Little is more comforting and deliciously sustaining than a bowl of split pea soup! With crispy bacon and a little sprinkle of homemade garlic-butter croutons, this scrumptious soup recipe warms the belly and the soul!
Split Pea Soup, a Nourishing Bowl of Coziness
Nothing says cozy-comfort like a nice big bowl of piping hot soup, am I right? Especially when that soup is hearty, filling, and full of lots of rich flavor!
My split pea soup is just that kind of tasty meal, and it's one of my most beloved soups. I often prepare it during the colder months, when my hubby and I both desperately long for that feeling of a warm “hug” on the inside that a good meal provides.
A bowl of this homemade soup is truly a nourishing bowl of coziness, one that is brimming with veggies and even a sprinkle of crispy bacon to make it a little extra scrumptious. And with a simple little addition of those homemade croutons, there's nothing quite like it to satisfy the cravings of all the soup lovers in your life!
How to Make Split Pea Soup
The beauty of dry (green) split peas is that there is no need to soak them overnight as you would most other beans.
All they really need is a little rinse to clean them, and a bit of a quick “pick-through” to make sure there isn't any debris. After that, they can be added directly into a soup recipe along with the other ingredients, and simmered gently for 45 minutes to an hour (roughly), or until they begin to break down and become tender and thickened.
When preparing split pea soup, I like to give it as much extra flavor and heartiness that I can; so I also like to very finely dice up some carrots, celery and onion to add to the mix of ingredients, along with lots of garlic and some dried marjoram.
As a tasty finisher, I sprinkle in some fresh thyme and parsley, finish with a little squeeze of lemon (a must, in my opinion!), and top each bowl with that crisp bacon and my very own rustic garlic-butter crouton for good measure.
This split pea soup actually makes for a complete meal, one full of good protein and fiber!
Here's a glance at my recipe:
- I begin by crisping my chopped bacon in the same pot I'll be cooking my soup in. When crisp, I remove the bacon and set it aside.
- Next, I add my aromatics—onion, carrot, celery—into the pot, and saute those until fragrant; I also add some salt, pepper, marjoram, and the garlic.
- Once the veggies are sauteed, I add in the green split peas, followed by the chicken stock, and simmer things together until the peas are tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour (at this point, the peas are beginning to break down).
- While the soup simmers, I prepare my homemade garlic-butter croutons (optional).
- I finish my soup by adding in some fresh herbs such as thyme and parsley, plus a little squeeze of lemon (always brightens a pea-style soup!). To serve, I ladle into bowls, and top with the croutons and the crispy bacon.
See? Easy peasy! 😉
(The full recipe is below...)
Tips & Tidbits for Split Pea Soup:
- Dried green split peas: I purchase organic green split peas from my market in a one pound container. They can often be found in the bulk section of the market (especially in the more “specialty” health food markets)—they can also be found prepackaged, near beans. Make sure to purchase green split peas for this recipe, not the more yellow/golden ones.
- No need to soak: Split peas do not require soaking, so you do not need to fuss with this extra step. Simply pick through (for small debris and stones) and rinse the split peas, and proceed with the recipe.
- Add some veggies: I like the traditional carrots, celery and onions (a mirepoix), diced finely; but you can also add or sub others such as parsnips, potatoes, or even add some greens such as spinach.
- Go the vegetarian route: To make this a vegetarian split pea soup, you can easily substitute vegetable stock in place of chicken, and of course leave out the bacon.
- Homemade croutons, or store bought: I've included a simple recipe for my favorite homemade garlic-butter croutons below, but feel free to simply use your own favorite store-bought brand, or you can even serve it with good crusty bread on the side.
- If things thicken up too much: Soups made with beans/legumes tend to thicken as they sit, especially as leftovers. The soup tends to thin out a bit as it heats up again; but if you find it a bit too thick for your liking, simply add some water or chicken stock to thin it out (once it's hot and you can see how much is needed). Make sure to taste if more salt is needed, if you use more water.
Feast your eyes on these, or just jump to the recipe:
Split Pea Soup
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 6
Nutrition Info: 772 calories (soup only)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Split Pea Soup Ingredients:
• Olive or avocado oil
• 6 slices thick-cut, apple-smoked bacon, finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 2 ribs celery, finely diced
• 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
• 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
• ½ teaspoon black pepper
• 4 large cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 1 pound green split peas, picked through and rinsed
• 6 cups warm chicken stock
• 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
• 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
• Squeeze of lemon
Garlic-Butter Croutons Ingredients (optional):
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 2 small cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• Black pepper
• ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
• 8 ounces ciabatta bread, sliced into ½” thick slices, and then cubed into small cubes
-To prepare the soup: place a medium-large or large soup pot over medium-high heat, and add in just a small drizzle of oil, about 1 tablespoon; once the oil is hot, add in the chopped bacon, and cook until golden and crispy; remove bacon with a slotted spoon, set aside, and wipe out most of the bacon grease, leaving about 1 tablespoon worth in the pot.
-Place the pot back onto medium heat, and add in the butter; once melted, add in the onion, celery, and carrot, and saute those for a couple of minutes just until they begin to become tender.
-Add in the marjoram, a pinch or two of salt, the black pepper, and the garlic, and stir to combine; cook for a moment or two until the garlic becomes aromatic.
-Add in the split peas, along with the stock, and stir to combine; bring the soup up to a rolling simmer/boil and then cover, and reduce the heat to low, simmering the soup very gently for about 45 minutes -1 hour, stirring occasionally, or until the peas have split and are tender.
-While the soup simmers, prepare your croutons (optional—can skip the next few steps if not preparing): preheat the oven to 425°, and line a baking sheet with foil.
-Melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave for a few moments, then add to it the pressed garlic cloves, a pinch of black pepper, a couple of pinches of salt, and the Italian seasoning, and mix with a fork to combine.
-Place the cubed ciabatta into a medium-size bowl, and pour the butter mixture evenly over the cubes; toss to coat, and pour the cubes out in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet, and bake for about 12-15 minutes, tossing the cubes occasionally for even crisping/browning.
-Remove from oven and allow the cubes to cool completely on the baking sheet; use immediately, or keep in a ziplock. (You can re-crisp them, if necessary, in a low-heat toaster oven for about 8-10 minutes.)
-Finish the soup by adding in the chopped parsley and the thyme, along with a squeeze of lemon juice, and check to see if any additional salt or pepper is needed.
-Ladle the soup into bowls, and garnish with some croutons (optional), and a generous sprinkle of the crispy bacon.
Cook’s Note: This recipe was originally published in 2015, and has been updated with even more love!