split pea soup : 2 versionssplit pea soup : 2 versionssplit pea soup : 2 versionssplit pea soup : 2 versionssplit pea soup : 2 versionssplit pea soup : 2 versionssplit pea soup : 2 versionssplit pea soup : 2 versions

Here’s a reinterpreted soup from my childhood days growing up in Quebec, Canada where it is still very popular and available in every restaurant but pea soup is international and existed in Ancient Rome and Greece around 500 B.C. and was even sold in the streets by vendors during that era ! Could this be the most ancient soup in the world ?

It can be vegetarian or non-vegetarian and is most often cooked with different types of salt-cured pork cuts but I’ve presented both options here, with meat and meatless, carnivorous or vegetarian.

The soup base for both versions is the same and only the garnishes change. The light version highlights the use of fresh herbs and more lemon while the other version is a meatier version with a spice-encrusted slab of salt-cured pork belly (like very thick bacon) that is oven-baked until crispier. You can also decide to simmer the soup with more salt-cured pork for a meatier taste but I prefer the contrast of just using it as a garnish.

Both versions are delicious and I assume that the version with its carnivorous garnish would be better suited to the colder autumn and wintery months while the lemony and herby version is more for spring and summer.

Cooking times may vary depending on the split peas you use and some varieties can be tender after 60 minutes of simmering but it could take up to 2 hours so give the soup the time it requires to be fully cooked by simmering it gently or soak your peas beforehand if you already know that they take longer to cook.

The secret to any good soup is the broth, whether home-made or store-bought. I always gather up all my extra vegetable cuttings in a bag that I store in the freezer and once that bag is filled up, I’ll make a broth that I will freeze when cooled down or store in sterilized jars when still hot. 

Bundle up because it’s cold out there and enjoy a nice bowl of soup that will soothe your soul … :)

split pea soup : 2 versions


4 x 450 grams each


soup :

  • 1 ½ liters (6 cups) vegetable broth (or water)
  • 250 grams (1 ¼ cups) split peas, rinsed and soaked
  • 125 grams (2 cups) leeks, thinly sliced
  • 25 grams (¼ cup) celery, diced
  • 25 grams (¼ cup) carrot, diced
  • 25 grams (¼ cup) onion, diced
  • 12,5 grams (1 tbsp) garlic, crushed
  • 25 grams (2 tbsp) olive oil
  • 25 grams (2 tbsp) butter
  • 5 grams (1 tbsp) dried « herbes de provence » mix (savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, oregano) or 3 tbsp fresh herbs
  • 5 grams (2 branches) flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 gram (2 whole) bay leaves
  • 7,5 ml (½ tbsp) apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 10 grams (2 tsp) fine sea salt (increase if broth is not salty enough)
  • 1 gram (¼ tsp) black peppercorns, ground
  • 1 gram (½ tsp) cumin seeds, ground

carnivorous garnish :

  • 150 grams (2 very thick slices) bacon or salt-cured pork belly
  • 5 grams (2 tsp) spice mixture (¼ or ½ tsp each of cumin seeds, cloves, allspice peppercorns, fennel seeds, black peppercorns, coriander seeds)
  • 2 grams (1 tbsp) fresh herbs (parsley & coriander leaves)

vegetarian garnish :

  • 50 grams (8 x ¼ slices) lemon (thin slices)
  • 5 grams (2 tbsp) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 grams (1 tbsp) fresh mint leaves
  • 2 grams (1 tbsp) fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 gram (¼ tsp) whole fennel seeds & cumin seeds


soup :

  • rinse the split peas until the water is clear, then let soak in water (with a pinch of baking soda) for 30-60 minutes (or longer depending on the variety)
  • *note : some varieties of split peas require more soaking and more cooking time than others so if you know that your dreid split peas are tougher, soak them for 1 hour or more or until they double in weight after soaking and if necessary, cook/simmer them for 2 hours (or up to 3 hours) and add 2 cups more water or broth for the additional cooking time ...
  • heat the olive oil and butter at medium-high heat then add the finely diced carrot, celery, onion and bay leaves and let cook for 5 minutes, add the crushed garlic, salt and dried & ground spices and stir, then add the chopped leeks, lemon juice or vinegar and cook for another 5 minutes and finally add the split peas and stir until coated in oil and butter, add the broth and parsley, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer (medium-low heat), add a cover and let cook gently for 90-120 minutes until the peas are tender, remove the bay leaves and parsley stalks

carnivorous garnish :

  • prepare the spice mix for coating the thick bacon or salt-cured pork belly slab, grind the spices until fine or slightly coarse and coat the meat on all sides and place in a 210°C preheated oven on the middle rack, on a sheet of baking paper and bake for 15 minutes, then remove, slice into 4 squares and set aside (or keep warm in a turned-off oven)

vegetarian garnish :

  • slice the lemons thinly and prepare the fresh herbs and whole spices and set aside (you could also add 1 tsp of lemon juice to each bowl for each serving for a fresher taste)

to serve :

  • prepare 4 large bowls or soup dishes (as a main meal) or 8 smaller bowls (as a starter), add the hot soup, choose your garnishes and serve with warm bread …