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Yellow Split-Pea: Is it a soup or a stew? Do I care?

Updated: Apr 1, 2022

Brrrrrr! Although the sun is out, here in Reno, Nevada, it's still kind raw feeling, and is supposed to snow in another day or two. I was happy to get some branches cut off of the Sycamore tree in the backyard before things turn ugly. To that end, split pea soup sounded like just the thing!

Split peas, either the green or the yellow variety, are creamy, hearty and provide a boat-load of fiber and protein. They are one of our favorite soups. Ron - being from northern New England, and of both Scots and Québécois heritage, fondly remembers the original Habitant Pea Soup of his youth. Pronounced: "Ah-bee-tan". I actually used to buy cases of it for him, 'back in the day'. But, as we become more health conscious, the high sodium content and lard weren't as appealing. Anyway, when pea soup is made with the yellow split pea, it's generally referred to as Canadian or French-Canadian Pea Soup. I don't know what they've got against the green split peas.

These days, we've gone full-on WFPBNO (whole-food, plant-based, no-oil) types, and our continued good health has thanked us for it. So has the bottomline. Cooking with bulk bin ingredients is a bargain! I keep plenty of split peas and lentils in the pantry. Which brings me to "is there a difference between a split pea and a lentil". I've seen folks on the Forks Over Knives Facebook group asking this very question.

No, they're not the same thing. According to the Illinois Extension, "Split peas are a member of the legume family, as are lentils. However, split peas are an actual field pea that is dried. Once dried, the outer skin of the pea is removed and the pea is split in half. Lentils, on the other hand, are the seeds found in the pods of a small annual plant." Glad that we've got this business out of the way.

Making either green or yellow split pea soup is the same, with the only difference being the color of the split pea. Take your pick. I keep a big French-style canning jar in the pantry with two labels. On one side: Yellow Split Peas. On the other: Green Split Peas. Same jar, different contents depending on what's available in the bins. During the Time of COVID-19, bulk goods can be pretty hit and miss. Sigh.

Let's get back to the soup idea.

Get your Instant Pot out, as it's simply the best way to make this soup. Now, start prepping your ingredients and set up your mis-en-place.


1 small onion diced

2 carrots chopped, or 1 carrot and 1 parsnip

2 stalks of celery chopped

3-4 cloves of garlic minced

6-8 sun-dried tomatoes, sliced thinly

16 ounces of split peas - either green or yellow

6 cups of vegan broth/water. For this recipe I used roughly half and half.


For this post, I'm going to let you in on a wonderful blend that will work for so many different American/European recipes - Everything But Salt Blend, from Salty-Savory-Sweet, the Spice & Tea Shoppe, here in Reno, Nevada. I've gotten to know the owners, and their products are as good - or better - as any I've found anywhere. I keep the EBS Blend in a handy grinder right next to my pepper grinder. Yeah, I use it that often. The large bag lives in the freezer.

If you can't order from, or drive over to Salty-Savory-Sweet, here's what you might use instead:

1 teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon dried parsley

2 teaspoons dried granulated onion

½ teaspoon ground celery seed

2 teaspoons of ground pepper

Salt to taste

Optional: I also occasionally toss in some Hickory Smoke powder, or a few drops of Liquid Smoke.

1-Sauté the onions and garlic in your Instant Pot for about 4-5 minutes, using a bit of broth/water to keep it all moving.

2- Stir in the other vegetables, and sauté them for several minutes.

3- Add your seasonings and water/broth. Make sure that the valve on your Instant Pot lid is in the 'sealing' position, and select High Pressure for 15 minutes. It takes about 15 minutes for the pot to come up to pressure.

4- Once the countdown is completed, let the pressure release 'naturally' for about 15 minutes. Did you get distracted and it went longer? No worries. It's all fine. Remove the lid, stir, taste, adjust seasonings.

This is where I transfer the soup to a pot that will go in/out of the fridge to the cooktop.

Bon appétit!

UPDATE: Below, is the green split pea version, and I used a bunch of chopped carrot tops to add incredible flavor!

Don't ever just toss the tops to carrots! They're flavor-packed! Add them to soups, stews, smoothies, pesto and sauces.

This button will take you to PayPal where you can securely pop a bit in the 'tip jar'.


Printable Pea Soup Recipe is shown below!

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