Split Pea Soup with Ham
Yield: 8 servings
A mere quarter cup of dried split peas provides 13 grams of fiber, 12 grams of protein, and 10% of your recommended daily iron intake. They're also high in Vitamin B1, folate, copper and a long list of other minerals. Here, they cook down into a thick, creamy soup so there's no need to get out the blender. To make this soul-warming soup even heartier, you can add a diced potato along with the following ingredients.


  • 1 (16-ounce) package dried split peas, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups (1 quart) low-sodium chicken broth (see notes)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped (about 1½ cups)
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped or cut into slices (about 1½ cups-although I often go heavy on the carrots)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped (about 1 cup; I chop and include any leaves)
  • 1½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves** (or ½ teaspoon dried)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper)
  • 1 smoked ham hock (see notes)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional for serving: croutons (I love this recipe)


  1. Mix all of the ingredients except the ham hock in 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Nestle the ham in the center.
  2. Cover and cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours (or on high heat for 3 to 4 hours) or until the peas are completely tender. Remove the ham hock from the slow cooker, and place on a plate or cutting board to cool slightly.
  3. Once cool enough to handle, pull the meat from bones, and chop or shred into small pieces. Discard the bones and fatty areas, and add the ham pieces to the soup.
  4. Stir well and add some freshly ground pepper and salt, to taste. (I add a lightly rounded teaspoon of kosher salt and a generous ½ teaspoon of pepper. Precise amount will depend on type of broth used and personal preference.) Garnish with optional croutons and enjoy.


*The smoked ham hock provides exceptional flavor in this soup. I trim some of the exterior fat before cooking and there is truly no flavor loss without it. I have also made this soup with all water and no chicken broth. In that case, you will need to add additional salt to replace what would have been in the broth.

**As a shortcut when using fresh thyme, I’ve recently started adding 2-3 nice sprigs and then remove the stems prior to serving. This imparts all the fresh flavor with one less thing to chop!

Leftovers: This recipe makes a generous batch that will keep for about a week in the refrigerator and freezes well. (They’re great for sharing with a friend, too.) Leftovers will thicken somewhat, which we enjoy, although you may add additional broth to thin if desired.

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