Here are a few things I know to be true: Split pea soup is never going to win the winter soup Olympics. Its signature hue of mushy pea green will never be prized as fashionable by anyone but the unfashionable likes of me. If you know people who stand up and cheer when they hear that it’s a split pea soup for dinner kind of evening, you know amazing, rare unicorn people I would like to have over for dinner more often. It could be argued that split pea soup doesn’t help its cause by its, ahem, mushy texture that usually solidifies into a brick in a fridge overnight, which is why it surprised me as much as it did that when I mentioned making it — along with this black bread — in this food diary I kept for Grub Street last week, so many people asked me for the recipe.
I had been eating split pea soup for at least half my life before I realized it was not traditionally a vegetarian soup. Growing up, my mom made it from, well, tubes from the grocery store that included the dried peas and a seasoning packet and I thought the results were above reproach. The fact that it was usually from Manischewitz probably could have explained the absence of ham hocks, but I don’t like to jump to conclusions or anything.
The times I have made it with ham hocks, I didn’t find it life-changing. For me, it didn’t add enough to be worth changing my usual approach — a solid enough filter for any new recipe decision, you could say — which is a pile of vegetables and aromatics, broth, and split peas, cooked until tender and then pureed in all or part, and generally, if we’re being completely honest here, swiftly rejected by most people in my family for all the reasons listed above.
But I think this most recent version is on to something. A lot of vegetarian split pea soups add potatoes for bulk, but I find it only further mutes a muted soup’s flavor. Instead, I swapped out my usual chopped onion with a few thinly sliced leeks and loved every bit of the results. I kept the carrots and celery, but then, right when I was about to puree the soup I realized somehow for the first time that it might not need it at all? Peas, split, naturally collapse in soup so the texture was already halfway smooth; why nudge it further? I then tried three different finishes. No, I’m not suggesting you need to finish this soup three ways, I just couldn’t decide. The first was a green sauce with parsley, lemon, and garlic, basically a vegetarian gremolata, which usually contain anchovies too. (A salsa verde would be great here too.) Then, a dollop of sour cream. Finally, because I said I didn’t like ham inside the soup but said nothing about on top, we added a bit of crispy bacon in small bits, but I also love it topped with croutons (either gruyere or these lovelies) should you wish to keep it meatless. Any one or even two of these toppings really lift the soup so choose your own adventure.
New Year, New Soup! Traditionally, I begin each year on Smitten Kitchen with a soup or stew. Here are a few from previous years: Chicken Wonton Soup (2017), Chicken Chili (2016) My Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup (2015), Chicken Pho (2014) Carrot Soup with Tahini and Crispy Chickpeas (2013) Carrot Soup with Miso and Sesame (2012), Mushroom and Farro Soup (2011), Black Bean Soup with Toasted Cumin Seed Crema (2010) and Balthazar’s Cream of Mushroom Soup (2007)
One year ago: Chicken Wonton Soup
Two years ago: Chicken Chili and Ugly-But-Good Cookies
Three years ago: My Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup and Popcorn Party Mix
Four years ago: Parmesan Broth with Kale and White Beans and Coconut Tapioca Pudding with Mango
Five years ago: Carrot Soup with Tahini and Crisped Chickpeas and Ethereally Smooth Hummus
Six years ago: Carrot Soup with Miso and Sesame and Apple Shartlotka
Seven years ago: Chard and White Bean Stew and Vanilla Bean Pudding
Eight years ago: Southwestern Pulled Brisket and Caramel Pudding
Nine years ago: Fig and Walnut Biscotti and Squash and Chickpea Moroccan Stew
Ten years ago: Viennese Cucumber Salad and Lemon Bars
Eleven years ago: Really Simple Homemade Pizza and Balthazar’s Cream of Mushroom Soup
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Confetti Party Cake
1.5 Years Ago: Peaches and Cream Bunny Cake
2.5 Years Ago: Green Beans with Almond Pesto
3.5 Years Ago: Blue and Red Berry Ricotta Galette
4.5 Years Ago: Slow and Low Dry Rub Oven Chicken
Split Pea Soup
I make a quick and hasty herb sauce by blending 1 large or 2 small, peeled garlic clove(s) and a couple handfuls of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (or a mix of herbs, such as mint and/or cilantro, that you’d like here) with the finely grated zest of half a lemon, salt, and red pepper flakes until well chopped and then drizzling in olive oil with the machine running until the mixture becomes saucy. Season with more salt and pepper. This sauce keeps in the fridge for a week and is also great on roasted potatoes, squash or even fried eggs.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 leeks, halved and sliced into ribbons
- 1 carrot, chopped small
- 1 large rib celery, chopped
- Salt and freshly black pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, cloves peeled and sliced thin
- 1 pound dried green split peas, rinsed and picked over
- 2 quarts vegetable stock or broth.
- 2 to 3 sprigs of thyme, leaves still on (optional)
- 1 bay leaf
- Fresh herb sauce (instructions up top)
- Sour cream
- Two slices of crumbled crisp bacon (obviously would no longer be vegetarian)
- Garlicky or gruyere croutons
For the soup
In an InstantPot or electric pressure cooker: Set your pot to sauté and cook the vegetables as written above. Once you’ve added the stock, dried peas, and herbs, cook the mixture under high pressure for 15 minutes and then let it naturally release for at least 5 minutes manually releasing it the rest of the way. Remove thyme sprigs (most of the leaves will have fallen off) and bay leaf and season very well with salt and black pepper.
Both methods: I do not puree this soup, but you can at this point with an immersion blender, either all or just halfway. Ladle soup into bowls and finish with garnishes of your choice.
Do ahead: Split pea soup keeps fantastically in the fridge or freezer but, just to warn you, it looks crazy thick once it has chilled. It should loosen as you rewarm it, but if it doesn’t enough to your liking, add another splash of broth or water as needed.
283 comments on split pea soup
Gremolata has anchovies in it? Honest to goodness, I’ve never heard of that until right now. Is that the “traditional” way?
I feel like I see it as often without it as with, in fact, I was going to call this a parsley gremolata because I’d always thought they were anchovy-free, but then I read otherwise. One of these days I’m going to round up All Of The Great Green Sauces and sort them.
I would love a round up of Great Green Sauces! I am always playing around with variations and drool everytime I see a photo of one. One of my favorites is a sauce made with onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, salt slathered on a pizza as the sauce. Amazing!
Could you please fix the typo in “It’s signature hue”?
For you, yes. :)
Hah, I know those tubes! They still sell them. They’re part of my standard housewarming gift-basket: two tubes of dried soup, dried pasta, a nice jarred tomato sauce, salad dressing, and croutons.
What a nice idea!
Leeks make nearly all soups better, and certainly are great in pea soup. This is an excellent, adaptable recipe and I love that you didn’t include the smoked ham that sometimes overwhelms the taste of the veggies. The gremolata topping looks like an absolute must try. An unusual, but fun way to serve pea soup is to treat it like French Onion soup. Ladle it into heatproof bowls, top with a slice of good bread, cover with grated cheese (Gruyere, Parmesan, or anything you like), then zap it under the broiler until the cheese melts and browns. The result is like having soup and a grilled cheese sandwich all in one.
Wow! That sounds fantastic. Thanks for the idea!
I second Charlotte’s comment. This is a great idea. Making the soup tonight and will give the crusty cheese topper a go.
I never, ever liked split pea soup until I had one with ground cumin and whole cumin seed in it and I proceeded to totally lose my mind over it. (I would never have thought of pairing cumin and split peas, but there you go). I am thinking some whole cumin seed would play beautifully in your version, too.
Agreed. I veered away from it here for the sake of staying classic and because I have a Red Lentil Soup with lots of Indian spices in my second cookbook; you could definitely apply that here.
Most any recipe for dal makes a delicious soup if it’s just diluted a little more.
Also I live with a German… she turned me into putting sauerkraut as a topper in split pea soup! It is another unicorn!
Could you use yellow split peas in place of the green? I’m not sure how different the two are and if they can be used interchangeably. Thanks!
I’d think so. I find they fall apart more than split green peas but otherwise should work the same.
I usually mix yellow and green split peas-the color is a bit less nauseous, and it doesn’t affect the texture. Pea soup is my favorite winter, and occasionally summer soup. I grew up on the same vegetarian (kosher) stuff. Sometimes I add barley. Can’t wait to try it with leaks. Great ideas for the toppings, thanks!
DR, How do you add barley??
I love split pea soup. I know. How weird. I make mine using shallots and leftover gruyere rinds. As always with soup, it’s better after 24 hours. I’ll give leeks a try.
This recipe looks really good; I am a huge split pea soup fan & along time vegetarian, so it’s a win-win. Ina Garten makes a split pea soup and she cooks half of the split peas the whole time, and the other half for the last 45 minutes. The different texture is really nice, so I can see where the “to puree or not to puree” debate would come in. Either way, I’m grateful for yet another way to enjoy one of my favorite soups. Thanks, Deb!
I have always loved split pea soup, but George , the hippopotamus in James Marshall’s wonderful George and Martha Books does not. He pours the soup in his loafers rather than hurt the feelings of his good friend Martha who loves making split pea soup. Highly recommended read along with the soup.
My daughter LOVES this book. I just read it to her before I saw this recipe and had to laugh!! Glad I’m not the only one who thinks of that classic when I hear the words “split pea soup!!”
Haha! George and Martha are the best. :)
I LOVE George and Martha!! Total classics.
George and Martha are in our Preschool library and I love to read that story to the kids. I always feel so sorry for George. Not only does he have to pretend to like split pea soup, but then having to walk home in those loafers…I think maybe he would have liked Deb’s soup recipe better!
George and Martha are the best.
School Librarian who blogs about kids’ books :-)
Thanks for reminding me about the book and about that part of it. My son is 17 so we haven’t read it in a long time.
My kids are weird, because they looooove split pea soup. I do use ham (throw in a bone leftover from Christmas dinner) and potatoes, so the more classic version–usually in the crock pot. This looks great (though I’m guessing the kids wouldn’t eat it) and I love the idea of the croutons on top! Yum.
And I love that you’re so consistent–11 years of archives and nine “previously” recipes are soups :)
It’s *almost* a tradition that the first recipe of the year here is a soup. It’s like the anti-champagne/holiday cookie.
Standing up and cheering!
Split pea has been my favorite soup since I was a toddler.
YAAAAAAAAS! I absolutely love split pea, and I’ve not tried a recipe so leek heavy before. Also – the chunkier the soup, the better, in my opinion! No blending for me. This is happening!
Leeks should really be in basically all soups. <3
I never puree my pea soup, and I always add an entire grated apple, it gives it a tiny bit of sweetness.
I love the apple idea!
Hooray! Thank you, thank you for posting Instant Pot instructions! Can’t wait to try this.
Nothing says snow day like a steaming pot of split pea soup, which is exactly what I made during last week’s northeast blizzard.
2 Comments – If green soup (green anything according to my kids) is “Icky” – use Yellow split peas. Often found in international food aisle (Goya). Next – for those who keep kosher and want a “hammy” flavor – chop up a hunk of turkey pastrami. Brown it first with veggies and remove it before you are pureeing the soup. Use it as Garnish !
I thought to add a couple of smoked turkey wings for that flavor! Has anyone tried that?
My must-have go-to addition to Split Pea Soup is smoked turkey drumsticks, so I’m sure smoked wings would be just as good, if perhaps not as meaty.
I use smoked turkey necks in my greens & navy bean soup often too. They almost shred themselves.
All of these add-ins sound wonderful. I love it when you update old classics.
I often add smoked chicken or turkey to split pea soup, whatever is to hand. I also usually add a LOT of frozen peas right at the end, to up the pea-y-ness. ;)
My husband and son don’t just stand up and cheer when I make split pea soup, they request it often! We sometimes do toasted garlic breadcrumbs which would be a nice sub for the bacon too. I love your garnishes! Kenji has a great multi-cooker recipe/technique, it was the thing that finally sold me on keeping my InstantPot. Worth checking out for sure.
I am a rare unicorn in week 2 of a whole30 and this is the first thing I’m doing when it’s over!
This soup is whole 30 compliant if you use all olive oil and keep your toppings compliant.
Legumes not-in-pod :(
I love split pea soup but never make it because I don’t usually have ham bones around, which I always thought was a given. Excited to try it without!
I love split pea for all it is (hearty, warming, filling, delicious) and isn’t (beautiful – looks aren’t everything). For additional heft I sometimes add barley; the peas cook down around it, the barley stays a touch firmer, and it feels a bit more substantial for dinner.
Yes, I was surprised yesterday when, at our staff meeting, our director made split pea soup with barley and grated cheese to pile on top. It was so good. I had never had split pea soup with barley or cheese. So you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!
I’ve been making my pea soup with dried peas and … frozen peas! I put them in after the dried peas are nice and mushy, and then when it’s all warm, I use the hand blender. The frozen peas make the soup such a beautiful green! And dill! Isn’t fresh dill a pretty herb?
Love the frozen pea idea, I think I’ll throw some in the pot I have going now!
My daughter is going to be over the moon when she sees this post. She graduated from college in May, moved into her first apartment and, after years of hearing me rave about all of your recipes, she often looks here for inspiration. Not only is split pea soup one of her favorites but her graduation gift was an InstantPot so she will be extra delighted to see that you included the directions for it.
You are a goddess!
I love the cheerful look of brightly colored carrot half-moons in my pea soup. To keep them vibrant, I add them (probably THREE carrots!) at the very end of cooking. If you slice them thinly, it doesn’t take long for them to soften up. Also, a 1/4 – 1/3 c of pearled barley is a nice addition. Barley always makes a soup delightfully digestible for me.
The fuggy smell of boiling ham hock has been what has put me off from split pea soup – also, the very traditional version made by, er, [some] women in my family is just onions and split peas (and ham). Garlic sounds innovatively flavourful enough to make me…change my mind, test my aversion and…try this?
I’ve been making split pea soup since the dawn of time roughly, in myriad ways based on whim and my cupboard’s relative fullness, but this gremolata idea… *smacks forehead*
I adore split pea soup. I’ve always made a curried vegetarian version that came from my college boyfriend’s Mennonite cookbook.
Deb, my Bubby’s pea soup was legendary—or so I’m told, since I never ate it… She passed at the end of December and it brought a smile to me and my mom to see you post about pea soup. Thank you. ❤
Sending you warm thought from Phoenix – it’s been 75 degrees and AMAZING for two weeks. I’m loving the Instant Pot Recipes! Please keep them coming. (And the Vegetarian recipes!) Thank you!!!
I LOVE split pea soup. If I come upon a ham bone from a baked ham, this is where I use it. Any flavor that’s left in it will come out in the soup. Otherwise I’ll use a few slices of double smoked bacon and render the fat to sauce the onion in. I also add dried Summer Savory at the end. It a herb that I usually use for poulty but I really like it here. I’ve never used leeks but next time I will. Thanks for this.
If you’re not the hugest split pea fan, you have GOT to try Swedish whole yellow pea soup. Whole yellow peas can be hard to find, but my gosh. It’s fantastic. Cleaner taste, lovely texture, and just delightful all around. Word of warning – it’s a 3-4 day process without an pressure cooker, and all afternoon even with one. But totally worth it. We usually eat it with rye crackers, butter and cheese as a starter and swedish pancakes as a finishing course.
I read that split pea soup is traditional in Sweden on wash day, (Thursday). The soup cooks all day while you are busy washing and then you make pancakes for desert.
The Swedes also spoon mustard along the edge of the bowl and put a bit on the spoon with each bite. To die for! They also serve a liqueur with the soup, called Punsch, which we can’t get here in the States, unfortunately.
If that isn’t “just what the doctor ordered” for us in the Northeast ( thanks for that Phoenix weather report…or not) when we can now finally stick our noses out the door to attempt a supermarket trip. The gremolata adds such a great visual dimension, it almost wouldn’t have to taste great to be uplifting. Thanks Deb, I was down to my last portion of frozen lentil soup. This is just in the nick of time.
We add a little curry at the end and substitute parsnips for the potatoes. It makes all the difference!
I have never tried split pea soup because of the ham. This looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it!!
I must of had my flash of inspiration to make split pea soup last week while you were working on yours! I did put ham in it and was thinking that it was just okay, but I love the idea of your herb sauce and some crumbled bacon on top. It was heaven in a bowl after all the fancy and rich foods of the holidays.
P.S. I’m very excited to be a unicorn!
It’s like you read my mind. I just got an instant pot and was wondering if you ever had recipes for pressure cookers. Thanks!
Split pea soup is a favorite and I like it both with and without ham/bacon. A splash of dry sherry is a good way to finish the soup, too, and is especially good along with a dollop of sour cream.
Thanks for the memories! I used to make vegetarian split pea soup a lot when the kids were little. I loved the way it gelled in the fridge. Will have to try making it with grilled cheese for the grandkids 😄
Ooh, I also grew up with those cellophane packets of dried split pea soup. Must be a tri-state area delicacy 😂!
I definitely have to try this version, as I too am a split pea soup-loving weirdo. I’m thinking those pillowy haloumi cubes from the roasted veggies in the new book would be outrageous atop this soup.
I used to fix my daughter’s hair exactly like Anna’s is! The curls! Such a curse and a blessing at the same time. Mine was 25 before she accepted them and quit trying to tame them. :)
Thanks, I just made some incredible chicken broth and using that in this soup makes it even better! (I am so not a vegetarian, duh.) It’s rich, delicious and so comforting to those of us who are split pea aficionados. My kids, now in their 40’s, ate a lot of it growing (it’s cheap) and we would all gladly come over to your house and share this meal with you!
Just made split pea soup on Sunday, Instant Pot style, but I’m going to try your recipe next. We topped with pepitas and french fried onions, which makes me laugh a little but it was pretty good – thanks for the other adventurous topping suggestions for next time.
Pepitas! Great idea!
So excited to make it! Split pea is one of my favorite soups!
I never puree my split pea soup and make it with leeks and rosemary and usually add some bacon, or leftover ham if I’ve got it. When my son was 4 he told me he did not like soup, but would like it when he was a man. He’s now 17 and split pea soup is one of his favorite meals. I have a hard time believing it, but I guess he’s a man now.
This is almost exactly my recipe, but we tend to add more carrots. I bet a parsnip would be lovely. I need to use up my bottle of what I call “Indian hot sauce,” (seems like it would be very similar to the cilantro sauce you suggest above). I never thought to put them together. I can hardly wait. (Also, the salted butter cookies were a dream. I’m so glad I put one roll in the freezer. It’s like a little bet of hope waiting to be opened some other day.)
The funny thing is, I went to make split pea soup yesterday and looked on your site to see if you had a recipe ( because you are my go to lady for great recipes) and was surprised not to see one. On day later and…Great minds! I also prefer it vegetarian and with leeks. I cook with leeks as much as I can when they are in season. They are to me the best of the onion family. I used to make a soup where towards the end you add some fresh frozen peas, cook until just tender and it gives a lovely freshness to the soup. I can’t remember where I got the recipe from. Anyway went for lentil, because I only had a dinky amount of peas. I will have to try your version another day. It’s such a comforting soup!
Gourmet recipe for potato leek soup adds frozen peas at the end – favorite recipe!
I will try this version! I recently cooked Lynn Rosetto Casper’s with all the spices–so delicious.
You forgot the dill….
One of the Best soups, from the Soup Queen
Oh dear. I am sure this is delicious, but the idea of pea soup without a ham hock is just all kinds of wrong for me.
Pea soup in general is all kinds of wrong at the moment… just buried the remains of the Christmas ham in the freezer until winter. It’s been 108 degrees here in the past week (that’s 42 for us folk downunder).
And pea soup in a pressure cooker… hmmm… pea soup was behind the great soup on the ceiling disaster of 1984. ‘Nuff said. At least having exploded a pressure cooker I am no longer intimidated by the hissing beasties as I know the worst.
I’ve been a lonely unicorn almost my entire life! Growing up, we never had pea soup and then I discovered the cello-pack version as a teen. I was the only person in the family that would eat it so I’d have pea soup for lunch every day for almost a week. When I left home, my roommates would say very rude things about my beloved soup – I’d graduated past the Manischewitz and was making it from scratch by then. I’d tell them not to look at it, just eat it, if the colour offended them but no deal.
My husband, a French-Canadian, had been forced to eat it as a kid and said there was no way he’d touch it in his own home. Two of our three kids sided with him so it didn’t appear on our table very often. I used to make it and freeze portions that I would have when they weren’t around. It’s hard to enjoy something when everyone around you has that “Ewww!” response ;-)
On my own now, I can indulge in pea soup whenever I want and eat it year-round. I love leeks and will definitely be giving this recipe a go!
Might be a little late for your kids and husband but I heard a saying the other day that fits this scenario perfectly. Don’t “Ick (or ewwwww) my yum!”
Simple way to tell children that it’s not nice to make negative comments about a meal that someone else is enjoying!
You might want to try looking up ‘snert’, a Dutch version of pea soup that is extremely thick and hearty. It’s generally served with smoked sausage and bacon but it’s also great without. Some recipes say to add celeriac, which I love and might be just what you need to thicken the soup without losing flavour.
I am the kind of girl who will stand up for split pea soup. In my hometown (SW of France), it is staple. But no ham here just bones, a little meat and some fat from duck confit. The taste might be an acquired one for people who did not grow up in a household cooking with duck fat but for me, it is a direct trip to childhood!
And obviously, croutons are compulsory in my house!!!!
I will try this vegetarian version very soon.
Thank you for including InstantPot directions! I don’t care what anyone says; I love split pea soup.
I’ve loved this soup ever since I first had it at the Magic Pan restaurant years ago. It came with a tot of dry sherry which could be mixed in at the table, and was called Potage St. Germain. Some of your readers may remember this restaurant which had such loyal followers (and former employees) that at one point a few years ago there was an email list to swap memories and recipes from the restaurant. I found their recipe on the Web. The sherry may not be suitable for kids, but it lifts the soup to a whole new level.
Oh, Sue T! Thanks for the memory! It’s where I first had split pea and I was telling my husband the other night when I made it that it was also called a potage, but I didn’t remember why.
I am a split pea soup lover, so will definitely try your recipe! I first started making it like I made my great northern beans, with a ham hock. But then started sometimes doing Ina Garten’s recipe which is a meatless and has half mushy peas, and half that are added later. But yours sounds delicious! The leeks must give it a more subtle flavor than the onion that I add. And I do love the thought of bacon on top! I have just started using an Instant Pot (though some things I still prefer in Le Creuset or an iron skillet). Thanks for including instructions for that. I especially love how it reduced the cooking time of briskets, etc.
This recipe brings back family memories of growing up in California. I never owned a pressure cooker because of hearing about how my grandmother coated her kitchen ceiling and wall with split pea soup when hers exploded. We often stopped in Buellton (north of Santa Barbara) on trips up the coast to have lunch at Andersen’s, which was famous for their split pea soup.
Oh! Somebody else remembering Anderson’s! My family used to go there every summer on our annual vacation trip. Now, that was pea soup. The canned is not the same. My mother was distantly related to Mrs. Anderson, and I have their recipe. I haven’t made it in ages. Coming up soon!
Safeway in Oregon has canned Andersen’s split pea soup.
my mother made this soup from yellow split peas… a gentler flavor… no meat, just onions and carrots..
I love the smokey flavor usually found in pea soup but I don’t eat ham. My market sells smoked turkey wings and I have fooled the best by using them. Also, the meat on the wings has a pink color like ham – I shred it and you can’t tell the difference.
I have used smoked paprika to get the smoke flavor without the ham.
I never use ham when I make split-pea soup, however I DO very much enjoy adding in a sliced rope of smoked turkey “kielbasa” towards the end so the sausage pieces can just heat thru. Delicious!
Can you use yellow split peas? I have a ton of those in my pantry right now!!!
I haven’t tried it but from what I’ve read, it should work seamlessly.
i have tried it and it works great (i haven’t tried it with green peas tho, so i’m not sure how it would be different
I think frequently about how ambitious you are in the kitchen, how you manage in a small space(apparently), and how on earth you do it with two small children. And you remain so chipper! I feel like a slug in comparison, but you constantly inspire! Thank you.
This sounds wonderful. I do make split pea soup and usually dice cold-smoked salmon instead of ham. But this recipe sounds wonderful. The last time I bought split peas there were no green ones left on the shelf and I bought yellow instead. What is the difference and are they interchangeable?
They should be. I think yellow are slightly less sweet.
Thanks for including the InstantPot version. Can’t wait to try the soup and my new InstantPot!
Nice one :)
You are definitely not Dutch as over here lots of people do rejoice when it’s time for ‘snert’ or erwtensoep as the official title goes. I agree it’s still not haute cuisine, but to be fair, none of the Dutch staples are ;)
We eat it with dark Frisian rye bread, katenspek (smoked and cooked streaky bacon) and rookworst (smoked sausage) and it’s one of our national prides!
This is a very interesting version, especially being vegetarian. I’ll put it on my ‘to-try’ list!
My mom always made this soup with the addition of small bits of hot dogs!! (We’re talking years!! ago. She always sautéed the vegetables then added the peas and ham hock with seasonings which include thyme, savory, tarragon,and parley. She always used water but I have found it better with chicken and vegetable stock combined. Now the grown up grandchildren are making this!!😋
I agree! I always use either Swanson’s chicken broth or my own homemade chicken, turkey, or smoked turkey stock when I make any type of bean or pea soup. Smoked turkey stock is particularly good in thick bean soups.
My mom did the same and added sliced hot dogs. I can still see the weird round hot disks on the surface of the thick soup . It reminded me of those 1950/60s cook books with their unnatural color photos .Our family eat is up and loved it :)
I added some smoked paprika for a little hint of bacon-y smokiness while maintaining the vegetarian aspect. Delicious!
Ooh! Good idea Carol. Smoked paprika makes everything taste better!
I’m going to try adding smoked paprika.
I also forgot to mention in mom’s recipe when serving she would drizzle some sherry!! That’s the Irish for you!!
I very much agree with you!
I second this too. I make a vegetarian split pea soup and I think one of the key ingredients is the smoked paprika
I add 1/2 tsp smoked paprika and 1/4 tsp of liquid smoke. It’s very delicious and completely vegetarian.
Split pea soup is a favorite in my household. Instead of ham, we use a smoked turkey leg. It adds a more nuanced broth flavor and doesn’t have the greasiness of ham hocks. I’ll be trying this one for sure though, because I can’t always get the turkey legs and have vegetarian friends who I like to cook for. Love the topping options to class it up a bit!
We love split pea soup! I’m told my husband’s grandmother’s traditional recipe also used smoked turkey legs in place of ham. I am so excited to try the leeks and in the instantpot nonetheless, be still my heart. Thanks Deb :)
I use smoked turkey legs sometimes as well. Although since the ones we buy around here are Fred Flintstone Pterodactyl size, the two of us dine off of a couple of them for one dinner, & then I remove the rest of the meat to add to a soup during the final cooking & use the drumstick bones in soup at the start or use them to make a separate smoked-turkey stock.
For all the anti-pork people out there, add a half bag of the ’15 bean soup’ medley to the pot. I also add three heaping teaspoons of black pepper.
How does adding half a bag of “15-Bean Soup Medley” compensate for the missing pork? Unless you also add in the ham flavoring pack that comes with it (which does include ham essence in it), all you’re adding are plain old beans. I do love that medley, & use it to make soup often, but those beans aren’t flavored unless you also use the packet.
I use the beans to add body and protein to the soup. There is no replacing the salty pork-i-ness of a dish, but this is my best substitute so far. Open to other ideas for ham replacements in soups.
A style suggestion (from Perla Meyers, I think):
Celery comes in either bunches or ribs. Stalk is ambiguous. Here, I think you mean a rib, but with 2 quarts broth and a pound of peas, that seems too little. A whole bunch of celery seems too much. Which?
I meant a rib, but you can use two. (Now I’m trying to remember in which recipe that I called for ribs that I got a few “what are ribs?” comments. Ditto with pomegranate arils… ) But right is right, now fixed.
Hmmmm the photo of the celery bunch made me think that it was the whole thing, but I looked at my bunch and thought “Surely not” so I used about 4 or 5 ribs. Still tasty! But good to know I can make it less celery-y and lose nothing :)
On the salsa verde front, 1) it freezes pretty well, with or without the anchovy, and 2) if you have a stick blender, you can make it with the parsley stems. Just cut off the woody bottom bit, and throw in the rest. I’ve been discovering that with a stick blender (or, presumably, a reasonably powerful regular blender) many herb stems make tasty sauces. I also like a dash of sherry vinegar in mine…
With the Northeast in freezing temperatures last week, pea soup was in order. I don’t use ham, sometimes flanken or short ribs, lots of onion, leek, carrots, and celery. Thyme is essential as well as salt and pepper. After it was cooked I used my immersion blender, then added 1/4 c pearl barley and let it cook 1/2 hour more, stirring occasionally so as not to burn on the bottom of the pot. Stick to your ribs good. I do soak my dried peas: add 2 or 3 qts boiling water, cover and let sit, covered, 1 hour. Lunch, dinner, maybe even breakfast. Deb, you’re welcome to come over anytime for a steaming bowl. If I had the where with all, I’d package it and send it to all our troops where ever they are stationed.
I read this AS I WAS EATING split pea soup! I use the gourmet version that I probably got from epicurious. I will try some of these tweaks next time. The most important part is to add a teaspoon of sherry to your bowl right before you eat it! Makes it sing!
I too have my own favorite version of Green Split-Pea Soup, but have never thought to add dry sherry to it, even though I consider a goodly amount of dry sherry mandatory for Black Bean Soup. Will have to give it a try the next time Green Split-Pea is on the menu!
I’m going to try this but I’m going to add a smoked turkey wing I have sitting in my freezer, begging to come out.
I live in L.A. and when I woke up on Monday it was raining, hallelujah. I hopped into my car and drove to the market to buy split peas. I also picked up some barley and a ham shank. My recipe is similar to yours with the addition of barley, parsnip and I use onion as well as leeks. I just chop all the vegetables quickly in the food processor and go from there. It was a wonderful meal and I have enough in my freezer for several more meals if we should by chance get some cool weather or rain.
Yup – one of things I LOVE about homemade soup is that it freezes so well. Since it’s just my husband & me, one batch of soup yields anywhere from 4-6 servings. If I’m making a soup that includes milk or cream in it, I just add the cream to the servings we’re going to enjoy at the time & then freeze just the “base”. And since all soups will tend to thicken in the freezer, I always have cartons of chicken broth on hand to thin them out a bit to a better consistency.
Split pea soup has always been one of my favorite comfort foods! Several years ago, the natural foods co-op where I worked served a vegetarian split pea soup they called the Popeye, Olive Oyl, and Sweet Pea soup. It contained split peas, spinach and olive oil (along with the carrots, onions, and celery), and was one of the first soups to sell out when it was offered. This version sounds lovely, and I will pin it, and make it! Thank you.
I’m an amazing rare unicorn person! I adore split pea soup and rarely get it because I’m a vegetarian. I will be making this tonight!
How do you like your InstantPot? I have a crockpot that I only occasionally use, and I don’t really get the hype. I’m worried that the InstantPot would be a similar disappointment after hearing people rave about both. Do you think it’s worth the real estate an extra appliance takes up in your tiny kitchen?
Also, please correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like you get the same results as in a slow cooker, it just cooks fast rather than slow?
I think of them on the same continuum with different speeds. Both I think are excellent at beans and stocks and long braises; both are plugged in so you can put stuff in them and walk away (unlike a gas flame on a stove). The slow-cooker requires you to think about what you’d like for dinner, for example, either the night before or that morning before you go off to work by slowing things down. The InstantPot/electric pressure cookers allow you to do it when you get home with little to no advanced planning by speeding things up. (The IP also makes yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, and works as a rice-cooker, so it’s got a few other tricks up its sleeve but I find at least rice and eggs faster on the stove.) I think a lot of the magic that people speak of when they talk about the IP is less about how well it cooks everything (although it does just fine, especially if texture isn’t the goal) and more about the ease of use, that we can come home after a long day and throw some stuff in it and *walk away* — change your clothes, help your kid with their homework, pour a glass of wine, heh — and when it dings 15 to 30 minutes later, it holds your dinner cooked and warm almost indefinitely. I work from home, often in the kitchen, so it doesn’t do as much for me as it does for others, but I’ve definitely thrown a few things in there (chicken breasts, an onion, garlic, seasoning) for 7 minutes (I think) on a day I didn’t feel like cooking and was pleased it made it, in this case, taco filling almost comically easy and hands-off. Whew, that’s a few thoughts! Hope it helps.
I grew up English and pea soup is an important part of that and we always use/d a smoked bacon hock from which the luscious bacony pork was removed and replaced into the soup. If it was a particularly meaty hock some was also kept for later to be ham. This seasoning is wonderful and the soup settles down inside you and sustains through snowy winter days. A side of fried bread goes well,
Love split pea/pea soup!
Being Canadian it’s something I grew up with as it’s been something my adult children with adult children of their own grew up with. Mine’s somewhat similar to yours, the leeks, carrots, celery and the fresh thyme being a must, although I also add a few good pinches of summer savory that a local shop brings in from Nova Scotia.
I use a combination of dried whole yellow peas, ( cleaned and soaked overnight ) yellow split peas and green split peas as the combination of the three truly does makes a lovely soup.
I don’t often have a leftover ham bone nowadays as there’s only the two of us, so when the urge strikes to make a big pot of pea soup to eat on a cold chilly day and freeze for later, I’ll pick up a small piece of salt pork, a smoked pork jowl ( like it better than smoked hock ) and a nice size ham steak from a local shop as my family likes pea soup with diced ham.
Myself I’d be fine with the flavour from the hock alone and forgo the diced ham addition but family preference always comes first!
Forgot to add thanks for the info on making the soup in an Instant pot. I now have one but so far have been terrified to use the darn thing!
Too many memories of dear Mother’s hissing and exploding pressure cooker I think.
Somewhat ditto. While my mother never owned or used a pressure cooker, my Instant Pot is still in its shipping box. I’m not sure if it’s the pressure-cooking part of it that has me a bit shy, or all the reports I’ve read about the tiny little valves & stuff being incredibly difficult to clean afterwards.
Go for it, Joycelyn and Bonnie. I’m terrified of new anything and if not for my husband walking me through the initial test-use, three months ago, my Instant Pot would probably still be in the box too. I feel comfortable with it now, and I use it several times a week. (And I don’t wash the fiddly lid parts…. will I come to regret this?)
I use a split pea soup recipe from Feeding the Whole Family that includes dill and half a cup of frozen peas added in the last few minutes. I love how springy it makes a winter staple!
I like dill with peas much, much more than mint. In fact, apart from desserts & some cocktails, I don’t really like to use mint much in cooking. Find dill much more fresh-tasting & accommodating.
Is this healthy, low in fat?
I think the ingredients list answers that question for you – lol!!
Making this tonight. Thanks for giving InstantPot instructions. Went out to my yard to get thyme and realized it was buried in snow!
So mine is buried in snow and I … rinsed it off and it was still green (ish) and we’ve been using it anyway. Not sure if one should, but we’re still here at all.
Well, talk about bad timing…I made split pea soup yesterday, and though it was good, this looks better! Lovely leeks would make a difference! Your children are so much fun to watch grow up! Adorable!
It was a hit in my house. My teens at first did a little eye rolling-but they tried it and yes even had seconds. Loved that it was tasty-but had a short list of ingredients, most of which I already had. Next time-based on my kids feedback-I will add less split peas-they wanted it to be “brothier” Thanks for a great recipe!
I like pea soup but it’s take too much time to cook. So, I like to cook it with pressure cooker because it save time.
Split pea soup is a dutch winter staple with added celeriac instead of potatoes. Very good for freezing temperatures.
You could invite me anytime as I could eat pea soup three days in a row and be quite happy.
I made this last night and really like the swap of leeks for onions. Really really good soup. I didn’t have sour cream and was too lazy to do the delicious-sounding parsley topping, but I topped it with some plain yogurt, which was delicious. While I don’t have an Instant Pot, I have an old-school stove-top pressure cooker that I used. I found that 15 minutes at full pressure plus 5 of natural pressure release was not quite enough (peas were still a bit tough), but just simmered on the stove for a bit after releasing pressure. I’m not sure if the Instant Pot is going to have different timing than a traditional pressure cooker, but it all worked.
From what I’ve read, it takes a little longer to cook in the Instant Pot because it doesn’t get to quite as high pressure as a stovetop pressure cooker gets to. To give an idea of the difference: you might cook legumes for, say, 12 minutes in a stovetop PC and 15 minutes in the IP.
My mom used to make this with yellow split peas, rebranded it as Sunshine soup and…. we LOVED it. We hated split pea soup though. Clever mom. As an adult, I love all split pea soups and look forward to trying.
How would you describe the flavor/texture difference, if any, between green & yellow split peas? I’ve never had the yellow type before, but do have a bag of them in my pantry.
I made split pea soup with yellow peas last week, supermarket shelves were bare of the green one due to the impending snow storm. Yellow peas were fine, nice color couldn’t really tell the difference in taste.
So good! I used the garlic base Better Than Bullion instead of broth, and a boatload more carrots and celery. My housemates had used up all the bay leaves (those big poops), but with just the thyme, salt, and pepper, it was sooooo good. I blended it to creaminess, too, and made epic croûtons. Thank you for an awesome, easy, simple recipe, Deb.
I think this breed of unicorn is not So rare! I used to work at a vegetarian deli, and our split pea soup would always sell out.
Our recipe was very similar to this, except we used onions and added smoked paprika along with the thyme and bay leaves (& a little soy sauce for umami 😉). Still in my rotation 25 years later!
I agree with Kirsten – pea soup unicorns must not be so rare. 40 years ago I worked in a family restaurant where Tuesday’s soup of the day was split pea. We had people who came on Tuesday’s specifically for the soup. Of course, back then lots of our customers remembered WWII rationing and even the great depression, so mostly they weren’t picky eaters who would be put off just by the color!
Love that you included leeks and gilded the lily with that herb sauce. I recently made split pea soup in my IP, and I’ve gotta say, a little paprika in there added a touch of smokiness.
Made this last night and looking forward to leftovers later today. Really delicious and healthy — by my calculations it’s about 190 cals per serving (dividing recipe by 6 servings, without croutons or sour cream). Perfect for an easy weeknight meal — few ingredients, simple assembly. Thank you!
This was a delicious and healthy soup that i’ll definitely make again. I made some changes based on what I had and what seemed like it would taste good, so I wanted to share:
1. For some reason Whole Foods was out of leeks, so I used 1.5 onions instead.
2. I had some ham on hand so I chopped it up and added it with the garlic.
3. I had whole greek yogurt instead of sour cream. I mixed it directly into my herb sauce (I used dill and parsley) and it was a delicious addition to the soup.
4. I added the following to give it more flavor: 2 extra celery stalks b/c I love celery. Roughly 1/2 tsp of cumin and 1 tbs of paprika based on previous commenters’ suggestions.
5. I used an instant pot and while the cooking time was perfect, mine splattered a lot when I opened the vent. This was likely my fault for adding some extra celery and potentially a bit more than a lb of peas (I didn’t weigh them).
What a fabulous site you have developed. Such a great resource. As a small time blogger I can learn a lot from you. Cheers from Carole’s Chatter
I LOVE split pea soup and was actually thinking about making it so now I can try your recipe. I grew up eating it out of a can, LOL! As an adult I started making my own (without ham) and discovered it was even more delicious. I make it two or three times during the cold weather months.
I love split pea soup! Leeks are a great idea and I can’t wait to try your recipe–my usual is Deborah Madison’s. I really love sprinkling smoked paprika over soups typically made with ham hocks and serving with Gruyere or smoked cheddar toast.
Can you use dried thyme and if so how much?
For all of my seasonings, all are dried except for parsley. I hate to say this but after years of making this soup I just put the dried herbs in the palm of my hand, rub them to release the oils. Taste as you go. I hope this helps 🤔
I’d use a teaspoon.
I made this yesterday and it’s full of yummy smoky shredded bits of ham hock meat. I use a masher and just squish a few times to get that extra thickness. I also use the traditional celery/onion/carrot. No leeks.
Great idea to use potato masher – thanks!
This was a TOTAL game changer. I’ve made vegetarian split pea recipes before since we don’t eat meat but this recipe took the flavor to a whole new level! I never would have thought to put leeks in it either but SO tasty! Thank you for this recipe! Def one of my new go-to’s :)
Thank you so much for sharing a vegetarian pea soup! As a vegetarian I am always thrilled to see more naturally meat-free recipes and I’m especially a fan of pea soup. Excited to try this. Thanks Deb!
Just made this tonight! Followed the recipe exactly, except I omitted the optional thyme (because I didn’t have any in the pantry.) So delicious. Wonderful flavor. Simple, classic, filling and warm on a cold winter night. Even my non-veggie loving husband raved about it. I have other recipes for split pea soup, that call for all kinds of additional spices (cumin, curry, etc.) but this one is my new fave. This will definitely go into the rotation. Thank you!
The other day I was thinking “I haven’t made split pea soup in ages-I should make some. About 20 minutes later up popped your recipe! Made it-loved it! Thanks for reading my mind Deb! The leeks really elevate it. My husband was gazing longingly at it so I had to let him have a bowlful before I finished putting all of it through the blender.
I appreciate the many flavorful veggie options you present us. Thank you!
I didn’t have thyme. This was really good and tasted just like my Oma’s! Thanks for another easy recipe.
I have recently become an Ornish Reversal Diet follower as part of heart rehab. We are not supposed to add any oils when we cook. any suggestions to replace olive oil?
Skip it and simply simmer the vegetables instead.
Delicious. The gremolata really makes it!
I once had a friend finish a soup offering by zapping prosciutto in the microwave and crumbling it over the bowls…it might be considered strange but absolutely worked…and would work here.
I have been looking for my go to split pea soup and this is the one! I made without the ham but cooked up some ham and bacon for garnish.
I found the soup a little thick so I added another few cups of broth. I didn’t purée the soup as I really like the chunkier texture.
Saw the Instagram post, then came to your website, then immediately made this in my instant pot. (It’s cooking right now even though it’s 3:30 in the afternoon…afternoon snack soup!)
I made this yesterday and I have to admit to being skeptical about a meatless pea soup. I should not have been. Amazing and easy. I added a bag of frozen peas and a grated apple that were mentioned in two comments. Fantastic. Thanks for another great recipe.
I received an Instant Pot for a gift, and have been reading the user manual, a little at a time. On the page titled ‘Please Read all instructions, #8 mentions several foods that should not be cooked in a pressure cooker because they can clog the pressure release device. Split peas was one of these foods. Have you seen any problems with this device, when cooking the pea soup?
I’ve made split pea soup in my IP many times with no problem at all.
Wanted to say this soup was amazing!! Perfect, yummy and filling. Thank you.
Thank you for posting this! I’ve been busy all week with rehearsals, but today is a snow day (okay, an ice/sleet day, it’s 25 degrees in Houston and we are helpless) and my grocery store next door is still open so I’m heading out to get the ingredients!
I love split pea soup. I just finished my latest batch. My mom used to put cut up kosher hot dogs in it for that smoky taste. She also used barley instead of potatoes which I do as well. I sometimes like to top mine with a spoonful of Greek yogurt or sour cream.
OKAY LISTEN I did the recipe exactly as directed, and then also tossed in some frozen peas and a touch of corn as commenters suggested, and did the half blend/half whole touch too. Topped with a parsley-cilantro gremolage (which isn’t as saucy as your pictures, I’m guessing I should have done more olive oil) and a sour cream dollop and some toast…. man! It smells delicious when it’s cooking , beyond the chopping the veg it’s so hands-off, and this is so fresh and filling. thank you for sharing — I am a convery!
To help convince our children that this soup was palatable, we ALWAYS used the Goya yellow split peas, and kept the carrots a good size for a kid to taste. Result: they adored split pea soup with or without ham.
Love love your new book, Deb!
I’ve always felt slightly ambivalent about split pea soup, but this version is delightful! Especially those crunchy little bacon nuggets on top of the soup rather than in it. I made it last night for dinner, and in a moment of inspiration (laziness?) topped it with jalapeño pretzel bites instead of croutons, and it was such a surprisingly pleasant contribution!
I’d been looking for a vegetarian split pea soup! Made it. Love it. Kids ate it, too! Used stovetop method since I did a double batch and had the time, but next time might use my Instant Pot – thanks for including those instructions! Didn’t do the toppings and was delicious even without.
My husband is one of those rare and very lovely unicorn type of people and would happily eat split pea soup everyday! Thanks for this wonderful recipe!
I made this yesterday. It is the best split pea soup I have ever eaten. Deb does it again!
This turned out perfect, I did it in the instapot exactly per instructions. Didn’t change anything and absolutely loved it. Really delicious vegetarian version.
Made this with water because I was out of broth and it was still so flavorful! Is it weird that I think it tastes good cold?
This was really delicious, and I’m so glad it makes a lot because now I can have it for lunch every day this week. I tope it with the herb sauce, sour cream and some vegan “bacon” flavoured chickpeas that I made yesterday. So good. Thanks for a wonderful recipe!
Oh, I’ve made it twice! My daughter, a picky eater, requested it, yay! My grocery store surprisingly didn’t have green peas, but did have a ‘three pea combo’, green, yellow and red lentils, and it was great. The leeks really made it. Thanks.
The most delicious, complex, subtle split pea soup ever. Amazing. Thank you.
I serve mine with a dash of sherry or sherry vinegar and buttery croutons.
This is a wonderful soup! And (although this is heresy), it is better than my mother’s!!! I used dried thyme, forgot the bay leaf ;~( Served with sour cream, grated Parmesan cheese, crunchy crushed bacon pieces – and my I-really-don’t-like-soup hubby added it to the soup rotation!!! Win for everyone!!! Thank you, Deb!!!
I love good split pea soup, but i like it pretty smooth. I’d never made it before.
It took about 3 hours – to get consistency I felt OK with. After an hour I drained off much of the liquid & periodically added more boiled water to the pea mixture.
At the end I blended the liquid and the peas.
Given my pantry, I had to sub some. I was out of pepper (shockingly), so added a few dried Portugal hot fermented flakes.
Didn’t have any celery. Subbed onion for half the leeks. Subbed water & 1 tsp. soy sauce for 1/4 of the stock, and, as mentioned above, kept adding more boiled water as needed.
Came out terrific! (taste and texture) – Thanks so much…
OMG you didn’t need to go thru all that😡. Sautéed veg(leeks, celery , carrot) and split peas and stock along with herbs. I use parsley thyme tarragon savory and the best part a ham bone or hame hock. Simmer for about 2 hrs the peas should be soft. Remove bone. Use a immersion blender to make it smooth. I’ve been making my mother’s recipe for 20 yrs. She used to make it in a pressure cooker which I have not tried. Really this has to be one of the easiest soups ever❤️ Hope this helps.
Some of the very best recipes I’ve ever made – soups included – have come out of either not having or not liking a particular ingredient & subbing in something else. I consider that a large part of what makes cooking so interesting & enjoyable.
and, a correction, I’d said I blended the liquid and the peas,
but seeing as I don’t have a blender what I did was mix the
liquid and peas together.
I must have gotten an old bag of peas :( This simmered for an extra hour and they’re still not quite as soft as I’d like. The flavor is delicious though and my split-pea-soup-loving husband enthusiastically ate a bowl as his dessert (I made this after dinner tonight so we could have for a quick and easy lunch tomorrow) despite the slightly too-firm texture. Hoping this might improve when I reheat the leftovers? Will make again but will try to make sure I have fresher peas! Also the smoked paprika idea from a few other commenters is on point.
I had the same experience! Cooked for 4 hours before everything softened. Bought my dried split peas at Whole Foods, but must have been an old bag?
I think that it’s always hit or miss when you buy dried peas/beans. Regardless of whether you buy bags or from the bulk bin & regardless of the store/source, sometimes the beans/peas cook up like they should; sometimes it seems to take an eternity.
This was my first foray into the world of Instant Pots. Sadly, I found this recipe pretty bland, even with the addition of 1 TBSP smoked paprika.
Disclaimer: I have never loved pea soup. I tried this because Deb’s taste is always spot on and I thought maybe this would be the one. However, this was a rare Deb miss for me. :( We thought the garlic flavor was way too strong and overpowered the peas. And in the end I had the same feeling I’ve had about all other pea soups, which is that it was pretty bland. Bummer. Off to make Deb’s Valentine heart linzer cookies instead!
I have never heard of blending pea soup…Not for me. I also require lots of carrots. Usually I use one good sized onion, but if I can find leeks, I’ll give that a try – and maybe four or five carrots. I may try the whole cumin seed that someone mentioned, but it will depend on how I feel a the moment of soup making. Love me a good soup! The toppings sound interesting. I like the color of split pea soup, maybe it works better with more bright orange carrot disks floating in it.
This looks like a great soup, and I am looking forward to making it. One typo, I think… you say to “bring the ingredients to a simmer, then lower to a simmer.” I think you probably meant boil?
Laughing because when you wrote quarts I read cups (cooking with kids running around and slightly distracted). I was so confused and started adding more broth, saying to my husband that you never steer me wrong, but it just wasn’t enough broth. Then cracked up when I reread the recipe (after adding the second quart myself).
An excellent and easy recipe to make as I work from home in the middle of this spring Nor’Easter. The only thing I added was smoked paprika since I had no ham or meat to add to it. I used my pressure cooker. 15 minutes was spot-on and I did immediate quick release. Thanks for the inspiration today!
This soup was not nearly cooked enough after 1 hr 15 min. I would say it needs 2 hrs at least.
I attempted to make split pea soup and my soup tasted bitter. I couldn’t finish it. I blame the peas – either they were old or something. But never again split pea soup!
thank you so much for this wonderful recipe. Joyous flavors bursting in my mouth. Did it with out the pork this time, makin fuh me mum. Overall, wonderful flavuh.
Everyone loved this – better depth of flavors than other vegetarian recipes I have tried. The herb sauce was great, too. The only thing I changed was adding more carrots & celery. Thanks for the Instapot instructions, too. Very convenient given my limited time tonight.
Made this again tonight. Split pea soup is in heavy rotation every fall and winter, sometimes with chicken broth, sometimes vegetarian. Veggie broth is my favorite method, and I always add some cumin and coriander. Topped with yogurt, sour cream, pesto, cilantro, pumkin seeds…whatever we have, really, and it’s always delicious.
I love split pea soup. Usually I buy Anderson’s as have never tasted any better. I can eat it unheated right out of the can. Heated, all I need is some good bread. But, I will have to try your recipe, just so I have another reason to eat my favorite soup.
I love pea soup so much it’s weird. My husband feels the same, luckily. I use only 5 ingredients (all raw veg with the exception of olive oil) and never puree. It’s so easy and SO delicious and I can’t believe I never tried it until I was nearly 40. To think of all those years wasted.
Sounds delicious! Any chance this would work with a slow cooker? Anyone tried? :)
I love the tubes of split pea soup, (the Kedem brand is also very good) although I do doctor up the soup with sauteed onions before I add the peas and water. I use the immersion blender when it’s done, and then grate in some carrots for color and let them cook for a few minutes so the carrots soften.
However, we’re kosher, so ham hocks are out of the question and split pea soup has always been a vegetarian option for us.
what has really transformed the soup is the addition of a(kosher, of course) smoked turkey drumstick.
They’re available, vacuum packed, from most kosher butchers. I add it to cook along with the soup. When the soups done I take the meat off the bone and cut it up and add back to the soup. It’s just so delicious. I had it as an option, for Thanksgiving, and everyone, young and old, loved it..
I love thick soups and split pea is right up there among my favorites, for a cold winter’s day. I make the basic soup with mire pois and love its smooth texture after using an immersion blender. However, when it is done I add sliced and browned Hebrew National franks to it. My mother made it this way, Im sure it was because we didnt use ham. It certainly adds to the deliciousness of an already great taste.
I made this soup exactly as described tonight. I made the herb sauce with fresh parsley, lemon, garlic and hot pepper flakes. It is delicious!!
Can you put a print tab on your recipes?
There is a print icon that leads to a print template at the bottom of each recipe, where it says “DO MORE:” You can also click CTRL + P from any recipe post and it will take you to a streamlined print template. However, I agree it could be easier to find, and will be, once the next redesign is done.
Growing up on a dairy farm in the Netherlands, this was a Saturday staple, easy while we were doing chores. I hated the ham hock but loved the sausage my mother always added. A kielbasa would be the closest equivalent. Thanks for reminding me to get split peas’
Yum! Thanks for posting this. I love pea soup and have been making a vegan version from Pea Soup Andersen’s restaurant in California for years. Their recipe has been online (and vegan) for many years. I’m really looking forward to making and comparing yours to theirs!
I have found that a little smoked paprika in a ham-free split pea soup gives some of that smoky, sweetness that goes so well with peas and beans in general. I love the idea of the her sauce; sounds like a great way to give it some life.
Just made this over the weekend and it was amazing. In truth, I added a ham hock with the peas and then shredded the meat back in after it was all done because that’s how I had it as a kid. Regardless it was a great recipe – though my peas took longer to soften the time suggested. I also added a squirt of lemon at the end because I was way to lazy to make an herb sauce suggested.
Is it possible to use yellow split peas for this rather than green? Would I need to make any changes in cooking time, seasoning etc? What’s the difference between yellow and green split peas anyway?
If you are talking about true yellow split peas (& not the “yellow split pea” that’s really a type of chickpea), then you can definitely use them exactly the same as green split peas. I’ve never tried them, but some folks say they are slightly sweeter & that they prefer them to the green. In fact, there are folks who are almost rabid about which one makes the better split-pea soup – lol!
I made this soup yesterday. Since we’re only two in the family now, I made 1/2 the recipe. It turned out great except: after more than 60 min. the peas were still not as soft as I like. My husband liked the chewiness, but I will cook mine more when I eat it again tomorrow. Otherwise, the recipe was great tasting. On a side note: who remembers that great George and Martha book where poor George suffers with Martha’s pea soup? He hates it but doesn’t want to hurt her feelings. He ends up pouring it in his shoe! In my house, we don’t have to do that: we love pea soup!
So healthful, so very appealing, at least for the likes of me! I’d have you over for supper in a heartbeat. Thanks for your great blog!
I really love having ham in my split pea soup. A lot of ham. What should I add more of to keep the taste the same as this recipe? More broth?
We all really love this soup! Split pea soup = comfort food from my childhood, but I couldn’t find a vegetarian one that I liked (without my mom’s ham). The butter and leeks combine to create a rich and delicious base, and I don’t miss the ham! I always use fresh thyme and sprinkle some smoked paprika. Herb sauce or cheese as time permits.
I made this tonight, but the current state of my pantry necessitated a couple of substitutes (both of which worked well for me): 1) onion instead of leek, and 2) a tbsp of white miso mixed in with the water since I’m out of veg broth/stock. It was delicious. I made a version of Alison Roman’s fresh toasted breadcrumbs and the herb sauce listed above the recipe to put on top. Highly recommend!
@CAIT: Miso sounds like a great addition! I’m stealing your idea for next time ;)
I like adding 1/2 to 3/4 cup of pearled barley with the peas. It gives the soup a nice chewy texture. And barley is yummy.
Found this tonight, though I have been stalking you for a couple months now..that cabbage, walnut situation as made you sort of a demi-god for my family. Fucking brilliant. I made this soup tonight but braised a smoked ham hoc in vinegar, white wine, red pepper flake and some veggies before adding the shredded pieces back in to spread it’s smoke and funk about the split open peas…dude. Consider yourself girl crushed right about now. So happy I found your site.
Would basil pesto (homemade and frozen) work well as a substitute for the fresh herb sauce? You do not mention basil as an option so I am wondering if the flavors might not go well together. Thank you for the advice.
They’re not my favorite flavors together, but I do think it could work here.
Made split pea soup last night. My husband loves it! I can take it or leave it. Have found that a generous amount of smoked Spanish paprika really helps the flavor.
This was a really yummy soup. I sprinkled some lemon juice into the soup when it was done and I served it with small pieces of bacon. I will add some dill and maybe some chili flakes to tomorrow’s leftovers :)
I have beautiful dried peas (whole) that I’d like to use for this recipe. Would it work? How should I adapt the cooking process? Thank you!
I need to try this green herb sauce. i make my pea soup with sweet potatoes cooked with the carrots, celery, onions, and dried marjoram and cumin. i think the trio elevate it. sometimes, i make little dumplings and drop them in the soup, too.
Can you make this if you don’t have an insta pot? Directions on how to do so would be much appreciated!
There are InstantPot or electric pressure cooker directions — second paragraph of the recipe.
I do NOT have an instapot. I am looking for directions on how to cook the recipe in a cast iron dutch oven. Thanks for the help!
Maybe redo the photo with nothing from Goya?
This recipe is from 2018, long before Goya decided to come out as supporting an unpopular president. I’ve used Goya products for decades because their beans and peas are excellent. Like many of us, I’ll now shop for a new brand. However, were I to replace every photo on this site that had a Goya product in it, it would take me months and would hold up publishing new recipes. I’d rather focus my energies on the 40% of this country who is happy to vote for him in a few weeks; this worries me far more.
Second time I’ve made this and it’s a hit! My new favorite split pea soup recipe!
THREE LEEKS EQUALS HOW MANY CUPS?
Parsnip is a delicious addition to split pea soup – either instead of part of the carrot, or in addition.
I love the ease and the staying power of the herb sauce. I’m printing it out right now. Everything else that makes this soup unique and tasty, I’d have to alter because my husband can’t tolerate large amounts of leeks or garlic (or onions or shallots or dairy or tomatoes, and on and on and on. Even the split peas have to be consumed by him in moderation.) The requirement for vegetable broth is a problem, too. The canned stuff is so nasty but I don’t have the energy to make homemade–or any place to keep it. I know professional cooks say homemade makes all the difference, and I believe you, but I just can’t do it. I suspect I’m not alone in this. I don’t mean any of this as criticism. I love reading your blog, even if I can’t make most of your recipes as written. Oh, and one more thing: smoked turkey chunks make a good substitute for folks who don’t eat pork.
Wendelah, I save my vegetable scraps and peels (but not from broccoli and the like, too bitter) in a bag in the freezer and when I have about 2 cups of it I make a quart of veg broth. I do it in an Instant Pot but you could do it in a pan on the stove. It is easy and allows me to have good-quality, low-sodium veg broth on hand. I add a couple of cloves of garlic, which is really the only work involved, plus some powdered spices: onion, turmeric, dried parsley, a little bit of salt & pepper. If you have room for a quart jar in your fridge, and 5-10 minutes to get this set up, maybe it would be do-able for you. You’ll need a fine-mesh strainer, and a funnel will help.
Just want to add my two cents about Pea Soup! Yes I am the child who requested it for her birthday supper much to the dismay of all siblings even though it meant ham dinner preceded my day. Now I make a vegetarian version and use smoked paprika to add a smoky flavor. I do like to add a sweet potato to the pot and some croutons are a plus. I once was told that the yellow version is how it is done in Canada. I couldn’t taste the difference. That for bringing glory to a great winter meal
Excellent! Just what we needed. The leeks are fab.
A bit of ground cloves, some dill and ginger added flavor. No puree here ;-)
Looks great! Can I make extra herb sauce and freeze some?
Yes. It might look discolored at the surface but just stir and all will be fine.
Hi. Made it Covid-19 style with what I had in the house. YUM YUM YUM
Made this in the Instant pot, and simmered for ten minutes on sauté after cooking to reduce the extra water. GREAT texture!
I made this with yellow split peas because I couldn’t find green ones where I live. It’s tastes amazing! Thanks!
we çan’t find dried peas where we live. would frozen or preserved peas work here? thanks for your help!
They’re a different ingredient. Can you find split yellow peas? You should be able to find both in an Indian grocery store, if you have access to one.
Don’t be dissuaded by the opening statement – I think this recipe DOES win the winter soup olympics. I love split pea soup, but I’ve never been blown away by it. Until now. This soup is spectacular. SPEC. TAC. U. LAR. I am not kidding.
I’m not much for using recipes, but when I want a recipe, I usually turn to Smitten Kitchen. I’ve never been disappointed by a Smitten Kitchen recipe, and this one is far and away one of the best recipes I’ve ever used. It’s tested, it’s straightforward, and it’ll be easy to make from memory time and time again.
I rarely use a recipe exactly as it’s written, but this one is so perfectly simple that I didn’t disagree with any of it (lol). I did make one noteworthy modification: I added half a fuji apple, diced, to the mirepoix. I also used some local mushroom seasoned salt instead of all plain salt (though I did use some plain salt as well), and white pepper instead of black pepper.
I didn’t manage to make the sauce this time, even though I bought the ingredients, so maybe I’ll make that to have with the leftovers. The soup was so delicious on its own, I’m glad I tried it in its pure form first. I imagine the sauce only makes it more spectacular, though. Did I use that word already?
This soup is on heavy rotation in my household right now, we’ve been making it weekly. So good and warm and comforting, and the gremolata is worth the extra effort even when I don’t feel like it. I started adding a parmesan rind to it during the simmering stage if I have one around, and that really puts it over the top for me. Also I’ll stir in some chickpeas from your really great pot of chickpeas recipe if I have those around (which I usually do) and those go great with this soup. Thank you very much for another dinner on repeat!
I have all the ingredients except for the leeks. :( How many chopped onions (or cup equivalent) can I use – would you guess – in place of the leeks? Thank you!!
I have all the ingredients except for the leeks. :( How many chopped onions (or cup equivalent) can I use – would you guess – in place of the leeks? Thank you!!
You should try making this with yellow spit peas ( soaked overnight) with a ham hock simmered in the soup. Also dry winter savoury brings out the flavour of the peas beautifully.
I love split pea soup for a winter meal! But what’s wrong with my split peas? I just cooked a pot of them yesterday, and after two + hours of cooking, the peas are still inedibly hard, while the chopped carrots and potatoes in the soup are cooked through. It’s a standard brand of dried peas (which I won’t name). The bag says they cook in 30 mins., but not so! This is not the first time I’ve experienced this. What’s up? Chef advice, please?
Have you checked the expiration date? This can sometimes happen with old peas.
Probably just old or have been on the grocery shelf for a long time. :(
Pea soup is my absolute favorite thing to make in my crockpot. They were made for each other, and it doesn’t seem to take as long as some of the times posted for other methods. What I like best is that the peas and any vegetables are like velvet by the end. I dont like the texture of undercooked split peas.
I have made this with and without meat and it is still good. My favorite way is to put a 4 or 5 inch piece of a good quality hamsteak at the bottom. It infuses the whole soup with its flavor, and you can eventually cut it up into smaller pieces throughout the soup or give it to the meateaters. I always put plenty of celery and onions and lots and lots of carrot coins. Just dropped in at beginnng like everything else. Have never thought to try broth. Besides salt, it really doesnt need anything else. And theres dinner. Streamlined to the barest essentials that taste good. Because I like reading about cooking more than actually doing it! When i get really lazy, Ive resorted to celery seed and onion powder. ( not as satisfying). But I am definitely eager to try some of the toppings mentioned, for fun and variety.
Hey, I’m going to be that annoying fan…I don’t have green split peas in the house…but I do have yellow ones! Can I use the yellow with good results? Thanks!
I’d think so. The only thing that might need adjusting is the cooking time.
Just checking: This is fresh thyme, right?
Can you use dried? How much?
Also, your gremolata recipe would be much appreciated!
I add 1-2 tsps marjoram (dried) instead of thyme…..from Betty Crocker Cookbook…