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Split Pea Soup with Potatoes and Peas

Reprinted with permission from Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair (Sasquatch Books, 2008)

My daughter's second grade class had a hot lunch program where parents took turns bringing hot soup and bread to school for the children's lunch.  This soup, created by Lee Carrillo, was one of their favorites. It is fine to leave out the bone to make this a vegetarian soup.  The vinegar is added to pull minerals from the bone into the broth.

1 cup
green split peas, soaked 4-6 hours
1 tablespoon butter or extra-virgin olive oil
onion, chopped
1–2 teaspoons sea salt
1 stalk
celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
small red potatoes, cubed
1 teaspoon cumin
Black pepper, freshly ground
4 cups water or vegetable stock
1 large bay leaf
1 small smoked ham bone (optional)
2 teaspoons apple-cider vinegar

½ cup fresh or frozen peas
1 tablespoon fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill

  1. Soak peas 4-6 hours in 4 cups of water.  This will help digestibility, quicken cooking time and improve the texture of the soup.  Discard soaking water before adding.
  2. Heat fat in a pressure cooker or soup pot. Add onions and salt and sauté until onions begin to soften. Add celery, carrot, potatoes, cumin, and pepper; sauté 3-4 minutes more. Add split peas, water, and bay leaf. Add ham bone and vinegar if using.
  3. If pressure-cooking: bring up to pressure on high heat, then lower heat, and cook 40 minutes. If using soup pot: bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer 60–90 minutes.
  4. Once split peas have softened and the soup has become creamy, remove ham bone. Cut off any meat, discard skin and bone, dice meat into small pieces, and add to soup with fresh or frozen peas and dill. Check seasonings; add more salt and pepper if needed. Continue cooking a few minutes until fresh or frozen peas are tender. Soup is ready to serve. Serve this soup with Sweet Potato Corn Muffins

Preparation time:  50 minutes (pressure-cooked), 1 hour 45 minutes (soup pot)
Makes 4 servings



Shirin Salzer
I was raised with southern cooking, so pork was used as a flavoring in almost everything. I don't eat pig anymore (though I eat other meat sparingly) and I was wondering if you had a suggestion for something you could substitute. I really miss that depth of flavor in my soups. Thanks and I love the show!
March 17, 2011, 3:35 pm

Cynthia Lair
Hi Shirin, Try adding a dried chipotle chili to give the soup that smoky flavor.
March 17, 2011, 4:58 pm

Jill Taylor
I was just wondering on your take on the sodium nitrites etc that come in a ham bone. I haven't found any that don't have it. Is it small enough a dose that it isn't too big a deal (I don't buy bacon etc with any nitrites etc). Also would the vinegar draw that stuff out into the soup too or is it again an insignificant amount? Thanks and I too love the show and this recipe I have your book and this is a staple just worrying about the ham chemicals.
March 18, 2011, 4:06 pm

Cynthia Lair
Hi Jill, Below is some info from Applegate Farms. Nitrate-free ham is available. Also, I think the dose in the bone would be very insignificant. Why are nitrates and nitrites used in meat products? 1. To give cured meat such as ham, bacon, and hot dogs their pink color 2. To prevent the growth of bacteria that can lead to food-borne illnesses such as Botulism 3. To preserve products so they can have a longer shelf-life. 4. To provide the distinctive cured flavor that we're accustomed to in ham, bacon, and hot dogs. Do Applegate Farms products contain nitrates and nitrites? Applegate Farms does not add sodium nitrite or sodium nitrate to our meat products in order to cure them. Instead, we rely on the naturally occurring nitrites derived from celery juice and sea salt. Using salt to preserve meat is a technique that was discovered by the ancient Greeks as early as 850 BC! Although it wasn’t until the start of the 20th century that scientists understood the role of nitrites in the curing process. Products cured this way do retain low levels of naturally derived nitrites.
March 18, 2011, 4:55 pm

chris coiley
I'm making the soup tonight and adding some smoked salmon instead of ham to give it that smoked flavor.
March 19, 2011, 7:43 pm

Keith Lovell
I usually make my split pea with thyme but am going to try the dill (sounds interesting). I also use smoked paprika to bring in a little depth to the flavor as I don't eat meat.
November 2, 2011, 12:39 pm

Lilia VanSlambrouck
Thank you for this delicious recipe. This one is definitely going into my regular rotation because we all LOVED IT and it was so simple to make! By far the best split pea soup I've ever made! Yum.
December 29, 2014, 8:30 pm

Smoked salt made a super yummy and easy vegetarian version. Thank you!
January 15, 2016, 8:06 pm

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