A hearty bowl of vegan Instant Pot split pea soup is a perfect one-pot dinner paired with some crusty bread for dipping. This split pea soup has lots of chunky veggies and is packed with flavor!
Split pea soup is such an easy meal, and by making vegan split pea soup in the Instant Pot, you have very little hands-on cooking time. It's also ready in less time than it would take on the stovetop.
I know: cooking split peas in the Instant Pot can be dicey, because split peas foam as they cook, but don't worry! This recipe accounts for that problem in two ways:
- Use oil. Oil reacts with the cooking split peas to keep the foam at bay.
- Use a large enough pot. A six-quart pot gives you plenty of headroom to prevent the foam from being an issue during cooking.
Ingredients and substitutions
- olive oil - Not only do you use this to saute, but it helps the split peas cook up better in the Instant Pot!
- onion and garlic - These aromatics are essential to the flavor of this soup. Make sure you let those onions really get nice and browned!
- carrots - Big chunks of sweet carrot pair up so nicely with the flavor of split peas!
- red or yellow potato - Use either of these potatoes! You can use a russet potato instead, but be sure to peel it before dicing.
- cabbage - Dice your cabbage into bite-sized pieces. It gets a melt-in-your-mouth texture in this soup. If you don't want to use carrots, you can use other greens, like spinach or kale. Stir them in at the end, before you add the lemon juice. If needed, you can use the pot's saute function to cook these down, but usually the ambient heat of the soup is enough to wilt the greens nicely.
- vegan chicken broth - Using broth instead of water makes this soup so flavorful! Feel free to substitute vegetable broth instead or water plus enough broth cubes or broth paste to make four cups of broth.
- split peas - Green or yellow split peas are fine in this recipe.
- dried spices - Oregano and thyme are the perfect complements to earthy split peas.
- lemon juice - A squeeze of lemon brightens up the flavor of this dish. Feel free to serve with more lemon wedges, so everyone can add more, if they like!
How to make split pea soup in the Instant Pot
This one-pot soup is so easy to make!
Press your pot's saute button, and add the olive oil to the pot. Then, add the onions and garlic, and cook, stirring, until the onions turn golden.
If things are starting to dry out and stick, add a splash of water to help them keep cooking until the onions darken.
Now, add the split peas, broth, salt, pepper, and dried spices to the pot, and stir to combine. Add the veggies on top, but don't stir them in.
Put the lid onto your Instant Pot, lock it, and set to Sealing. Cook at pressure for 10 minutes, then do a 10-minute natural release before releasing the remaining pressure manually.
Just before serving, finish the split pea soup with a little bit of lemon juice to brighten things up.
- Do not omit the oil in this recipe. The oil helps keep the split peas from foaming too much during cooking. If you omit the oil and they produce too much foam, it can make a huge mess!
- Make sure your pot is six quarts or larger. A smaller pot won't have enough headroom for the foam that the split peas produce when cooking.
- If the onions and garlic start to dry out while you saute them, add a little water to the pot to help them cook down more without sticking.
- Don't stir the veggies into the broth and split peas. This can cause your pot to give you a burn warning.
Serving and storage directions
Serve vegan split pea soup topped with a drizzle of vegan sour cream or cashew cream and red pepper flakes with some crusty bread on the side for dipping.
Leftovers will keep for three to four days in the refrigerator or up to six months in the freezer. Thaw on the countertop for a few hours or overnight in the fridge, and reheat on the stovetop. You may need to add a splash of water when you reheat, because split pea soup thickens as it sits.
Frequently asked questions
The soup setting defaults to 30 minutes at high pressure, which is way too long for this split pea soup. You only need to cook split peas in the Instant Pot for 10 minutes with a 10-minute natural release.
Like with other beans, soaking split peas helps them cook faster, but they are already a very fast-cooking legume. In the Instant Pot, they only take 10 minutes, plus a 10-minute natural release.
If your split peas aren't cooking through, it's likely their age and/or how you stored them. Like other legumes, dried split peas dry out more if they are stored for a long time or if they're not in an airtight container. You can try cooking them more to get them to soften, but depending on how old they are, they might just be no good.
More vegan soup recipes
Vegan Instant Pot Split Pea Soup
- 6 quart Instant Pot - or other 6-quart pressure cooker
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ of a sweet onion sliced thin
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 4 cups vegan chicken broth or vegetable broth or water plus 4 broth cubes
- 1 ⅓ cups split peas green or yellow are fine
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground thyme
- ¼ teaspoon salt or more, to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper or more, to taste
- 3 cups chopped cabbage in bite-sized pieces
- 2 carrots sliced into ½" rounds
- 1 red or yellow potato sliced into ½" pieces, about a cup
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Heat the oil using the saute function on your Instant Pot. Add the onion and garlic with a good pinch of salt, and cook, stirring, until the onions start to turn golden. You can add splashes of water, if needed, if the veggies start to stick.
- Stir in the broth, split peas, spices, salt, and pepper. Add the veggies on top but don't stir them in. Lock the lid and cook at pressure for 10 minutes with a 10-minute natural release.
- Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste with more salt and black pepper. Serve topped with a drizzle of vegan sour cream or cashew cream and red pepper flakes and some crusty bread on the side for dipping.