Yellow Split-Pea Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Kale

by on October 14, 2006
FavoriteLoadingAdd to Recipe Box

This curried split-pea soup soup is enriched with kale and sweet potatoes so it’s a complete meal in a bowl. And you can make it fast in the Instant Pot!

Split Pea Soup with Kale and Sweet Potatoes
I may have the only child in the world who begs for split pea soup as an after-school snack, but I’m not complaining. Yesterday I needed to cook dinner early because we were going out to dinner. To you non-vegetarians, that statement probably makes no sense at all, but the vegetarians and vegans out there will know what I mean. Whenever a vegetarian attends a catered event like an awards dinner, she can never be sure of getting a vegetarian meal, so it’s wise to eat a little something beforehand. I figured split pea soup would make a nice pre-meal insurance policy for D. and me and a great dinner for E., who was staying home.

So when E. got home yesterday, she walked into a house filled with the scent of curry powder and ginger, and she wanted her bowl of soup NOW. Well, you can tell that she’s an only child because I immediately caved and let her have her soup at 3:30 in the afternoon. I couldn’t resist having my soup then too, blowing my plan to eat right before the dinner. (Fortunately, there was indeed a vegetarian plate because by 8 pm I was hungry again.)

This is a soup that smells enticing and tastes divine. It’s not a spicy curry, thanks to the type of curry powder I used. Penzeys’ Maharajah Style Curry Powder is a little on the expensive side, due to the hefty amount of saffron it contains, but it imparts a rich, almost sweet taste to any food you use it in. If you can’t get the Maharajah curry powder, any good-quality mild curry will do, but for a real treat, try the Maharajah. It works particularly well with the sweet potatoes in this delicious soup.
Yellow Split Pea Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Kale

Yellow Split-Pea Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Kale
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
You may cook this soup either in a pressure cooker or in a regular pot. You will need to have a pressure cooker that has at least a 7-quart capacity; for smaller cookers, cut the recipe in half or in thirds. Also, if you’re using a jiggle-top pressure cooker, add one teaspoon of oil to prevent foaming.
Serves: 8
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ginger paste or 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 8 cups water
  • 3 cups dried yellow split peas, picked over and rinsed
  • 1-2 tablespoons mild curry powder (to taste)
  • Salt to taste (optional)
  • 1 bunch kale
  1. Heat a large pressure cooker or pot and sauté the onions for about 5 minutes. (I do this in a dry pot and add water by the tablespoon if needed to prevent sticking. Adding a pinch of baking soda will make the onions cooker more quickly.) When they are becoming translucent, stir in the cumin and mustard seeds and cook for another minute. Add the ginger and garlic, and cook for one more minute. Add the ginger and garlic, and cook for one more minute. Add the sweet potatoes, water, split peas and 1 tablespoon curry powder. Stir well.
  2. If using a pressure cooker, seal the cooker and bring it up to high pressure. Cook at high pressure for 8 minutes (10 minutes for electric pressure cooker); then remove from the heat (or turn off) and allow the pressure to come down naturally for 15 minutes and then perform a quick release.
  3. If you’re cooking it in a regular pot, cover the pot and simmer until the split peas are tender and beginning to break down, about an hour. Stir regularly to make sure that the split peas don’t stick to the bottom of the pan, and add water if necessary.
  4. While the soup is cooking, wash the kale and remove and discard the tough central rib. Chop the leaves coarsely.
  5. When the split peas are cooked, add the kale to the pot, season to taste with salt and additional curry powder, if necessary, and add additional water if the soup is too thick. Cover the pot. For kale that retains some crunch, simply leave the pot covered for 5 or 10 minutes without heating, allowing the kale to cook in the heat of the soup. For kale that is more tender, you may return the pot to low heat (or the warm setting of an electric PC) for 10 minutes.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/8 of recipe Calories: 309 Fat: 2g Carbohydrates: 57g Sodium: 28mg Fiber: 21g Protein: 20g

Please pin and share!

This vegan curried split-pea soup soup is enriched with kale and sweet potatoes so it's a complete meal in a bowl. And you can make it fast in the Instant Pot!


Yellow Split Pea Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Kale

Leave a Comment

Thanks for visiting my site! All comments are read and appreciated, and if you have a question, I will try to respond within a couple days. Note: If you are leaving a comment for the first time, it will be held for moderation. Be patient and it will appear as soon as I have a chance to approve it.

Want to have your photo alongside your comment? Sign up for a Gravatar!

{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

1 blackhorserider October 23, 2009 at 11:35 am

Yum! Yet another wonderful recipe!


2 kat October 28, 2009 at 10:54 pm

I've made this soup at least 5 times, and I totally love it. I think it's my favorite soup ever. Thanks for sharing your recipes!


3 Krista April 24, 2010 at 2:47 pm

I’m not vegan, or even vegetarian, but in an effort to be more responsible to the planet, as well as raise a healthier family without any processed foods whatsoever we are eating vegan 6 days a week (and organic, locavore one day per week). We’re healthier, and greener and happier (and saving a ton of cash). I found this soup over a year ago, and my 6 and 7 year old still do the jumpy claps when it’s for supper. It’s seriously amazing. Thank you for this recipe, and for all the others on this site. This is far and away my favourite cooking website.


4 Allison June 6, 2010 at 9:31 pm

I HAVE to try this one next time I make soup!!! I have all the ingredients and I LOVE split pea soup! I crave it and I always feel the best when I am eating it. Id love to try a variation on my usual traditional split pea! PS- Way to go Krista! I don’t have any kids, but I am outraged at what they call kid’s food now-a-days. There are a lot of kids that rarely see a whole food. Their fruit comes in the form a processed oat bar, their veggies in the form of pizza. Way to go!


5 Allison June 12, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Finally made it! Only had one onion and had to make it with kale and chard (and carrots, just kinda threw all the needs-to-get-used veggies in). Its WONDERFUL!


6 Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) September 24, 2010 at 8:48 am

We love split pea soup here too! I made it for the first time a few months ago and even my boys ask for it every other week! The yellow is beautiful and looks delicious!


7 Peggy September 24, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Thanks for sharing your recipes with us. You have posted some really good ones. I put a link to this recipe on the FB site: The full plate diet. It looked really good and healthy.


8 Jeanette September 24, 2010 at 7:18 pm

This sounds incredibly delicious and healthy! Thank you for the recipe.


9 Deborah September 26, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Great soup. Used swiss chard and zucchini instead of kale. Will warm me up for many days.


10 Dyan October 2, 2010 at 9:01 pm

This recipe may as well read, “Throw all your favorite foods in a pot.” SO good, and makes cold weather a little more bearable.


11 Rebecca October 17, 2010 at 1:59 am

This soup looks awesome. I’ll bet it tastes awesome, too! Thanks so much for all these yummy recipes. I can hardly wait to make this, now that fall is here!


12 lovemyfamily October 23, 2010 at 8:26 pm

loved this. my 3 year old had to be bribed to eat it with carrots, but everyone else at it with no problem. I used the spice cumin, not whole cumin. I also used dried mustard with vinegar not the mustard seeds. I also added more kale than the recipe called for. If I did this again I would only use 7 cups of water and add more if needed.


13 Junen November 12, 2010 at 10:00 pm

I have made this several times and it has become my usually reticent husband’s favorite soup. He has even gone out of his way to request it. And I love that it tastes so good and is so balanced nutrition-wise . Thank you so much!


14 MIA November 22, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Such a delicious, hearty soup for our surprisingly cold winter in Western Canada! I made it pretty much true to recipe, other than a tiny addition of cayenne pepper (maybe an 1/8th of a tsp) for extra warmth and Bragg instead of salt (love it for soups, really adds an extra dimension of flavour). Even with the cayenne the spices aren’t over powering, so you can still taste the peas and sweet potato. I also used purple kale, as it looked really good at the market, and in the soup. I highly recommend trying this soup, its delicious and easy.


15 Katie February 18, 2011 at 9:28 pm

I have made this recipe twice now, and love it! My peas never really break down though, so it doesn’t look like in your picture. What am I doing wrong? I soaked them all day this time and cooked it for almost 4 hours. Still tastes great, but doesn’t really resemble the split pea soup I’m used to.


16 SusanV February 18, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Katie, can you try buying your split-peas somewhere else? It could be that wherever you’re getting them from has old beans. The older they are, the longer they can take to cook. Still, I’ve never heard of split peas taking that long!


17 Barbara February 23, 2011 at 10:41 pm

I have a lot of green split peas in my cupboard that I want to use. Can I substitute them for the yellow split peas? I’ve actually never tried the latter if their taste is substantially different. I cook with various beans, lentils, green and red split peas all the time however.


18 SusanV February 23, 2011 at 10:46 pm

They taste just about the same, so feel free to use the green split peas.


19 Nikki February 25, 2011 at 8:46 pm

This soup is currently simmering upon my stove on this cold California evening and it smells delicious! Thank you for sharing!

Question: This is probably a stupid question, but did you puree the soup in a food processor, judging my your photograph, or do split peas naturally become creamy when they are cooked?


20 SusanV February 25, 2011 at 9:03 pm

That’s natural, Nikki. If you cook it long enough, they should start to break down. Enjoy!


21 Robert March 25, 2011 at 4:52 am

I’ve seen this recipe repeated on a few sites, and I don’t know why, because it’s incredibly bland, almost tasteless.

You can make it taste like something by adding about 3x the curry powder (or at least a mix of cumin/coriander/cayenne…plus whatever other Indian spices you like) and some salt.

Vegan cuisine can be delicious, but this recipe will confirm non-vegans’ ideas that it’s all tasteless mush.


22 SusanV March 25, 2011 at 8:20 am

You must be using really old, bland curry powder because 1-2 tablespoons is spicy enough for most people. But as you found (and as the instructions suggest), it’s easy just to add more to taste.


23 Robert April 3, 2011 at 8:35 pm

I think vegans probably have more subtle palates 🙂

One hint I would like to give is to add a few toasted, sliced almonds on top. It adds a nice crunch, is in keeping with the Indian theme and only adds a few pennies per serving. It’s a nice textural contrast, even if your kale is still crunchy 🙂


24 Mary October 31, 2016 at 5:44 am

Why make such a negative comment, (incredibly bland) Robert? Move on if you don’t appreciate a recipe that many others do. It could be your error. This blog is one of the best out there, Susan!


25 kensington kicker April 4, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Another success Susan.
Carnivorous(well, a little less so as I try your various recipes on him) husband gave it a big thumbs up–who knew he actually loves kale?
To accomodate Ornish plan guidelines I used much less oil–just a thin film in the cast iron pot.
I don’t think the recipe suffered from that variation as it turned out so delicious.
Always grateful, Kensington Kicker


26 KBeane October 23, 2011 at 9:31 pm

I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for a long time, but finally made it tonight. It’s so delicious, healthy, and filling! I typically love most lentil/split pea recipes, but I especially liked the combo of split peas and sweet potatoes.


27 April L. November 13, 2011 at 9:37 am

I love this recipe and it was so easy and super fast in my pressure cooker. I WOULD love more pressure cooker recipes like this one.

I couldn’t find Yellow Split Peas here so I just used Green and it tastes great!


28 greens November 13, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Hi Susan:
This sounds yummy! This would be great to come home to; any suggestions for preparation using a slow-cooker?


29 Lisa December 5, 2011 at 11:27 am

Hi! Looks delish!
I loved your idea to add in some kale!
Mentioned it here in a post! 🙂


30 claudia woo January 1, 2012 at 4:50 pm

just tried the soup recipe and it’s really good. i used stock instead of water and threw in some soy bacon and a little russet potato, and pureed about a half of the soup for texture., fantastic. thanks. claudia woo


31 Ginny January 11, 2012 at 11:27 am

Do you think a a yam would work ok in this recipe? I have everything else on hand but the sweet potato. Thanks!

By the way, I love your blog 🙂


32 Andrea A January 25, 2012 at 8:36 am

Can I substitute spinach for kale?


33 Susan Voisin January 25, 2012 at 8:41 am

Yes. Spinach cooks faster, so add it right at the end.


34 Alexandra February 29, 2012 at 4:56 am

cooked this with a white-fleshed sweet potato. This soup was delicious.


35 Karen March 4, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Just made this tonight for my packed lunch for the week. Oh my, sooo good! I know its just going to get better the longer it sits. Thanks for posting this, I know this soup will be in rotation!


36 Sarah March 11, 2012 at 8:42 pm

This soup was dinner tonight and it was AMAZING! 😀 Even my son — who claims to hate sweet potatoes– cleaned his bowl!


37 Diana June 9, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Thanks so much for this recipe! I am trying it right now. For those who are using a pressure cooker, what do you suggest regarding the kale? I noticed the kale instructions are only for the regular pot users, so to speak 🙂


38 Susan Voisin June 9, 2012 at 7:12 pm

After the split peas are cooked in the pressure cooker, go to step 4.


39 Linda October 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm

I have yellow mustard seeds and ground cumin – would this affect the recipe negatively if I were to use what I have?


40 Susan Voisin October 15, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Linda, you can use the yellow mustard seeds, skip the cumin seeds, and add about 3/4 teaspoon of ground cumin when you add the curry powder.


41 Linda October 15, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Thank you, Susan!

My brother and I started E2L 10 days ago with great success! So many issues are disappearing for both of us! Your recipes have been wonderful and have really helped make this a more flavorful transition.

I love your site! It’s because of your site that my brother and I purchased the E2L book and started taking control of our health (and weight)!



42 Linda October 17, 2012 at 9:59 pm


I made this tonight and it was delicious!



43 Magda October 20, 2012 at 11:19 am

The Yellow Split-Pea Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Kale recipe looks absolutely delicious! I’m going to cook it this weekend! Thank you so much for posting it:)


44 Janet November 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Just made this soup in my pressure cooker. 8 mins and letting pressure come down naturally was WAY to long for those yellow lentils! Though the dish does taste yummy the texture is like eating mashed potatoes. Next time I’ll cut the time in half and probably cool with water. I think I’d rather have to cook it a bit longer than have soup mush!


45 Susan Voisin November 7, 2012 at 6:50 pm

To each his (or her) own! I’ve never had split pea soup that wasn’t mushy, and I wouldn’t want to. But it sounds like you have a good plan for getting it like you like it.


46 journeyofbliss November 21, 2012 at 8:46 pm

I made this soup today. It was so yummy I had to stop myself from a third bowl! Thank you for the recipe!


47 Karen December 2, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Absolutely delicious. Another new fav. Also, love the sweet potato cauliflower soup!


48 Brooke December 22, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Your split pea soups are simply phenomenal–especially this one. I don’t know what I would do without your wonderful healthy recipes!


49 mercedes January 4, 2013 at 8:00 pm

is the yellow split pea soup with sweet potatoe and kale South Beach friendly?


50 Julia May 16, 2013 at 10:56 am

This has become my go-to soup recipe! I adore it. So nourishing and satisfying.
Instead of canola oil/spray I use a little coconut oil. Realy complements the curry flavour and spices. Thanks for great recipe :)))


51 kat September 20, 2013 at 9:57 am

Can I substitute the kale for cabbage?


52 Susan Voisin September 20, 2013 at 10:57 am

Sure, I don’t see why not. Enjoy!


53 Ty October 16, 2013 at 12:53 am

Wow! I love making all kinds of split pea soup, but what I’m most amazed about is the dramatic 1 hour vs. 8 minutes directions! Maybe I should get a pressure cooker? I’ve never used one before, or seen one in action in real life, so I guess I still think they’re a bit scary.


54 Chantal October 19, 2013 at 11:53 am

You use water instead of vegetable broth, right? Isn’t it to bland than? Just wondering if i shouldn’t substitute water for vegetable broth! What’s your opinion? Thanks for this upload by the way


55 Randi January 7, 2014 at 1:48 pm

I’m making this now and confused about how long to cook in the pressure cooker. * min, covered, on high. Then let it cool and what next?


56 Susan Voisin January 7, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Bring it to high pressure and cook for 8 minutes (if you’re using an electric pressure cooker, I suggest cooking it for 10-12 minutes). Take it off the heat and let the pressure come down naturally (let it sit without heat, probably about 15 minutes). Check to make sure the peas are soft; if not, bring them back up to high pressure for a few more minutes.

The go to step 4: Add the kale and simmer for 5-10 more minutes. You don’t have to bring it up to pressure, just let it simmer with the lid on but not sealed.


57 Michele January 28, 2014 at 8:20 am

This looks so good! Do you think it could be made in a slow cooker? Thank you!


58 Denise January 20, 2016 at 4:20 pm

This soup is excellent made in a slow cooker with a couple caveats.

First: Keep in mind the size of your slow cooker since you don’t want to overfill it. With a 3 1/2 quart slow cooker, I halve the recipe and it fills it about 2/3 of the way full.

Second: You really do have to temper the spices and saute the onions for the soup to taste right. Personally, I start the dish in a pan on the stove (up through the “Add ginger and garlic and cook for one minute” stage… I also add the curry powder at this point) before transferring it over to the slow cooker and continuing it there.

Third: Cooking time can vary based on how old your split peas are (which will depend on where you get them), what brand of slow cooker you use and even altitude. I’ve found it best to cook this soup either for 4 1/2 hours on high or 9ish hours on low (depending on when it is convenient to start it) then turn it to warm until serving. It may take a bit of trial and error to figure out what works best for you based on your situation. If your peas are older (and, again, this doesn’t just refer to how long ago you bought them but also how old they were when you bought them), you may also need to add more liquid than is called for in the recipe. Lifting the lid during the cooking time will also increase the time needed to cook so I don’t stir until after the cook time has elapsed.

Fourth: Kale turns bitter if cooked too long in a slow cooker. I either pre-steam the kale and stir it into the soup just prior to serving or else use baby kale or chopped spinach (either of those will wilt and heat through in just a minute or so when stirred into the hot soup so again stir in just before serving).

Thanks Susan for this wonderful soup recipe. I take dinner over to my elderly (and normally carnivorous) parents several nights a week and this soup makes it into the rotation frequently as one of the easy to make, healthy, vegan options they both enjoy. 🙂


59 madalyn eisenberg February 11, 2014 at 11:27 pm

I am cooking with your recipe for yellow split pea soup , but it is too late to wait up to see how it turns out so I put it to sleep and I’ll see what happens tomorrow. Maybe I’d better put it in a crock pot and let it cook through the night.

Good night …I think we will be good friends thank you…. I love to cook and I’d like to be a vegan..I’ve tried but haven’t found recipes that I could enjoy…maybe I’ve found what I needed at 12 midnight


60 Tracie March 1, 2014 at 12:38 pm

I just made this for lunch and it was delish! The sweet potatoes completely broke down when I stirred the soup, so I guess I cut them too small. It was still yummy though!


61 Patricia S. March 26, 2014 at 4:51 pm

I had my first child 7 months ago and have been struggling emotionally and physically with the weight gain. I felt I needed a real diet clean-up! I have been eating what I call “vegetarian with a vegan emphasis” for almost 3 weeks now…cooking 100% vegan. My meat-loving husband is fully supportive (thank goodness!). I made this dish and added a splash of coconut milk at the end. My husband and I both agree that it’s flavorful dishes like this that make us feel we CAN do this long-term.

I can’t wait to try another recipe!



62 Rebecca May 3, 2014 at 8:55 am

I made this soup two weeks ago and it was delicious! I froze some and pulled it out for dinner a few nights ago. Absolutely delicious, this is one of my new favorite recipes!


63 Randy October 15, 2015 at 12:16 pm

This looks really good – will have to try it soon!


64 sandie October 19, 2016 at 9:09 am

How well does this soup freeze? Should I wait and hold the kale until it is reheated?


65 Susan Voisin October 19, 2016 at 9:20 am

It’ll work either way, but if you like your kale with more texture, you can add it after thawing.


{ 6 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: