French Canadian split pea soup

When I make split pea soup, I make lots of it, especially in the winter time. As a young girl growing up in the “Great White North,” eating my mom’s French Canadian pea soup helped me cope through those long, cold, wintery days. Warm, thick and smokey, it was the ideal comfort food!

The split pea soup in the recipe below tastes like the kind my mom used to make, but without the ham. It’s 100% vegan and made with natural ingredients. It’s based on Linda McCartney’s recipe, which I like very much. However, in this new version, I’ve added some ingredients and changed the procedure. The end result is a creamier soup, chock full of vegetables, lentils and peas. It’s a complete healthy meal, high in plant protein, minerals and vitamins. One generous bowl will fill you up and warm you up. It’s also easy to make; all ingredients go into one big pot.

I recommend that you make this soup with homemade vegetable stock. But, if you haven’t got any, a store bought kind or bouillon cubes diluted in water are the next best thing.

Today, my daughters are on a Toronto-Montreal-Geneva flight, making their way back home for Christmas. They will be tired, cold and jet-lagged. A bowl of this soup will hit the spot.

A bientôt les filles! See you soon girls!

French Canadian split pea soup 

Serves 10 or more

Halve the ingredients for a smaller group


  • 1½ cups dry yellow split peas (pois jaunes)
  • 1 cup dry red lentils
  • 1 large cooking onion, diced
  • 2-3 big carrots, diced
  • 3 big celery sticks with leaves, chopped
  • 1 big sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 big leek (with dark and tender greens), chopped
  • 2 big ripe tomatoes with skins, diced
  • 2-3 garlic buds, pressed
  • 5 cups vegetable stock homemade or store-bought*
  • 10 cups of water (or more later)
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) dry Italian herbs
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon powdered curcuma
  • Sea salt & ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • A good handful of fresh parsley leaves, chopped

*I’ve tried this recipe with vegetable bouillon and it is just as delicious.


Put all ingredients, except the balsamic vinegar and parsley, in a big soup pot. Mix well. Bring to the boil and simmer with lid on for 1½ hours, stirring occasionally. Remove 5 cups of the soup (careful not to pick up the bay leaves) and pour this into the bowl of a blender or food processor. Whizz or process until smooth. Pour this back into the soup pot. Stir in the vinegar and parsley. Serve. Store leftovers in a covered container in refrigerator or freezer. This soup thickens as the lentils and peas absorb more stock and water. Add more water according to taste.


Julie Zimmer

Julie has extensive experience in nursing practice and education in a wide range of fields from intensive/coronary care, to medical-surgical to community and public health. Julie has Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Community Health Nursing Education. She has taught in faculties of nursing and in various communities in Toronto, Canada and in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a consultant to the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Julie also has years of experience teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in addition to coordinating an English department in a Swiss private school.

10 thoughts on “French Canadian split pea soup

  1. Thank you. Made the soup yesterday. After a busy busy morning, it was nice to curl up under a blanket and have a big bowl while watching The Great British Baking Show. For round two of the soup, I added a can of cannelini beans and some leftover ham, chopped.

    1. You’re welcome! I’m glad you liked it, got all cozied-up and made a second round of it with beans and ham! At this end, with one daughter who is vegan and the other vegetarian (including me) and my husband who will eat almost anything, but has largely cut down on his meat intake, I mainly create and cook plant based meals. I enjoy eating this way! Thanks for visiting my little blog. Take care, Julie

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