I used to think that it was the leftovers from the baked ham that gave split pea soup all its wonderful flavor. Now I know otherwise. My split pea vegan soup has all the flavor I remember and none of the fat and salt. No one who tries this soup misses the ham or the salt because it's the ground cloves and the split peas themselves that give this classic its distinctive flavor.
I achieve a great texture to the soup by cooking some of the split peas in the pot of water along with the chopped onion, celery, and spices. When these peas are just getting soft, I add the rest of the peas to the pot and cook until these are tender. This way, some peas are creamy and mushy, while others keep their pea shape and have a slight soft bite to them.