Newfoundland Split Pea Soup with Doughboys (A.K.A. Dumplings)

Today was a particularly cold and crappy day in Calgary, although we’ve yet to see snow! *runs and knocks on every piece of wood in sight*

When it’s like this out, all I want to do is throw on my pajama pants, curl up in a big cozy chair and cover myself in layers of big thick blankets with a hot bowl of soup. Who am I kidding, I always want to throw on my pajama pants, they’re the greatest things ever invented! I just happen to be one of those super lucky people who’s forced to wear tight, non-stretchy dress clothes for most of my waking hours, nothing wrong with dressing up, but oh my god dress pants, or even worse, tights, are so bloody uncomfortable! Literally the second I walk in the door after work I run up stairs to strip off those ungodly garments and put on my soft and comfy cotton pants….that may or may not be covered in sheep or penguins…yes, I’m a 30 year old that wears pants covered in dancing penguins, what of it?d6c_1298Once pajama pants are in place, it’s time for dinner! Well, actually the next step in my get home from work routine is smother Apollo with endless snuggles, it’s gotten to the point where he expects it and he’ll be waiting impatiently at the foot of the stairs. He knows the routine and if I happen to forget, he’ll remind me by looking up at me with those big blue eyes and literally yell at me until I pet him. Man cats are cute/weird. Ok, back to dinner. When it’s a cold and foggy mess outside, my instinct is to go for a hot and hearty bowl of soup. I don’t know what it is about soup that just makes everything right in the world when it’s gross outside but I’m going to chalk it up to some kind of magic, because it never fails. I’m a big fan of just about every kind of soup, but when I’m looking for comfort, split pea is the only way to go and even though it takes a hella long time* to cook, it’s the only soup that’ll do.d6c_1297I was obsessed with split pea soup growing up, I could eat that stuff every single day and not get sick of it. If I was lucky, my mom or nan would cook up a big delicious pot and I’d be set for a awhile, but when that ran out there were these bags my mom would pick up at the grocery store that we’d keep in the freezer. Now these weren’t your standard ‘fill in the name brand’ grocery store bags of soup, this is Newfoundland people, and in Newfoundland, everything is homemade! Seriously, I never really noticed it before but after our trip there this summer we realized that pretty much any gas station you go to sells baked goods that were made that morning by someone’s grandma, it’s pretty awesome.d6c_1301Now most split peas soups aren’t the most vegan-friendly and Newfoundland split pea soup isn’t much different in that regards. As far as I know, the only difference is that you just replace the ham hock with a hunk of salt meat (blah!). So as much as I’d love to have my mom ship me up some bags o soup, I think I’ll pass. To fill the soupless void in my life, I pulled out the yellow split peas and came up with my own version. Originally I wanted to keep it traditional but since back in the day the only seasoning they would have used is onion and some salt and pepper, I thought I’d  give it more of a modern day flavor spin. I replaced most of the water with vegetable stock for an extra smack of flavour, added some bay leaves, garlic (duh!), a few root veggies (rutabaga, potato carrot)…ok, slightly off topic here but after moving to Calgary I discovered that what Newfies refer to as turnip, is actually rutabaga; go figure! They’re pretty similar but turnips are white and have a really stringy texture, which we sadly discovered after trying to recreate Cooked Dinner one evening, so when I say rutabaga, don’t buy turnip.   d6c_1303To replace that smoky meat flavor, liquid smoke came to save the day, along with some semi freezer burnt vegan ham I had kicking around in the freezer. I also sprinkled some smoked salt on top for some extra smoky goodness, which is totally not necessary but if you have some kicking around in your pantry, have at it. The soup I ate growing up never used to have doughboys but after seeing a few recipes online with them I thought, hey, I like dough! So I threw some in. In case you’re wondering what doughboys are, Newfies use the term interchangeably with dumplings, which term you use pretty much just depends on what part of the island you’re from. Ah Newfie dialect, you be something special by, I telly what.

*this is a plan ahead soup since you have to soak the peas overnight and it takes hours to cook, yes, that’s right, hours, but it makes a lot and it freezes beautifully.



A thick and hearty classic Newfoundland soup with a vegan twist. Perfect for a cold winter day, this split pea soup is easy to make and has a delicious slightly smoky flavour.

Author: The Vegan Cookbook Aficionado


  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 medium stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cups yellow split peas
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 to 2 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup yellow potato, cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 1 cup rutabaga, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3/4 cup diced vegan ham (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

  • 1 cup white whole wheat or unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, shortening or non-dairy margarine
  • 1/4-1/2 cup unsweetened soymilk or water


  1. The night before, place split peas in a bowl and cover with water. Let soak overnight, then drain before using.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the onion and celery in 1 teaspoon of oil until translucent, add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.
  3. Add the split peas, 6 cups of broth and bay leaves to the pot, cover with lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add water if too much liquid evaporates. Check to see if peas have broken down and have become mushy, if not mash them with a potato masher. Add the vegetables, ham and liquid smoke and continue simmering for 15 minutes. Prepare dumplings.
  4. In a small bowl mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in the margarine with a pastry cutter or fork. Pour in the milk or water and mix until a soft dough forms. Drop dough by 1/2 tablespoons into the soup, cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until they have puffed up and are cooked.

  5. Notes

    To make this gluten-free, leave out the doughboys or replace the flour with a gluten-free blend.


18 thoughts on “Newfoundland Split Pea Soup with Doughboys (A.K.A. Dumplings)

  1. Hannah (BitterSweet) says:

    Thick, dumpling-laden soups are a guilty pleasure of mine. The rest of my family hates them, so I try not to let on how much I adore the rich, hearty stews. Next time I can shoo them out of the kitchen for an evening, I’m definitely going to indulge. These photos look so good!

  2. Katie @ Produce on Parade says:

    Oh man, this looks so perfect. It’s chilly up here in Alaska, and Canada too I am sure! I’ve been to Calgary for the Olympic trials many years ago! I remember it being exceptionally hot there at that time! You are exactly like me. In the door = nightgown on! I’m not sure what’s worse (or more awesome)…a nightgown or penguin pj bottoms! haha, except I wear pajamas (scrubs) all day, so I really have no excuse besides that fact that bras are uncomfortable!

  3. Katie says:

    Wowzer I’ve been making this for years and it’s my go to comfort food in fact it’s my birthday request every year too !! I live in the uk and I’ve always known them as doughboys too how bizarre

  4. rika@vm says:

    I love your new profile photo! I hope you will get some snow soon in Calgary and I love pajama pants (and wearing them right now and don’t mind animal or cartoons on them or even bright ones) and it’s kind of chilly here in BsAs (around late 50s). Split Pea looks creamy and hearty…mmmmm, great for the cold wintery days and I’ve yet to make some dumplings!!! Are they similiar like Asian dumplings in stew or just thicker? I had sweet “curd” dumplings in Hungary before, they were pretty good!

  5. Susan says:

    You are never too old for sheep or penguins or unicorns or kittens or anything adorable that you love. 🙂
    This looks great, though we seem to have skipped spring and gone straight to summer here, so this might be one to reserve for the return of winter. 😉

  6. flickingthevs says:

    Dumplings and soup? Don’t mind if I do. I’ve been having a split pea soup moment over here, and it didn’t turn out half as good as that one. Clearly, another try is needed (lucky I love split pea soup!)

  7. Becky says:

    I too am a fan of pajama pants! That soup looks amazing, too. My grandma used to make dumplings for us when I was a kid, so anything with dumplings is nostalgic for me.

  8. Susan Edelman says:

    Pajama pants, make room for dumplings! This post caught my eye, because I just wrote about parsnip soup, briefly mentioning turnips in my post. I have LOTS of Newfie relatives, although my little branch broke off into NY and PA and other mid-Atlantic states so I don’t know them well at all. I guess they were originally over from Wales. I feel I have to make split peas and dumplings now that we’re practically cousins! (Well…you never KNOW!) BTW, I have paisley on my pants and dogs; not sure if that’s a significant point of interest…

    • Maggie Muggins says:

      I haven’t tried it without soaking, as it would take a really long time to cook, you could try par cooking the peas on their own and then make the soup. That should cut down on time.

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