The flavors of childhood are hardwired into my memory.  Stuffed artichoke, escargot with garlic butter, chicken and dumplings, chicken parmesan, and split pea soup.  But, this soup is not the canned split pea soup that I ate as a child–this soup is delicate and laced with umami provided by the honeybaked ham bone.  While the visual appeal of the smooth, avocado-green, pasty soup left something to be desired, the salty, pea-flavored soup won me over.  

Perhaps it was the Campbell’s soup can and the nostalgia of Andy Warhol that it evoked.  Perhaps it was that my father enjoyed a can of Campbell’s split pea soup as a quick and easy weeknight dinner.  Or perhaps it was the sheer lack of almost every familiar flavor, aside from ham, that the soup embodied.  I’d never tasted anything like it before and still pause when I eat split pea soup.  It is in a class of its own that soars far above the Italian wedding soup and minestrones. 

As a child, I assumed this exotic soup was laborious and time consuming-which explained why my father enjoyed the Campbell’s canned version.  However, I was delightfully surprised, when I made this soup for the first time, at how terribly easy it was to make.  Just remember to soak the peas overnight, cook the soup until the peas are soft and tender, and puree the soup until extra smooth.   Aside from that, the other key component to nailing this soup is the level of salt.  

If you plan to add ham to the soup, I recommend salting the soup to taste after you have added the ham bits.  If you are going vegan, which is easy to do by just omitting the ham, then you can salt the soup at any point.  Attaining the perfect level of smoothness and saltiness will make this a staple on your family’s table.

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Split Pea Soup

  • Author: Christina
  • Total Time: about 2 hours
  • Yield: 16 bowls 1x


This soup is not the Campbell’s canned split pea soup that I ate as a child.  This soup is delicate and laced with umami provided by the honeybaked ham bone.  


Units Scale
  • 4 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 cups onion, diced
  • 1 cup leeks, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 2 tsp garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup vermouth wine
  • 1pound dried green peas, washed and soaked overnight
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • Chives for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1pound uncured ham steak or honey baked ham, chopped


  1. In a stock pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and season with salt. Cover and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Uncover and add the leeks.  Sauté for 5 minutes.
  3. Add carrots and celery.  Sauté for 5-7 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for additional 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the vermouth and cook for about 5 minutes.
  5. Then, add the peas, vegetable broth, and bay leaves.  If you happen to have a ham bone in the refrigerator from a recently eaten honey baked ham, then add this to season the stock.  Stir to combine and simmer for 30-45 minutes.
  6. Remove the bay leaves and ham bone.  Add the thyme and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Puree with immersion blender or in a blender until very smooth. Garnish with chopped chives.
  8. If desired, sprinkle soup with chopped pieces of ham.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes (not including soaking peas overnight)
  • Cook Time: 1 hour – 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Category: Soups
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: split pea soup, Campbell’s, soups

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