This split pea soup is based on the traditional Blue Ribbon recipe. Whether you want to make the original vegetarian version or use up your leftover Easter ham bone, it tastes delicious! And can also be made in a crock pot.
Blue Ribbon recipes were published in a midwest magazine called The Farmer’s Wife until 1939, and when I was growing up they were considered to be the best in taste and practicality.
The Blue Ribbon Cookbook was a popular resource at that time. So when I saw this recipe in Harvey and Marilyn Diamond’s cookbook Fit For Life* I knew that it would be superb, and I was not disappointed.
This hardy vegetarian soup is flavorful and delicious. The aroma while it is cooking is mouthwateringly enticing.
If you eat meat, the ham bone option tastes even better and is a great way to use the last of your Easter ham.
A crock pot is perfect for cooking the soup, or you can simmer it in a large soup kettle on top of the stove.
Do not be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. They are mostly spices that are easy to add, and the vegetables are a breeze to chop in the food processor.
And this recipe makes a large batch, so it’s great to serve with salad for lunch or as an appetizer for a dinner party.
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Here is your shopping list:
- Dairy: butter
- Oil: safflower oil
- Meat: pork hock bone with some ham remnants attached (optional)
- Dried vegetables: green spit peas
- Fresh vegetables: carrots, celery, yellow onion, cabbage
- Fresh herbs: garlic, parsley – you can also use dried parsley
- Dried spices: basil, thyme, marjoram, oregano, summer savory, sage, tarragon, celery seed, ground coriander, regular or seasoned sea salt (I use Herbamare), ground pepper
- Vegetable bouillon
The prep work
Chop 1 cup carrots, 1 cup celery and 1½ cups onions.
Finely shred 2 cups of cabbage.
Mince 1 clove garlic.
How to make vegetarian split pea soup
Heat 2 Tablespoons butter with 1 Tablespoon safflower oil in a large frying pan.
Sauté the onion and garlic for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
Add in the carrots, celery, and cabbage and cook for several minutes until the vegetables are soft. Stir often to prevent it from sticking.
Put the vegetables into the crock pot or stock pot.
Add 10 cups water, 2 cups split peas, 1 teaspoon (or cube) vegetable bouillon, 1 teaspoon basil, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon marjoram, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon summer savory, 1/2 teaspoon herbed or regular sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon celery seed, 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/8 teaspoon sage, 1/8 teaspoon tarragon, and 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper.
If making it in a crock pot, cook on High for 4 to 5 hours. Take the lid off for the last 30 minutes to allow the soup to thicken.
To make it in a stock pot, bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer covered for 1 1/2 hours. Stir frequently.
Stir in parsley and add salt and pepper to taste.
For a smooth soup, use a hand blender to puree all the ingredients together or work in batches to puree the soup in a standard blender. I prefer a chunky soup and omit this step.
How to make split pea soup with a ham bone
Put the ham bone, split peas, and water in a crock pot or large soup kettle.
In a crock pot, cook on high for 2 hours.
Saute the vegetables:
- Heat 2 Tablespoons butter with 1 Tablespoon safflower oil in a large frying pan.
- Sauté the onion and garlic for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
- Add in the carrots, celery, and cabbage and cook for several minutes until the vegetables are soft. Stir often to prevent it from sticking.
Put the vegetables into the crock pot or stock pot.
In a crock pot, cook on high for another 4 to 5 hours. Remove the lid for the last 30 minutes to allow the soup to thicken.
In a stock pot, simmer for another 1 1/2 hours. If soup is too thick add a bit more water.
Remove the ham bone and stir in 4 Tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped) or 4 teaspoons of dried parsley.
If you like a smooth pea soup, use a hand blender to puree it. Omit this step for a chunky soup.
Cut any meat off of the bone, chop it, and add to the soup.
How to store split pea soup
Pea soup tastes better if refrigerated overnight and eaten over the next couple of days.
The flavors settle and blend.
This soup freezes perfectly in an airtight container.
Other recipes you might like
Blue Ribbon Split Pea Soup Recipe (Vegetarian or With A Ham Bone)
- measuring cups and spoons
- food processor (optional) – for chopping and shredding vegetables
- frying pan
- 6 quart slow cooker or large soup pot
- hand blender or regular blender (optional) – this is only necessary if you want to puree the soup
- 10 cups water
- 2 cups green split peas
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 Tablespoon safflower oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1½ cups onions chopped
- 2 cups cabbage finely shredded
- 1 cup carrots chopped
- 1 cup celery chopped
- 1 teaspoon or cube vegetable bouillon
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried summer savory
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon celery seed
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- ⅛ teaspoon dried sage
- ⅛ teaspoon dried tarragon
- ⅛ teaspoon Pepper
- 4 Tablespoons fresh parsley minced or 4 teaspoons dried parsley
To Make The Soup With A Ham Bone (Optional)
- 1 ham bone
- Add 10 cups water and 2 cups split peas to the crock pot or stock pot.
- Heat 2 Tablespoons butter and 1 Tablespoon safflower oil in a frying pan.
- Add the chopped onions and minced garlic to the pan. Saute for 30 seconds.
- Add the shredded cabbage, chopped carrots, and chopped celery. Cook for several minutes until soft, stirring frequently.
- Add the vegetables into the slow cooker or stock pot.
- Mix in 1 teaspoon (or cube) vegetable bouillon, 1 teaspoon basil, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon marjoram, ½ teaspoon oregano, ½ teaspoon summer savory, ½ teaspoon sea salt, ¼ teaspoon celery seed, ¼ teaspoon ground coriander, ⅛ teaspoon sage, ⅛ teaspoon tarragon and ⅛ teaspoon pepper.
- In a crock pot, cook on High for 4 to 5 hours. Remove the lid for the last 30 minutes to allow the soup to thicken.In a stock pot, bring the mixture to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 1½ hours, stirring frequently.
- Stir in 4 Tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley (or 4 teaspoons of dried parsley).
- Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
- For a smooth soup, use a hand blender to puree all the ingredients together or work in batches to puree the soup in a standard blender. Omit this step for a chunky soup.
To Make Split Pea Soup With A Ham Bone
- Replace the first step above with the following steps:– Put the ham bone, 10 cups water, and 2 cups split peas in a large soup kettle or crock pot. – If using a stock pot, bring to a boil and simmer covered for 2 hours. – In a crock pot, cook on High for 2 hours.
- Continue with the rest of the steps as listed above.
- Remove the ham bone before adding the chopped parsley.
- At the end, (after the soup has been pureed if desired), cut any meat off of the bone, chop it, and add to the soup.
- Pea soup tastes better if refrigerated overnight and eaten the next day.
- The soup can be frozen in an air tight container and stored for up to 3 months.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.
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This post was originally published on March 12, 2021 but was updated with new content on July 4, 2023.