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Split peas (Recipe: split pea, sausage and preserved lemon soup)


Do your split peas measure up?

We have standards, after all. By we, I mean the US Department of Agriculture, which has twenty-five pages (really!) of standards governing the appearance (size, color, and robustness) of whole dry peas, split peas, and lentils.

Gives the term "taste police" a whole new meaning, doesn't it?

Split peas are a variety of field pea grown specifically for drying; they're harvested at a later point of maturity than ordinary garden peas, stripped of their husks, and split along a natural seam. Most of what we see in the markets in the US and Europe are green splits (from varieties that have green-colored cotyledons) and yellow splits (from varieties that have ... you guessed it ... yellow cotyledons).

Dry split peas contain more starch than fresh peas. Generally, the yellow splits are a bit milder in flavor, and they are very slightly higher in calories, protein, and carbs.

One advantage of split peas over whole is that the splits don't require a presoak before cooking. Another plus is that they can be stored for months at room temperature, in an airtight container. Be sure to pick through before using, and remove any small stones.

National Split Pea Soup Week isn't until the second week in November (I didn't even know there's a whole week for celebrating split pea soups!), but I'm planning to try some of these wonderful goes-with-split-peas flavor combinations: split pea-spinach, beef and barley, sweet potatoes and kale, sausage and potato, spicy ginger, and butternut squash with star anise.

Split pea, sausage and preserved lemon soup

All this month, one of my favorite blogs, A Veggie Venture, celebrates soup, and cooks everywhere are joining in. This rustic soup, a heartier variation of my vegetarian meat-free split pea, freezes well and is perfect with some crusty bread for lunch on a cold winter day. Preserved lemons are easy to make at home, or buy them at a Middle Eastern market. Serves 6.


1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large leek, trimmed, washed, and diced
1 cup green or yellow splits
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock (homemade or storebought)
2 links turkey kielbasa*, cut into medium dice
2 Tbsp preserved lemon, rind only, rinsed and finely chopped
Lots of black pepper
Kosher salt, to taste


Put oil and leek into a stockpot, and saute until leek is translucent. Add splits and stock. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to simmer, cover, and cook for at least one hour, until the beans "dissolve." Add preserved lemon and kielbasa, and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Season with pepper and salt, if needed.

*For a vegetarian soup, replace kielbasa with 1-2 tsp smoky barbecue sauce, to taste.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Again you've come up with a new ingredient combination. I would never have thought of putting preserved lemons in pea soup. Must try it.

this was a very good & informative post. 25 pages on peas and lentils?! wow. food police indeed

Puts my very plain-Jane pea soup to shamel But sounds wonderful! Thanks for a fresh take on pea soup (and some fascinating information), Lydia.

One must have standards, I guess, but come on...

Hi Lydia ~ What a great soup! And while I never have any trouble using up the split peas in my pantry, I have had preserved lemons gathering dust for a long time now! So this is, um, perfect? Thanks so much for the Soup's On entry and I sooo love the new header! It's so, yes, perfect for you!

Pauline, thanks. The combination is really interesting and different; I hope you'll try it.

Connie, these are our tax dollars at work....

Mimi, try the preserved lemon in lentil soups, too. It's a surprisingly good match.

Alanna, I'm having such a good time reading the soup recipes on your blog this month. Soup's On is a great idea! Thanks for the nice words about the new header; we'll be filling the pantry shelf over the next few months, so keep watching.

Mmm, I just love citrus, so the preserved lemon sounds really tasty to me! Thanks for the informative post and links--I'm going to check out the sweet potato and kale one right now!


I had perserved lemons on my Amazon Wish List as I have not been able to find them locally.

Tom and everyone, here's a recipe for preserved lemons, easy to make (though you have to plan ahead), and they keep forever in the fridge:


Lydia, I think I feel the same way about split peas that you feel about cauliflower. I love the idea of brightening the soup up with citrus, and if I can't bring myself to use the split peas, I'll try this with lentils.

I love split pea soup and adding preserved lemon really intriques me. Thank you for this. Love your blog!

I love split pea soup and adding preserved lemon really intriques me. Thank you for this. Love your blog!

I love split pea soup and adding preserved lemon really intriques me. Thank you for this. Love your blog!

Scott, the combination of lentils and preserved lemon is wonderful. In fact, that was the original version of this soup! (Do I see a cauliflower and split pea dish in our future???)

Sher, thanks for visiting!

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