My grandmother was a wonderful cook and soup was one of her specialties. I remember going over to her apartment and smelling her delicious soup from the far end of the hallway.
Unfortunately we lost most of my nanna’s recipes when she passed away, but over the years I’ve done my best to replicate them, tinkering here and there to make them perfect. And if I say so myself, my Split Pea & Ham soup is pretty darn close. I especially love how it uses a slow cooker, and it’s filled with so many vegetables and peas you just can’t go wrong! Finally, if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, I’ve got you covered with a delicious, meatless version.
And if you’re still a canned soup afficiando, check out my posts on canned chicken noodle soup and condensed cream of mushroom soup. I use to run a major processed food soup business, so I know what’s really in these soups.
Ready, set, go! Get out your slow cooker, chopping board, and knife. You’re only 20 minutes of prep time away from a wonderful pot of soup that can nourish and warm you some cold winter night. Enjoy!
- 10 cups water or vegetable stock
- 1 hambone (see vegan option below)
- 1 pound split peas, rinsed and sorted (2 cups)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 cup carrots, chopped
- 2 cups celery, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon thyme
- ½ teaspoon rosemary
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups diced ham, reserved
- Sour Cream
- Toasted Sliced Almonds
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Chopped Parsley or Basil
- Rinse and sort dried split peas, making sure to remove any debris or pebbles. Place in 6-quart slow cooker.
- Add water/stock, hambone, carrots, celery, bay leaves, garlic, thyme, rosemary, pepper, and salt.
- Cook for 6-8 hours on low heat. Peas should be very tender and vegetables very soft.
- Remove the bay leaf and transfer the soup in batches to a blender and puree.
- After all the soup has been pureed, add the reserved, diced ham.
- Season and garnish to taste. Serve.
Vegan/Vegetarian option: Make sure to use vegetable stock instead of water and omit the hambone. Before adding the vegetables to the slow-cooker, sauté them over medium low heat and add in 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika. Cook them until soft and transfer to slow-cooker.
- A programmable, 6-quart slow cooker like this one from Crock-Pot or this one from Cuisinart. I bought mine at Costco but you can also find great alternatives at Target.
- I use my Blendtec blender to puree my split pea soup, and it makes it velvety smooth. There are lots of great blender options out there, but this one is definitely my favorite!
- A great, non-slip cutting board is an invaluable kitchen asset when cutting up the vegetables for your soup. I upgraded to these Epicurean non-slip boards this summer, and I’ve been really pleased with them.
- A high quality set of cutting knives can make a huge difference, especially when you’re cooking REAL food. My local knife shop advised me to invest in the higher quality Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature brand (much higher quality than the J.A. Henckels International brand) and time has proven them right. (To make sure you know which Henckels knives are better, here’s a tip — look for the “twins” on the knives vs. the single guy sporting the trident.) While you can buy these knives online, if you’ve got a local knife/cutlery store, support them instead. I love my local cutlery store and bring my knives in every six months or so to get them maintained with a nice, sharp edge!