Southwestern Split-Pea Soup

by on October 24, 2007
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You may recognize the photo below. I first posted about this soup over a year ago, but at the time I was having trouble with the timing of the recipe, so I kept it to myself. Since then, I’ve made it several times, never the same way twice, and it’s always come out delicious. Most recently I cooked it for a potluck lunch and had to substitute for two ingredients I was missing and actually burned the bottom of the pan. But since several people tracked me down to rave about the soup, I figure that this recipe is practically fool-proof. Well, it’s proof against this fool, at least!

I’d waited until the last minute to make my potluck dish, figuring I could throw this soup together quickly in the pressure cooker. Then I ran into a big problem: no yellow split peas. But I had some chana dal–a split relative of the chickpea–and decided to use them instead. From my experience, they take a little longer to cook, so I started them in the pressure cooker and added a couple of minutes to the timer.

While the beans were cooking, I began assembling the other ingredients only to find that the tomato paste I usually use in the recipe was also missing from my cabinet. So I quickly decided to substitute a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies, the kind that is made by Rotel. I have to say that I thought the soup tasted even better with the tomatoes, so that substitution was actually an improvement. And since I really couldn’t tell the difference between the chana dal and yellow split peas, I was sure that the soup was going to be a success…so sure that I left it cooking on the stove and forgot it! The bottom burned and a thick layer of peas stuck to it.

But you know what you do when this happens, right? If you’re lucky, you can pour off the soup at the top, without stirring, scraping, or otherwise disturbing the burned part at the bottom. You may lose a lot of your peas this way, but believe me, you don’t want that burned sludge in your soup. I tried it, and thankfully it worked. I thought I could detect a certain smokiness that wasn’t caused by the chipotles, but fortunately no one else did. Recipe saved!

Southwestern Yellow Split Pea Soup
No new photo–the potluck crowd ate the whole pot!


Special Note: A couple of commenters (thanks VeggieGirl and Aimee!) let me know that they’ve received the latest edition of VegNews magazine and that I won as the 2007 readers’ favorite veg blog. I’m a little afraid to believe it until I see it myself, so let’s just say that I’m cautiously ecstatic. Whether it’s true or not, thanks to everyone who voted for me; you win my award for best readers! And if you’re here because of the magazine, welcome! I hope you’ll stick around, take a look at the Recipe Index, and especially check out some of the Readers’ Favorite Recipes.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 SusanV August 1, 2009 at 12:53 pm

Comments prior to August 2009 were deleted when the blog moved to Wordpress. Here are those lost comments:

Emilie said…

Yay! Congratulations! Your blog is an outstanding resource and source of inspiration. Well deserved win.

Oh, and super tasty looking soup too.

4:06 PM, October 24, 2007
Diane said…

This look good and I will try it. I love another soup you make with yellow split peas and kale.
I had never heard of yellow split peas until I saw that recipe. Is there some reason you use the yellow instead of green split peas?

5:10 PM, October 24, 2007
Courtney said…

Congrats on your award, Susan! You totally deserve it, and i am so happy for you–way to go!

That soup sounds fantastic–you are right, it is hard to go wrong with soup, no matter what happens it can usually be saved somehow! I cannot wait to try it!


5:52 PM, October 24, 2007
Cassie Young said…

Susan! This looks like such a wonderfully delicious alternative to the more traditional type of split pea soup I’m accustomed to. Will definitely be making this. 🙂

7:00 PM, October 24, 2007
Cassie Young said…

ps. Congrats on the award!! Very well deserved!! 😀

7:02 PM, October 24, 2007
BillG said…

You deserve the recognition, but I just wanna say I actually eat the food you write about, more than once.

7:18 PM, October 24, 2007
Nabeela said…

I once made a split pea soup with chana dal too….totally couldn’t figure out the difference!

7:25 PM, October 24, 2007
VeggieGirl said…

just wanted to congratulate you again on winning!! yay!! mmm, this split-pea soup looks incredible!!

8:01 PM, October 24, 2007
springsandwells said…

Oh susan, I hope it’s true… I voted for you!
🙂 amey

8:17 PM, October 24, 2007
Mary Frances said…

Congratulations! We couldn’t have made instantaneous transition to vegetarian without your blog! And lucky me, I have yellow split peas in the pantry =)

8:22 PM, October 24, 2007
Melissa said…

I’ve been following your blog for a while and was surprised yesterday when I opened up my VegNews magazine and saw your blog listed in the Best of Awards – it is true! Congrats!!

8:46 PM, October 24, 2007
funwithyourfood said…

well i know i voted for you… that reminds me to check my mail too! 🙂


12:57 AM, October 25, 2007
SusanV said…

Thanks, everyone! I’m still waiting for my copy to arrive. When I see it with my own eyes, that’s when the celebrating will start!

Diane, I like the color of yellow split peas better for this particular soup, but I do use green ones in other recipes. For a while I had a huge amount of the yellow ones, so I was using them like crazy. I never stopped to think that one day I’d run out. 😉

8:03 AM, October 25, 2007
Dani Spies said…

Congratulations on you’re award…that’s so exciting!!
I love split pea soup, and this recipe sounds great!

9:47 AM, October 25, 2007
Fresh from the Source said…

Congratulations on your well-deserved win. I check your site regularly.

10:30 AM, October 25, 2007
Jim said…

Congrats! Your accolades are well-deserved, and that soup looks delicious.

10:40 AM, October 25, 2007
Anonymous said…

congratulations, susan. your blog is my favorite blog and it really is the best blog on earth 🙂


12:31 PM, October 25, 2007
Farmgirl Susan said…

Love the sound of this. When it comes to soups, for some reason I always forget about split-peas. Thanks for the delicious reminder. And congratulations on the VegNews award!

1:51 PM, October 25, 2007
healthnut said…

Congratulations! I just now got my issue of VegNews and noticed that you won for best blog. Keep up the good work!

7:17 PM, October 25, 2007
Susan said…

Yeh! You certainly deserve the recognition! And you know, I just bought yellow split peas at the market on Saturday and was looking for some new recipes. Thanks for helping me!

7:31 PM, October 25, 2007
Debbie said…

Yes, yes, it’s true! And very well deserved. Congratulations.

10:00 PM, October 25, 2007
Renee said…

I’ve been really into cooking with chipotles lately. Can’t wait to try this recipe! Thanks. 🙂

5:59 AM, October 26, 2007
Lydia said…

Congrats on the VegNews award. And thanks for this wonderful soup — it is just the color of the leaves outside my window this morning, and with the weather finally turning cooler, a nice spicy soup is just what I’m craving.

7:47 AM, October 26, 2007
Ashasarala said…

Congratulations! You have a lot of great food pics and inspiration on here so it’s no wonder you were voted. =)

I burn the bottom of my pans too often! Unfortunately, it always seems to happen with rice. You can’t really salvage it then because the aroma of burnt-ed-ness saturates the entire pot! Haha Guess I better watch my rice closer.

Anywho, the soup looks yummy. I love the garnishings.

8:59 AM, October 26, 2007
Vegan_Noodle said…

Congrats!! So glad you won the Veg Award for favorite blog… I voted for you! Hopefully it brings you lots of new readers….

12:04 PM, October 26, 2007
Anonymous said…

How is Mexican oregano different than the other? Is it readily available at, say, Whole Foods?

Denise (whose husband thanks you for wonderful vegan fare, a la Fuhrman…we downed your pumpkin pie last night, again…the kids thought it made a great breakfast)

12:53 PM, October 26, 2007
Nic said…

Congrats! I’m an avid reader of your blog and I voted for you on the VegNews poll. I’m so glad you won! You deserve it.

3:34 PM, October 26, 2007
Rachael said…

this has become the official favorite soup in our household…we call it “taco soup”.
Super Congrats to you on the Vegnews vote! We all knew you could do it!

And I feel your pain on the burnt pots thing…I actually just scorched the bottom of a pot by steaming some cabbage with not-quite-enough water in the bottom. ugh!

10:31 AM, October 27, 2007
JennDZ – The Leftover Queen said…

That looks wonderful!

Welcome to The Foodie Blogroll!

9:57 PM, October 30, 2007
Anonymous said…

This soup is fabulous. I didn’t think I could possibly like tomatoes with split peas but the smokiness of the chipotle and the tomatoes was delicious. I modified the recipe a bit as I was out of a few ingredients. I used potatoes instead of corn and chipotle powder instead of diced chipotle peppers. I also used channa dal and I think that made the recipe even better as the dal held up to cooking and was still whole after it was finished. This will definitely be one of my favorites! Thanks, once again!

10:25 AM, November 03, 2007
jonathan said…

You know peas are really healthy. I don’t like the taste, but I’m sure that the way you serve has made it taste differently delicious. Thanks for the recipe.

2:21 AM, July 10, 2009


2 Laina April 21, 2010 at 8:04 pm

I made this today and it’s soooooooo delicious! Another favorite. 🙂 I used 3 Tablespoons chipolte chili in adobo sauce. We’re from NM and didn’t taste the 1-2 teaspoons.

Susan, I think I did something wrong. My soup is thick. Did I maybe cook it too long in the pressure cooker? I guessed at the amount of yellow split peas. I used a little less than 3 cups because I still don’t have a scale and I bought in bulk. Is that about the right amount? Gracias!!! 🙂


3 SusanV April 21, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Hi Laina–I think a little less than 3 cups is about right. The thickness can really vary, so I start off with less water and recommend that you add more to reach your desired thickness. Also, I like it pretty thick!


4 Laina April 22, 2010 at 10:06 am

I noticed in the picture that yours is soupy. Mine has no liquid at all. Maybe I’ll add some veggie broth or V-8 juice. No matter though because it tastes scrumpdillicious! 🙂


5 Peggy October 29, 2010 at 8:56 am

We had this for supper this week and it was delicious. Everyone liked it. I did add extra water because mine absorbed into the peas leaving it pretty dry. Thanks for sharing. I posted a link to it on the FB site Full Plate Diet because I think if fits the high fiber status from the ingredients.


6 Jacki October 24, 2011 at 8:42 am

Your recipe, as is (8 servings) is 6pts on weight watchers points plus!! Of course, if you add more water it increases the servings and changes up the points value (for the better.) 😉 Thanks for this fantastic soup recipe!


7 Carla Irvin October 24, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Okay, I just have to have a pressure cooker! It’s taken me years of looking at them, but I just can’t seem to decide which one is best. Susan, do you have a recommendation on a good pressure cooker? Thank you! P.S. Soup looks great!


8 Suzi April 16, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Oh wow this soup is deeeelicious! My 3 year old twins are gobbling it up and one
of them said “mama this is the best soup anyone’s ever made!” Yes, yes it is. 😉


9 BarbDon May 19, 2013 at 12:51 pm

I just made this recipe, and noticed the year of your post. I wanted you to know it still has magic. Of course, I had to make it with what I have on hand (yellow split peas/black-eyed peas/black beans) and butternut squash instead of carrots. Can’t wait for lunch!


10 Katharine in Brussels January 28, 2014 at 8:32 am

Thanks for sharing this recipe, it’s refreshing to have a Southwestern dish with a legume other than pinto or black beans (both delicious, but hard to find and expensive here in Belgium). This already tastes great about 3/4 done on my stovetop. Next time I will make this in the slow cooker. Cheers!


11 Alexandra May 14, 2015 at 6:41 pm

made it tonight; had all the ingredients (yellow split peas) ; great meal, and will be
better tomorrow after the flavors mellow.


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