Split Pea and Spinach Soup

Split Pea and Spinach SoupI was browsing a second hand bookstore in San Francisco a month or so ago, and came across an obscure little paperback (published in 1972) called The Art of Indian Cooking by Monica Dutt. I love Indian food, although I don’t like to get too fussy with it. But a quick glance at the recipes in this book reassured me that the recipes looked straightforward and used simple, natural ingredients with nothing but herbs and spices for flavoring (as it should be!) and ghee was recommended in most recipes :), although vegetable oil was mentioned as an alternative 🙁

So I purchased this little scrap of a paperback and couldn’t wait to get home and cook up some yummy Indian food! So far I’ve cooked several recipes from this book, all of which have been really tasty.

The combination of yellow split peas (my favorite kind!) and green spinach really caught my imagination in this recipe. I imagined the yellow-green contrast would look pretty (which it does!) and I like having another way to get more greens into my diet.

I made a couple minor deviations from the recipe (for example the lemon juice was my addition to lift the flavor just a little) otherwise it is true to the original.

Split Pea and Spinach Soup

1 cup yellow split peas* (soak overnight in warm water, then drain and rinse)
3-4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock (start with 3 and see how you go)
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 fresh green chili pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped
1 cup chopped spinach (I used frozen)
2 tablespoons ghee
¼ teaspoon cumin seed or ground cumin (I used ground cumin but would try cumin seeds next time)
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more or less depending on your spicy heat tolerance)
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice

1. Place split peas and stock into a large pot and bring to a boil. Skim off any scum.
2. Turn down to a simmer. Add the turmeric, coriander, ginger and green chili pepper.
3. Cover and simmer on low until peas are completely soft (about 1 hour 30 minutes). Simmer with the lid off the for last 30 minutes if you want a thicker soup.
4. With about 10-15 minutes to go, add the chopped spinach.
5. In a small pan, heat the clarified butter, then add the cumin and red pepper flakes and fry gently for a minute or so.
6. Using a spatula, scrape this oil/spice mixture in the soup, and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
7. Taste and adjust seasonings as required, adding the lemon juice to taste.

Update: *Yellow split peas are less common than their green counterparts, but I prefer yellow – I think they have a slightly sweeter, nuttier taste. Soak the split peas overnight in a bowl of warm water (make sure the split peas are covered by a couple inches of water). Drain and rinse before cooking. 

For another soup featuring these beautiful yellow split peas, here is my Split Pea and Ham Soup.

Linking to: Sunday Night Soup Night!, Souper Sunday @ Kahakai Kitchen, Sunday SchoolMonday ManiaHomestead BarnhopMake Your Own MondaysReal Food 101Meatless MondaysInspire Me MondayFat TuesdayTraditional TuesdaysHearth and Soul HopReal Food WednesdaysHealthy 2day WednesdaysAllergy Free WednesdaysWhole Food WednesdayFull Plate ThursdaysSimple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter ThursdaysFresh Bites Friday, Foodie Friday, Spinach Seasonal Recipe Round Up

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26 Comment

  1. mjskit says:

    When I saw split pea and spinach, I thought green on green and then wondered where the yellow came from! 🙂 I’ve seen yellow split peas in the bulk aisle but have never purchased them. You now have me curious as to what they taste like. This looks like a great soup to try them out with! Beautiful soup and I love the seasonings!

    1. Debbie says:

      LOL, green on green wouldn’t have been very exciting! I really like the yellow split peas – I think they have a slightly sweeter and nuttier taste (which I just added as an update to my post) compared to the green split peas.

  2. […] For another soup featuring these beautiful yellow split peas, here is my Split Pea and Spinach Soup. […]

  3. I love the color of this soup–so bright and pretty with the spinach. Split pea is a favorite of mine. 😉 Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays this week.

    1. Debbie says:

      Thanks Deb!

  4. Starlene says:

    This looks delicious. I’ve pinned, tweeted and will share on Facebook! Yummy! Now I just need to find some yellow split peas…

    1. Debbie says:

      Thanks Starlene, you’re the best!

  5. Love the combination of the split peas with the spinach. Your soup looks delicious!

    1. Debbie says:

      Thanks Carol!

  6. Patti says:

    Don’t you just love finding little treasures in old book stores! The ingredients are not overpowering and I’m sure it was delicious!

    1. Debbie says:

      Yes! I was so excited to make this find! There are plenty more recipes that I plan to make from this book.

  7. I love hearty split pea soups like this. This looks like a combination of all my favourite soups to date. Yum!

    1. Debbie says:

      Thanks Janet, I hope you enjoy it!

  8. Desiree says:

    I am excited to make this tonight, but I dont see in the directions where I should be adding the spinach. Did I miss something? Help!

    1. Debbie says:

      I’m so sorry Desiree! Good catch! I’ve just updated the instructions on when to add the spinach. I also emailed you. Once again, my apologies and I hope I haven’t ruined dinner!

      1. Desiree says:

        Not at all. Thank you SO much for the speedy response. Im just now starting it. Thanks!

        1. Debbie says:

          Phew! I’m glad 🙂 Hope you enjoy it!

  9. Rogene says:

    That looks really good. I love split peas and spinach.

    1. Debbie says:

      Thanks Rogene, and thank you for stopping by!

  10. Miz Helen says:

    Hi Debbie,
    This is a great combination for a lovely Spring Soup, it looks delicious! Hope you have a wonderful Easter Celebration and thank you so much for sharing at Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  11. I love the combination of spit pea and spinach. Please share this on my foodie friday linky. I ‘m going to subscribe to your blog.

    1. Debbie says:

      Thanks Diane, I just linked up!

  12. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures’ Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back later tonight when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! 🙂

  13. I always browse the book section at 2nd hand stores and garage sales. Sounds like you found yourself a nice little treasure. The soup looks delicious! I’m a bit late this week, but want to thank you for sharing at last week’s Allergy-Free Wednesdays. We hope that we’ll see you again this week.

    ~Michelle, AFW Hostess

  14. peacelove&camping says:

    hey, great recipe! wondering how long it keeps once made; this is the kind of thing my toddler likes for breakfast, but i’m not getting up at 5 to start it 😉 thanks 😀

    1. Debbie says:

      It will keep 4-5 days in the fridge, but you could freeze it also. My daughter likes split pea soup too so I freeze it in an ice cube tray then transfer the frozen cubes into a bag which I keep in the freezer. Then all I have to do is pull out a few cubes and heat them up! That sounds like a good healthy breakfast to me!

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