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Split Pea Soup Recipe - Vegetarian, Vegan or with Ham

Updated on February 29, 2008
split pea soup drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with paprika, and topped with lemon zest
split pea soup drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with paprika, and topped with lemon zest

This simple, delicious soup costs so little but makes so much! With the ease of making, the filling, smoky flavor, and the extra zing of the lemon zest, I love making this soup throughout the colder months.

For those meat eaters out there, adding ham really puts this soup over the top.

Split Pea Soup Recipe - Vegetarian or with Ham

serves at least six


  • 3 cups dried green split peas
  • 3 medium sized sweet or yellow onions
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 7 1/2 cups water
  • one 10-gram vegetarian / vegan bouillon cube *
  • optional: a few pieces of country ham, chopped up (1 to 2 cups)
  • 1 lemon
  • salt to taste
  • For topping, more extra virgin olive oil and some paprika

* I use Rapunzel vegan vegetable boullon with sea salt.

Preparation Instructions:

1). First, rinse the dried green split peas in cold water, picking through them to make sure there are no rocks or impurities. Drain them and set them aside.

2). Take the skins off of the onions and chop them up. Put them in a gallon-sized soup pot with the olive oil over medium heat, stirring frequently.

3). Once the onions have become translucent, add the water, bouillon cube (it helps to cut it up into smaller pieces first), and the split peas. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a medium simmer.

4). Cover and cook for about an hour, until the split peas are starting to break up, but many are still firm. (This is the texture we like, but feel free to experiment with longer or shorter cooking times to suit your own tastes).

5). If you are going to use ham, add it about a half an hour before the soup is done, so that the flavor has a chance to spread through the soup.

5). When the split peas are close to done, remove the zest from the lemon (this is made much easier with a zester). Cut it in fourths, ready to have the juice squeezed into the soup.

6). When the split peas are the desired texture and doneness, squeeze the lemon juice in the soup, taking care to catch any seeds with a wire-mesh strainer or equivalent. Add salt until the flavor is just right.

7). Serve in bowls with a little olive oil drizzled over the top of each one and a dusting of paprika. Top with a nice big pinch of lemon zest, and serve immediately. Enjoy!

split pea soup drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with paprika, and topped with lemon zest
split pea soup drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with paprika, and topped with lemon zest


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