Split pea soup

Dried peas were available through the points system during the rationing years… you could get quite a lot of split peas for your points every month (8 lbs) if you didn’t use your 16 points up for 2 lbs of dry fruit or just one can of meat/fish. Split peas have lots of fibre, protein and iron so were a very healthy and frugal food to have as part of your ration..

I had split pea soup as my main meal of the day and had two servings. I currently buy a whole bag of organic split peas for $2.49 and that is enough to feed 8 people with a large bowl each! The recipe below uses just half a bag.

I prefer my soups to be thick with texture but if you prefer to have yours thinner and smooth then just add a little extra water and when cooked, liquidize it.

Split pea soup

  • 8 oz (225g) of split green peas
  • 2 onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 parsnip or british turnip
  • 1 medium white potato
  • 1 pint (600 ml) of water
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste (I used 1 teaspoon sea salt)
  • sprig of mint or a little dried mint


  1. Wash the split peas in cold water
  2. Cover with cold water and soak overnight or you can use straight away (they’ll just take longer to cook)
  3. Chop up the onions, parsnip, carrots finely and potato into 1/2 inch chunks and add to a pint of boiling water in a saucepan with the drained split peas
  4. Cook until the split peas are cooked (about 40 minutes over medium) in a covered saucepan, stirring now and again
  5. Serve as is with a sprig of mint or liquidize for a smooth soup

Serves 4

9 thoughts on “Split pea soup

  1. I love split pea soup. My mother always flavored it with a bit of dill so that’s how I usually do it. And with a bay leaf. It’s one of those soups you really can’t mess up.

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  3. Delish!! Just the day before I made stock out of the Christmas ham bone that has been sitting in the freezer for ages. So I used ham stock instead of water. I also threw in the meat that came off the bone and fried the onion before adding it – because I loathe boiled onions.

    I love the texture that split peas or lentils get. It feels like you’ve actually eaten something when you’ve finished. I served it up with some of the Irish Soda Bread.

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  6. I made a version of this pea soup this afternoon. And very nice it is too. Though not quite a war-time recipe, it could still be considered ‘within the ball-park’.

    I pretty-much adhered to your recipe, but built upon it slightly.

    I made double the quantity (two pints instead of one). And instead of plain water, I used vegetable stock for flavour, adding a couple of bay leaves and a teaspoon of dried mixed herbs.

    I omitted the turnip (no one in the household but me likes them), and replaced it with half a large leek, cut into penny-width slices.

    Of the four sliced onions, only three went directly into the soup. The fourth I gently fried off until lightly browned, as it added greater depth of flavour.

    I also used some ham – in this case, 8 oz (210g) of wafer-thin Italian Prosciutto Crudo, cut into one inch pieces and lightly fried off for 60 seconds, then added to the soup while it cooked. If posh ham is pushing the boat out a bit, then a cheaper pack of streaky bacon (used the same way) is a great alternative.

    Other than a little salt and white pepper to season, that’s it.

    • If anyone likes the split pea soup, and favours it a little thicker (as Carolyn herself does), add some pearl barley to the recipe. It thickens it naturally without the need to add any corn flour, and is remarkably nutritious too.

      I find a ratio of 3:1 peas to barley works brilliantly.

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