This recipe has a long history, and goes back several decades. My mom made a wonderful split pea soup, and when I was growing up, it was always one of my favorites. She would top it with “buttered toast squares” – her version of homemade croutons. When she was a little girl, her aunts made the same for her.
Over the years, I tweaked this recipe, removing all the animal products and added oils, including butter, olive oil, and chicken broth. Now it’s as simple as can be, and incredibly delicious.
I usually make this in my slow cooker, which requires no babysitting at all. But you can simmer it on the stove. We typically turn this soup into a hearty Sunday dinner, adding whole grain pasta, cooked greens, or diced potatoes to our bowls before ladling out the bubbling goodness. It’s great served with a loaf of warm crusty bread and a fresh green salad, too.
This makes a big pot of stick-to-the-ribs soup, and you’ll find there’s plenty for a few extra bowls during the week. It really is the ultimate comfort food, and just could not be more satisfying on a cold day in the middle of winter.
BEST SPLIT PEA SOUP
1 pound of split peas, sorted and rinsed
2 quarts vegetable broth
1 quart water (2 cups less if using a slow cooker)
1 large Vidalia onion, minced
1 or 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 or 3 stalks celery, chopped
2 or 3 carrots, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
black pepper, to taste
Serving suggestion: Add to each bowl your choice (or a combination) of boiled potatoes, brown rice, whole grain pasta, or cooked greens.
Slow Cooker Instructions
Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Set to low if using a newer slow cooker, or high if an older one, and cook for 7-9 hours. Use an immersion blender to create an even creamier texture, if desired.
Combine all ingredients in large soup pot, and bring to a rolling boil. Cover and reduce heat, and continue simmering for around 2 hours, or until split peas are tender and soup becomes thick and creamy. Use an immersion blender to create an even creamier texture, if desired.