Herbed Split Pea & Basmati Rice Soup with Caramelized Onions

Jump to Recipe Print Recipe

Hearty split peas and fragrant basmati rice are simmered up with fresh herbs and caramelized onions to create this cozy and flavorful Persian-inspired split pea soup.

I know, the title for this one is a mouthful. I never know what to call dishes like this though. And also, there are so many good things in here — I feel like I have to mention each one! Like, what if someone who loves basmati rice or caramelized onions were to skip by the recipe not realizing what was in there? I couldn’t handle that.

There is in fact even more deliciousness than I managed to include in the name. Like the pomegranate molasses that gets drizzled on top. Or the spices that go into this. Or the specific fresh herbs — lots of cilantro, parsley, scallions and mint in case you were wondering.

I actually made this one months ago when the weather was just ready to warm up, which is why I held off on posting it until now. It’s loosely based on a Persian dish called ash, and once I heard about it I had to make it, warm weather or not. The original involves meatballs and at the time I was bombarding this site with meatball recipes, which I plan to resume shortly, but back then I needed a break.

I went with caramelized onions instead of meatballs. Authentic? No. But they do have their place in Middle Eastern cuisine, and they go great on top of soup. In this particular soup the savory sweetness of the onions is perfect against the earthy flavors of the soup.

If you prefer to go the vegan meatball route, I can’t say I blame you, because meatballs. Better yet, meatballs and caramelized onions? I’m definitely trying that at some point during the season. I think the meatballs from my Italian wedding soup would go nicely in here — maybe swap out the basil for some of the herbs in this soup.

5 from 2 votes Print

Herbed Split Pea & Basmati Rice Soup with Caramelized Onions

Hearty split peas and fragrant basmati rice are simmered up with fresh herbs and caramelized onions to create this cozy and flavorful Persian-inspired split pea soup.

CourseSoup CuisineMiddle Eastern Prep Time 15 minutes Cook Time 2 hours 20 minutes Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes Servings 6 Calories 366 kcal Author Alissa Saenz


For the Caramelized Onion Topping

  • 1 large onion,diced
  • 1tablespoonolive oil

For the Soup

  • 1tablespoonolive oil
  • 1 medium onion,diced
  • 2 medium carrots,diced
  • 2teaspoonsground cumin
  • 1teaspoonground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoonground turmeric
  • 3garlic cloves,minced
  • 12 cupsvegetable broth
  • 1 ½cupsdried split peas
  • ¾cupdried basmati rice
  • 1cupchopped fresh parsley
  • 1cupchopped fresh cilantro
  • ½cupchopped scallions
  • ¼cupchopped fresh mint
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For Serving

  • Pomegranate molasses


  1. To make the caramelized onions, coat the bottom of a large skillet with oil and place it over low heat. Add the onion and allow to cook for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until fully caramelized, stirring occasionally.

  2. While the onion cooks, coat the bottom of a large pot with oil and place it over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent. Stir in the cumin, cinnamon, turmeric and garlic. Continue to sauté for about 1 minute more, until very fragrant.

  3. Stir in the broth, peas and rice. Raise the heat and bring everything to a boil. Lower heat and allow to simmer, uncovered, until the peas and rice fall apart, about 2 hours and 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

  4. Stir in the parsley, cilantro, scallions and mint and continue simmering for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

  5. Ladle into bowls and top with caramelized onions and extra herbs, if you like. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses. Serve.

Nutrition FactsHerbed Split Pea & Basmati Rice Soup with Caramelized OnionsAmount Per ServingCalories 366Calories from Fat 52% Daily Value*Fat 5.8g9%Sodium 1795mg75%Potassium 787mg22%Carbohydrates 65.9g22%Fiber 15.7g63%Sugar 9.5g11%Protein 15.4g31%Calcium 70mg7%Iron 4.5mg25%* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.« Vegan Biscuits & GravyVegan Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies »

Sharing is caring!

I don’t know where a person gets pomegranate molasses, but this was divine even without it. And such a large portion will last me several meals, which is super. Thanks!


  • Loved!!!


  • Hi, I’m Alissa! I’m a former attorney turned professional food blogger. I love creating vegan recipes with bold flavors!

    More about me →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *