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Split Pea Soup with Smoked Ham

Split Pea Soup with Smoked Ham

dairy free gluten free main course recipes soups

This recipe is my version of the ideal, traditional split pea soup. It’s the same version I’ve been making, without amendment, since I developed it and scribbled it into my recipe notebook back in 2004, under the heading, “As It Should Be Split Pea Soup.” It looks and tastes like split pea soup is supposed to taste, and contrary to my usual creative bent, I never change a thing. Split Pea Soup is a classic. I say, don’t mess with it!

The flavor secrets in this bowl of smoky, sweet, satisfying goodness are marjoram, and three kinds of onions: yellow onion, shallot, and leek. Also, plenty of sweet and tender carrots complement this soup like, well, peas and carrots! 

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The Best Way to Prepare Split Peas

As a super-affordable source of protein, iron, and fiber, split peas are hard to beat. But if you are on a gut-healing diet like AIP or Paleo, peas fall into a gray area for compatibility. The science behind this is best left to the experts, but if you want to look more deeply into the whys of legume-avoidance, I recommend this article from Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D. (aka The Paleo Mom): The Green Bean Controversy and Pea-Gate

On the bright side, it sounds like the levels of phytates (an anti-nutrient found in dried legumes) are substantially lower in green beans and peas than they are in other types of dried beans. More good news: There are simple measures you can take to diminish any digestive downside to eating split peas. Soaking them for a few hours and then cooking gently over low heat is a time-honored way to do the trick.

Instructions for soaking your split peas are included in the recipe. Remember to allow extra prep time for soaking. 


Thyroid-healthy Highlights:



Split Pea Soup with Smoked Ham

Split Pea Soup with Smoked Ham

Yield: 4
Author: Ginny Mahar
Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 1 H & 30 MTotal time: 8 H & 50 M
Gluten-free, Dairy-free.


  • 2 cups dried split peas
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil1
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 medium leek, white and light green part only, finely diced
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled, medium dice
  • 3 celery ribs, medium dice
  • 4 cups chicken stock, (preferably homemade)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups diced smoked ham, NOT honeyed, preferably nitrate-free
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste


  1. Cover the split peas with plenty of fresh, filtered water and soak 7 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse.
  2. Place a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the oil, onion, garlic, shallot, leek, carrots, celery, and a splash of chicken stock. Saute the vegetables, stirring occasionally, 5–10 minutes or until slightly softened.
  3. Add chicken stock, water, soaked split peas, smoked ham, bay leaves, thyme, and marjoram. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer approx. 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. The soup is done when the peas are tender, with some starting to fall apart and thicken the soup.
  4. Taste the soup before adjusting seasoning with additional salt and pepper. Some chicken broths and some hams have a sufficient amount of salt.

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