We had a spiral ham for Christmas dinner, and whenever I bake a large ham, I make split pea soup with the leftovers.  Split pea soup is one of those earthy, satisfying soups of winter. Although I usually make it with ham, you can leave out the ham and bones for a delicious vegetarian version.

I’ll admit upfront that I’m veering from our rule of sharing recipes made ONLY with ingredients from Trader Joe’s.  You have to get the split peas elsewhere, but just about any grocer carries them. When I went to my local market, I grabbed the last bag of split peas on the shelf, so clearly a lot of people are making split pea soup this week.

I just leave the soup chunky and textured, but if you want a smooth soup, simply puree the soup in a blender or with an immersion/stick blender.  You can also cook the soup in a crockpot.  The longer the soup cooks, the more the peas will break down and make for a smoother soup.

Serve with some crunchy croutons or crusty bread, and it makes for a filling, inexpensive meal.  It’s a nice balance to all the heavy holiday meals that are popular this time of year.

Split Pea Soup 


  • 1 (16 oz) pkg green split peas
  • 1 pkg Mirepoix (or make your own by chopping 1 onion, 2 celery ribs, and 1 carrot)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 (32 oz) carton chicken broth or vegetable broth (4 cups)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed, or 2 cubes frozen Crushed Garlic
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Leftover ham bones and up to 1 cup chopped ham (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper


  1. Wash and drain peas (no need to soak).
  2. In a soup pot, sauté Mirepoix (onions, celery, carrot) in oil for 10 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Add broth, water, peas, garlic, oregano, ham bones, ham, salt, and pepper.
  3. Bring soup to a boil, then lower heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour or until peas are tender and soup is a green color.
  4. Remove bones, tearing off any ham meat to add back to the soup. Taste and add more salt if needed.
  5. Soup will thicken as it stands. If you prefer a thicker soup, let stand for 15 minutes, and then reheat. Ladle into bowls and garnish with croutons, chopped ham, or chopped parsley.


Variation: use 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary instead of oregano