the bicarbonate of soda to the soaking water instead.
3. Salt and Acid: Adding acidic ingredients or salt too early in the cooking process can prevent peas from softening. It's usually best to add such ingredients after the peas have become tender. For this reason we don't add salt to the soup at the beginning of cooking and just add it at the end. Vegetable stock does contain salt but we have not found stock to be an issue.
4. Insufficient Cooking Time: Sometimes peas just need more time to cook and you may find that each time you cook with dried peas they take different amounts of time to soften!
5. Soaking Issues: While your packet of dried peas might state that soaking is not necessary, from experience, we would always recommend that you do soak! As soaking can quicken the cooking process and if you didn't soak the peas, or didn't soak them long enough, they might take a very long time to cook.
A few useful solutions:
* If you suspect your peas are old, it's best to replace them with a fresh batch for your next soup, or to soak them for a longer time such as a few days. You can always change the water a few times while soaking to keep it fresh.
* If you do want to use up your old peas then perhaps cook them separately before adding to recipes. A pressure cooker can help soften up stubborn dried peas!
* If you think water hardness may be the issue, you could try using bottled or filtered water.
* If you've added salt or acidic ingredients, wait until the peas are fully cooked before adding these ingredients in the future.
Yes, you could add a handful of pearl barley to the soup or replace the red split lentils with barley.
You can use finely chopped mushrooms or fresh/frozen veggie mince as an alternative to TVP.
Yes. Feel free to add other vegetables like leeks, swede [turnip, rutabaga], or even cabbage to make the soup even more hearty and wholesome.
Marmite adds a unique, savoury depth to the soup. However, if you don't have it, you can substitute it with additional soy sauce or another yeast extract.
Yes, you can add all the ingredients to a slow cooker and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or until the split peas are nicely softened. Also, you will likely have to reduce the amount of vegetable stock to about 1.5 litres [a little over 1.5 quarts] as the liquid will not have a chance to evaporate during cooking.
The peas may loose their shape in the slow cooker but that will just make the soup nice and thick. If the soup is too thick at the end of cooking it can always been thinned down with some extra vegetable stock.
We tend to find that cooking split peas in the slow cooker can be more effective than cooking on the stove-top as the slow longer cooking time seems to soften up the peas nicely, with the added bonus that your kitchen will not become all steamy while you try to soften up your peas!
Yes, we have prepared this soup in a pressure cooker and we cooked on the manual setting for about 20 minutes. Although do consult your pressure cooker booklet for better advice on timings for different ingredients such as split peas. If the peas are not soft after that amount of time, and factoring in the release pressure time, then cook for about 10 more minutes.
You will also need less stock so add about 2 litres [just over 2 quarts] and if your soup is too thick at the end it can be thinned down with some more vegetable stock.
We did find that cooking this soup in the pressure cooker resulted in a soup where the peas and lentils were very soft and had broken down into the soup creating a nice thick broth. It certainly did not need to be blended! So if you know your peas are leaning towards the older side then pressure cooking the soup may be a good idea!
- Add a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda [baking soda] to the yellow split pea soaking water. Doing this helps soften up the peas reducing the cooking time and it may also help reduce potential flatulence! Although, don't cook with the soaking liquid always discard.
- If you forget to soak your split peas overnight, then pour boiling water over the peas, add a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, and leave to soak for at least a few hours.
- Try not to use old or past the best-before-date split peas for this soup as older peas can take so long to soften up. If you would like to use older peas perhaps soak for an extended time and then then pre-cook before adding to the soup.
- For a quicker soup pre-cook the split peas for 30-45 minutes before using. And reduce the amount of vegetable stock for the soup recipe as pre-cooked peas will absorb less liquid. Split peas can be pre-cooked a few days in advance and kept in the refrigerator or frozen for a few months.
More vegan traditional soups featuring split peas & red split lentils
Soups brimming with vegetables, dried peas, lentils, and other pulses are ideal for creating comforting meals during the autumn, fall and winter seasons. The slow cooker is a amazing for these soups, allowing you to focus on other tasks while it takes care of the cooking. When you're ready, a pot of delicious, heartwarming soup will be waiting to welcome you home.
For more veggie soup recipes do have a look at our growing collection of Vegan Soup Recipes.
***please note: for US measurements click the 'US customary button' within the recipe and the measurements will switch to tablespoons, cups, and ounces.***
Split Pea and Lentil Soup
- large bowl
- large soup pot
- 130 grams yellow split peas [soaked overnight in water, discard soaking liquid.]
- 100 grams red split lentils
- 1 large potato [about 200 grams, diced]
- 1 medium-large carrot [about 70 grams, diced]
- 2 sticks celery [about 70 grams, diced
- 1 medium-large onion [about 110 grams, diced]
- 4 cloves garlic [minced or fine diced]
- 60 grams TVP (Textured Vegetable protein) [or about 150 grams [1 ½ cups] fresh/frozen veggie mince, or fine chopped mushrooms.]
- 2 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoon dried mixed herbs [or a few sprigs of fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary, or sage]
- 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce [or soy sauce]
- 1 teaspoon marmite [or yeast extract, or replace with soy sauce]
- 2.5 litres vegetable stock [such as OXO meat free 'beef' flavour stock cubes, or regular vegetable stock]
- 15 grams parsley
Soak the dried peas the evening before cooking:
- Add the peas to a large bowl and cover with plenty of fresh water. A teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda [baking soda] stirred through the water helps soften up the peas and reduces the cooking time.130 grams yellow split peas
- Before preparing the soup, drain the water and rinse the peas.
Prepare the soup:
- Add the soaked and drained split peas, red lentils, TVP, potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaf, marmite, dried mixed herbs, vegan Worcestershire sauce, and vegetable stock to a soup pot.130 grams yellow split peas, 100 grams red split lentils, 1 large potato, 1 medium-large carrot, 2 sticks celery, 1 medium-large onion, 4 cloves garlic, 60 grams TVP (Textured Vegetable protein), 2 bay leaf, 2 teaspoon dried mixed herbs, 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon marmite, 2.5 litres vegetable stock
- Bring the soup to the boil, and over a medium heat cook for 60 minutes or until the yellow split peas are soft but still have a slight bite. If your peas are older they may require more time to cook.
- If soup becomes too thick simply thin with an extra cup [240ml] of hot vegetable stock.
- Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste, and remove the bay leaf.
- The soup can be blended until smooth or left as it is.Garnish each bowl with some chopped parsley, if liked.15 grams parsley
- Nutritional data is provided for guidance only and is not a strict calculation as ingredients vary. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for 3 days.
- Or frozen for 3-4 months.
- Reheat by bringing to the boil, and simmering for 2-3 minutes until piping hot throughout. Extra stock may be required as the soup can become very thick as its stored.
- Garnish with chopped parsley, dill, or chives.
- Green split peas can be used instead of yellow split peas.
- Add a handful of pearl barley as a tasty addition.
- For useful advice on getting split peas to soften up during cooking and why sometimes they remain hard, do have a look at our recipe notes and FAQ section above this recipe.
Prepared our vegan take on peawack soup? We would love to know how you got on with the split pea and lentil soup recipe. Do pop back and drop us a comment below and click the star ratings. Its very much appreciated. Thanks so much! Love Jacq x