For best results start by soaking the split peas in hot water for a couple of hours. This will ensure that the split peas will end up with a buttery texture, especially of they might be a little older.
Slice the leek and lengthwise and chop it up. Transfer to a colander and rinse well under cold running water.
Heat a heavy bottom dutch oven on medium low flame. Add the leeks together with a pinch of sea salt and a splash of water or drizzle of olive oil (omit the oil for WFPB & Plantricious diets). Add the carrots and celery and sautee for about 10 minutes until softened and it starts to get some color.
Stir in the garlic, smoked paprika and red pepper flakes then add the yellow split peas, bay leaves, marjoram and thyme. Pour in the water or vegetable stock and bring to a rapid simmer. Cover with a lid and cook for 50 minutes or until the peas have softened to your liking. (If you are working with older split peas you might want to presoak them for a couple of hours to achieve a buttery texture).
Remove the soup from flame and discard the bay leaves, marjoram and thyme sprigs.
Pour in the plant milk and using a hand held immersion blender puree about half of the soup or smoother to your liking. Taste and adjust seasonings to your taste with more sea salt. Alternatively use a powerful blender to achieve a silky pureed textured instead.
Serve hot with a squeeze of lime, garnished with the chives and hemp seeds.
You don't need to soak the split peas unless of course they are old and tough. The grocery store variety I purchase in bulk cooks great in less than 1 hour. However to be on the safe side you can presoak them for a couple of hours in hot water or cook the soup an extra 30 minutes or so until desired texture is achieved.