Split Pea Soup

Split Pea Soup with Barley
Split Pea Soup with Barley

I’ve made split pea soup for many years, both green and yellow. When I make Green Split Pea Soup, I like to use potatoes, which I dice and add toward the end of the cooking time so they don’t completely dissolve.  Last week I didn’t much want to brave the cold so started thinking about what I could make with things I had on hand. I had just cleaned out and reorganized my bean, seed and nut cabinet so knew I had green split peas, check. Onions, check. Carrots, check. Vinegar, check. Cilantro, check. Seasonings, check. Potatoes, check.

Only I didn’t have the potatoes I was sure I had. I didn’t find that out, though, until the soup was almost ready. I went to get the potatoes to prepare and throw in for the final cooking and found not one. I thought…I wonder how barley would taste in that instead? That was something else I noticed I had plenty of in my cleaned up and reorganized cabinet. I cooked up a cup of dried barley and added it — and yes! It was delicious. Going forward I’ll use it instead of potatoes.


  • 1/4-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Green split peas, 2 lb.
  • Garlic, 4 cloves minced (1 TB)
  • Spanish onion, 1 large, petite diced
  • Carrots, 4 large, petite diced
  • Celery stalks, 4 large, petite diced
  • Water, 12-16 cups
  • Salt, 1 TB + 1 tsp.
  • Cumin, 1 TB
  • Turmeric, 1 TB
  • Hot paprika, 1 tsp.
  • Vinegar, 6-8 TB
  • Barley, 1 cup cooked in 4 cups water
  • Cilantro, 1-2 large bunches, chopped (sometimes I also use, or use instead, chopped kale or spinach or chard)


  1. Wash and prepare all the veggies and the garlic.
  2. Add the olive oil to a soup pot, the garlic and onion and saute until soft. Add the carrots and celery and continue to saute.
  3. Add the split peas, 12 cups of water, salt, cumin, turmeric, hot paprika and vinegar. Stir to mix all well.
  4. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and simmer until soup is done. I like to still see peas a bit, not have them totally disintegrated.
  5. Add the cooked barley to the soup, and adjust liquid and seasoning. If you cool the soup, you may have to do this again since the barley continues to expand and makes the soup thicker.
  6. Add the chopped cilantro and simmer for a couple more minutes.

Easy peasy and delicious.

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

2 thoughts on “Split Pea Soup

  1. Looks delicious… I love to see all the different vegetables with the split pea. Barley … I love it and can totally see it in this recipe, but it does not love me. For a gluten free version I’ll use your original potato version, which I’m sure will be just as yummy!

    1. Wow, I thought barley was pretty easily digested for everyone. So you don’t eat any gluten products – breads etc.? Have you ever tried spelt? When I was so sick a couple of years back, I did a lot of research and came across the Low FODMAP Diet from Monash Univ. in Australia. Interesting stuff, and in their data bank, they show spelt ok where wheat isn’t — certain sugars in wheat are the problem. Come to think of it, barley was off-limits there too – sugars. Have to double check that, and I will (just checked, and it is a problem, oligosaccharides – so I guess not so easy to digest after all – its innocent looks deceive). But potatoes are always a good alternative. I ate a lot of them then. Still do. 🙂

Ideas? Would like to hear from you!