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!
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 curried split-pea soup.
More Split-Pea Soups
Yellow Split-Pea Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Kale
- 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
- 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 sweet potatoes, water, split peas and 1 tablespoon curry powder. Stir well.
- 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.
- 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.
- While the soup is cooking, wash the kale and remove and discard the tough central rib. Chop the leaves coarsely.
- 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.
Nutritional info is approximate.
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journeyofblissNovember 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!
KarenDecember 2, 2012 at 5:25 pm
Absolutely delicious. Another new fav. Also, love the sweet potato cauliflower soup!
BrookeDecember 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!
mercedesJanuary 4, 2013 at 8:00 pm
is the yellow split pea soup with sweet potatoe and kale South Beach friendly?
JuliaMay 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 :)))
katSeptember 20, 2013 at 9:57 am
Can I substitute the kale for cabbage?
Susan VoisinSeptember 20, 2013 at 10:57 am
Sure, I don’t see why not. Enjoy!
TyOctober 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.
ChantalOctober 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
RandiJanuary 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?
Susan VoisinJanuary 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.
Then 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.
MicheleJanuary 28, 2014 at 8:20 am
This looks so good! Do you think it could be made in a slow cooker? Thank you!
DeniseJanuary 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. 🙂
madalyn eisenbergFebruary 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
TracieMarch 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!
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!
RebeccaMay 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!
RandyOctober 15, 2015 at 12:16 pm
This looks really good – will have to try it soon!
sandieOctober 19, 2016 at 9:09 am
How well does this soup freeze? Should I wait and hold the kale until it is reheated?
Susan VoisinOctober 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.
NadineMarch 8, 2017 at 3:54 pm
The soup is awesome as is but I added extra to it……cauliflower, red peppers and parsley.
Thank you for the recipe.
Bonnie RimmingtonAugust 15, 2017 at 7:13 pm
I just made this in the instant pot and as it cools, it is turning solid. Is this normal. I added more veg broth after cooking as it was thick.
Susan VoisinAugust 15, 2017 at 7:17 pm
Yes, that’s totally normal. After you put it in the fridge, it will be completely solid. Just add liquid, and as it reheats, it will become liquid again.
LeeDecember 26, 2017 at 2:38 pm
Will this soup work in a crockpot?
Susan VoisinDecember 26, 2017 at 5:31 pm
You probably can. Consult a crockpot cooking chart to see what time and temperature you should use for the split peas.
JulieMarch 22, 2018 at 12:19 pm
We love love love this soup, it is silky in texture and delightfully flavorful. I appreciate the subtle curry flavor and the color of the kale added in the end. This is sophisticated comfort food! I like to add 2 tablespoons of curry powder, and prefer it without salt which when added removes some of the sweetness of the peas and sweet potato. I have used chard in the past instead of kale, and carrots when out of sweet potatoes, still tasty.
ClaudiaApril 15, 2018 at 12:39 am
Did you partially blender your soup> It looks extra creamy
Susan VoisinApril 15, 2018 at 7:54 am
On no, I never blend split pea soup. The split peas fall apart naturally.
NicolaSeptember 6, 2018 at 3:05 pm
This was delicious! I swapped out baby spinach for the kale. The flavors are excellent!! I love all of your recipes.
JeanOctober 25, 2018 at 3:28 am
A daughter (11) here aswell (at the other side of the world in Europe) who asks for this soupe!
LauraOctober 8, 2019 at 8:21 pm
I’ve made this twice using green split peas because that’s what I had on hand. I also didn’t have black mustard seeds but used yellow. Oh, and I used powdered ginger. Even with the substitutions it was so very delicious. Maybe I shouldn’t even be reviewing with all of the substitutions but every recipe I have tried of Susan’s has been amazing. My husband agrees. I’ll eventually try it as written but, you know, life gets in the way. I made it in an electric pressure cooker by Cuisinart and the timing was perfect.
AliceOctober 23, 2019 at 3:34 pm
I loved the simplicity of the recipe and it didn’t take too long to make as I went the pressure cooker method. I found that I needed just a bit more flavor so I added a splash of balsamic vinegar and a half a can of petite diced tomatoes and a sprinkle more of salt. For me, what a difference! Yum!
SarahJune 8, 2022 at 5:05 am
Plain tasting. Super mild flavours. Not sure if I used old spices or something but the soup tasted of nothing.