By Ali Lopez
MRG Contributor

Happy 2019! January has come to Michigan with a lovely mix of weather: cold, icy, snowy, cloudy, and once or twice a beautiful sunny day. And this weekend it’s downright frigid (and pretty snowy in some southern parts of the state). This means it is time to start cooking some delicious soup, loaded with veggies and packed with yummy flavors. I LOVE making soups and stews in winter. It is such an easy way to get all your nutrition in one bowl. Another great thing about soup/stew-making is that if you plan ahead a little, you can whip up a pot with what you have on hand in your pantry, freezer, and fridge.

Snow Day Split Pea “Stoup”

I made this soup on a snowy day when I didn’t want to go to the grocery store, but thanks to my well-stocked pantry was able to create a yummy dinner. I call this a “stoup” because it is thick and chunky—kind of a stew but kind of a soup. You can make it your own, or make it like mine. A few notes about the recipe:

  • Like all of my recipes, use this as a guideline and based on your taste buds. Feel free to add your favorite seasonings.
  • This version is vegan but if you want you can add crumbled bacon or shredded cheese if you desire.

One of the ingredients I use in this recipe is miso paste, which is always in my fridge. It is a great flavor booster especially for vegetarian and vegan cooking. If you are not familiar with miso paste, it is a fermented mixture of soybeans (along with other grains and beans.) It packs a nice amount of umami (think savory and rich), plenty of salt, and just enough flavor to keep things interesting. There are many varieties to choose from, and for this recipe I picked one of the lighter miso pastes, which has a milder flavor. I encourage you to give it a try in the recipe. It is a great substitute for the traditional ham or bacon that you usually find in split pea soup. 

Another favorite way that I use miso is to add a spoonful to a mug of hot water when I am in need of a soothing, hot beverage. And if you are under the weather, there is nothing like a cup of hot miso soup. Here is a little more about the wonders and uses of miso.

Don’t forget a delicious topping …

I have also included a special garnish for the “stoup”: a yummy cashew cream (recipe below) that I am sure you will find many uses for besides this soup. I actually had some leftover cashew cream and made an awesome pasta dish a few nights later. Might have to share that recipe next!

Snow Day Split Pea “Stoup”


Extra Virgin olive oil

1 big onion, diced

2 carrots, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

4 big garlic cloves, minced

1 pound (2 cups) dried split peas (I like yellow, but you can use green), soaked overnight is best, then drained

2+ quarts water (you can use veggie or chicken broth if you want, but water works fine)

1 package (10 oz.) frozen cauliflower (or broccoli, green beans, kale, spinach), thawed

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon chickpea miso paste, dissolved in a ¼ cup hot water

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 lemon, juiced



Yummy cashew cream (recipe follows) or sour cream


Heat a soup pot or dutch oven (4- to 5-quart size) over medium. Add oil and then add onions, carrots, and celery. Season with salt and pepper and cook until veggies are softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and thyme cook a few minutes more until it smells yummy. Add the drained, split peas and mix with the veggies, then add the water and bay leaf. Increase the heat to bring the mixture to a low boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until peas have softened, about an hour. (You may need to add more water now or later in the recipe.) Remove the bay leaf, add dissolved miso paste, taste and season well with salt and pepper. Add 1/2 of the lemon juice, taste, and add more if needed. At this point I like to use an immersion blender and blend the mixture a little so it is thicker but still chunky. Or use can use a potato masher if you don’t have an immersion blender. Or you can leave it as it is. Then add the frozen veggies and heat the soup again. Taste. Re-season if needed with more lemon, salt, or pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and finish with your choice of garnish.

Cashew Cream

(you can make this as thick or thin as you like and use it how you would sour cream or if thicker, ricotta cheese)


1 cup raw unsalted cashews (soaked in warm water for at least 1 hour or overnight)

1/2 to 1 cup water

1/2 lemon, juice

1 or 2 small garlic cloves, minced

Few pinches of sea salt


Drain the cashews. Place in a blender with fresh water, lemon juice, garlic, and a pinch or two of salt. Blend until completely smooth. If the sauce seems too thick, add more water to thin until you get it to the thickness you like. Taste test and adjust seasonings if need be.

Have a fueling question for Ali? Post it below in the comments section or email MRG with your healthy-eating questions at heather [at] michiganrunnergirl [dot] com 


Ali Lopez is a northern Michigan runner, chef and health coach. You can learn more about her at her web site Healthy Chef Ali. She’s also on Facebook here »

You can listen to a conversation about running and eating between Ali and Heather on this MRG podcast.

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