I was a late-comer to curry—we didn’t have a lot of South Asian flavors at my very Midwestern childhood dinner table—but once I took my first bite of curry in college, I was sold! The layered, spicy explosion of flavor started me onto a path of curry adoration.
I’ve been making different curries for well over a decade now, and I have the quickest, easiest, most flavorful formula down pat. Thanks to a secret ingredient—red curry paste—anyone (even total cooking beginners) can get super tasty curry on the table in a flash!
What ingredients do you need to make split pea curry?
This curry comes together with less than 10 ingredients—and chances are, you have most of them in your house already. You’ll need:
- Cooking oil—I like avocado oil, but olive oil or coconut oil both work, too.
- Diced onion—White or yellow will work.
- Red curry paste—This “special” ingredient is found in the international foods section of your grocery store. If you want this dish to be strictly vegan, make sure to look for a plant-based brand!
- Vegetable broth
- Dried split peas—Find these with the dried beans in your supermarket.
- Canned diced tomatoes—Plain diced tomatoes work fine, but fire-roasted tomatoes give the best flavor.
- Canned coconut milk—Both light and full-fat coconut milk work here.
- Salt and pepper
- Rice, noodles, zucchini noodles, or spaghetti squash, for serving—Whatever you like!
If you aren’t vegan or vegetarian, chicken broth or chicken bone broth also works well in this recipe.
What’s the difference between curry powder and curry paste?
The best way to get robust flavor in your curry is to use curry paste. Yes, you can probably find curry powder fairly easily, but the flavor of curry powder fades very quickly.
Curry paste is the wet version of curry powder, and is sold in most big grocery stores with the other international foods. Keeping a jar on hand makes it super easy to throw together a delicious curry.
I recommend red curry paste for this recipe. A lot of people like Mae Ploy because it has a super robust flavor, but it does contain animal ingredients, so if you want this dish to be strictly vegan, Thai Kitchen is an easy-to-find plant-based option. You can also make your own curry paste at home, following this how-to from Hot Thai Kitchen!
Do split peas need to be soaked before cooking?
Nope! Split peas will cook just fine on the stove without soaking them ahead of time. You can choose to soak them if they cause digestive problems for you.
Unlike other dried legumes, split peas don’t need soaking prior to cooking!
What should I serve this split pea curry with?
This plant-based curry needs a base to fill out the meal, and we recommend serving it on top of one of these options:
- White or brown rice
- Whole grains like quinoa or farro
- Rice noodles
- Spaghetti squash
- Zucchini noodles
Split pea curry itself is a pretty rounded-out meal, but if you want to add some sides, try adding some warm naan bread and a fresh green salad.
Can I meal prep this curry?
Sure can! Make it completely through the recipe, then break into individual serving containers along with the rice, noodles, or veggies you choose for serving.
This vegan curry makes an excellent meal prep lunch. Make a batch on the weekend and stash it in the fridge for easy lunches all week.
What about freezing—can I freeze split pea curry?
Yes! This curry is a perfect candidate for freezing. In fact, we often double this recipe and then freeze half of it as an easy meal later. Just spoon the cooled curry (just the curry, not the rice or noodles) into a freezer-safe container. Label and freeze. It’ll keep in the freezer for at least three months without losing any flavor or texture.
What else can I do with split peas?
Split peas are such an underrecognized legume! You need more split peas in your life. You can always go with the classic—soup. But there is so much more you can do with split peas! Try one of these two fan-favorite recipes: