Split Pea Soup & Garlic Butter Croutons

Split Pea Soup with Ham

My boyfriend’s Mom cooked a delicious ham for Christmas so I swiped her ham bone and took it home to my freezer. As soon as a rainy day came our way (rare in Los Angeles) I took that sucker out and made us some split pea soup. I had to go to three different markets to find dried split peas! I guess LA is not big on split peas, but I finally found them at Gelson’s next to the depleted stock of lentils because it was New Year’s day. Do people still eat lentils for good luck? I don’t get that tradition. This recipe is so easy along with the homemade croutons you can’t go wrong. Remember not to add too much salt until the end when your soup has been reduced. Some people like to stick the soup in the blender for a creamy smooth soup, but this recipe is meant to be chunky. If you decide to blend it, be sure to do so before adding the ham.

Split pea soup always reminds me of when I was a kid and we went on these trips up to Lake Nacimiento near Paso Robles in California. I have so many great memories from those camping trips to the lake. All my parent’s friends had boats and we would go water skiing all week and day camp on the beaches around the lake. I now make biscuits and gravy based off my parent’s friend Peggy who would cook them camp side for everyone. Holy moses those were good! On our way home from the lake we would sometimes stop in Buellton and go to Andersen’s who is renowned for their split pea soup. I went there a couple years ago as an adult and was not too impressed. It’s just kinda meh, but as a kid it sure felt special.

Let me know how your soup turns out! We ate ours last night and have a little leftover. It’s still raining here so I’m looking forward to that last bowl, unless my boyfriend gets to it first. Which he usually does. Ah well. He deserves it.

Split Pea with Ham

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield 6 servings
Calories 468 kcal


  • 1/4 cup high quality butter
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup diced carrot (1/4-inch dice)
  • 1 cup diced celery (1/4-inch dice)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt , plus additional to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper , plus additional to taste
  • 2cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dill (optional)
  • 1 pound dried split peas , rinsed and sorted
  • 1 meaty ham bone
  • 1 large bay leaf (or 2 small)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh organic thyme leaves , chopped and quantity divided
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup diced ham (1/4-inch dice)
  • Buttery Garlic Croutons , for serving (recipe below)
  • Fresh grated Romano cheese


  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt butter until foaming subsides. Add onion, carrot, celery, salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables are softened and just beginning to brown, 5-8 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, until aromatic. Stir in split peas.

  2. Add ham bone, bay leaf, and 1 teaspoon fresh thyme. Stir in chicken stock and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until split peas are cooked down and soup is thickened to desired consistency. (Stir more frequently as the soup begins to thicken.)

  3. Add diced ham during the last 15 minutes of cooking. When ready to serve, remove and discard ham bone and bay leaf, and stir in remaining 1 teaspoon fresh thyme. Serve hot with croutons, fresh grated Romano cheese and cracked black pepper.

Recipe Notes

Ham Bone Substitution:

*If you don’t have a leftover ham bone, two ham hocks can be substituted. If using ham hocks, omit the 1 cup of diced ham. When you remove the ham hocks from the pot, shred the meat off of the bones and return it to the pot before serving. Discard the bones.


The soup can be stored, tightly-covered, in the refrigerator for 3 days, or frozen for 2-3 months. When reheating (to 160 degrees F), add additional stock, if needed, to thin the soup to your desired consistency.




  • 8 tablespoons high quality butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Garlic salt (optional)
  • Fresh ground pepper (optional)


  • 3/4 of a 16 oz loaf cut into 1 inch thick slices of French bread, then cut into cubes


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large saute pan (I use a wok), melt butter over medium heat. Stir in garlic; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add bread cubes, and toss to coat. Spread on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with garlic salt & fresh ground pepper.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until crisp and dry. Check frequently to prevent burning. Cool.