This comforting split pea soup recipe can be made in your slow cooker or Instant Pot. Serve this hearty, whole30 compliant soup as starter or main course.
A variation of this recipe appeared in my first cookbook, The Easy & Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook.
What Are Split Peas?
Split peas are field peas that have been peeled and dried. They are either green or yellow in color however green split peas are more commonly used when making split pea soup because they have less starch & are a little sweeter. I know the cookbook version of this recipe says that you need to pre-soak the split peas before adding them to the slow cooker. I’ve learned a lot more about slow cooking in years since I wrote that cookbook. One thing I learned is that pre-soaking split peas is not necessary. Actually the opposite – one of the advantages of cooking split peas (vs whole peas) is that they do not require pre-soaking before cooking. Are split peas healthy? Yes! Split peas are a part of the legume family so they are packed with fiber & protein but also low in fat. Dried peas in general help lower cholesterol and are a good source of B-vitamins.
Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup VIDEO:
What Is Split Pea Soup?
Split pea soup is literally soup made from dried split peas. Different regions across the world have their own takes on split pea soup. This is my easy slow cooker or Instant Pot version of Americanized split pea soup. When I think of this soup, I think – comfort food. It’s hearty, I will admit that. For me, this soup is meal itself however you can also serve it as an appetizer/starter.
Prepping The Split Peas
You don’t need to do much to the dry green split peas before you add them to the slow cooker or electric pressure cooker (Instant Pot). Add the dry split peas to a colander and rinse for a minute under cold water. Remove any any obvious debris. That’s it! As I mentioned earlier, there is no need to pre-soak the peas before you start to make the split pea soup.
Using Smoked Turkey
My husband doesn’t eat pork but he loves split pea soup so a few years ago I started making it with smoked turkey instead. Turkey necks to be exact. I quickly found that smoked turkey necks don’t have a lot of meat on them so I graduated to smoked turkey wings which is what I used here. You can use your preferred cut of smoked turkey whether it be wings, neck, leg, thigh, etc. The more traditional version of split pea soup uses a ham bone, ham hock, or another cut of cooked or smoked pork. Of course you can substitute pork for the turkey if you want to. Another option is to use the leftover shredded meat of your choice. To make this a vegan/vegetarian split pea soup, simply omit the meat all together and use water or vegetable broth.
If I made this split pea soup a year a go, I would not have been able to label it as whole30 but as of 2020, peas are now whole30 compliant! Peas: sugar snap peas, snow peas, green peas, yellow peas, and split peas are allowed during whole30. Whoo hoo! I can now go back and remake my slow cooker shepherd’s pie recipe with proper peas. I digress. Anyway, please note that peas are still not paleo or low-carb.
Other comfort food soup recipes you might enjoy:
IF you have leftover soup, you can absolutely freeze it for later. Once the soup has cooled, add it to souper cubes or plastic freezer bags. I like to lay soup flat to freeze but that’s just me. Store in your freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to re-heat the split pea soup, thaw in the refrigerator and then reheat in the slow cooker or Instant Pot on the warm setting, or simmer in a saucepan on the stovetop.
- 16 ounces dry green split peas, rinsed & debris removed
- 1 pound smoked turkey meat (I used turkey wing)
- 6 cups water or low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 medium-size carrots, peeled & diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt (or more)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp oil (for pressure cooker)
- Rinse peas and add to the slow cooker.
- Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, and water/broth. Stir to mix well.
- Nestle in smoked meat if using. Add bay leaf on top.
- Cook HIGH 3-4 hours or LOW 6-8.
- Remove bay leaf & stir.
- If you’re using meat: remove the meat from the slow cooker, shred and stir back into the soup.
Electric Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot)
- Turn on the IP and select sauté. Once hot, add oil, carrots, celery, and onion. Cook 5-7 minutes until soft. Add garlic & cook an additional minute.
- Pour in water/broth and deglaze the bottom of the pressure cooker by scraping all the bits off with a wooden spoon.
- Rinse split peas and add to the pressure cooker along with the thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir to mix well. Nestle in the smoked turkey. Add bay leaf on top.
- Close lid and seal valve. Set high pressure for 15 minutes. When done, natural release the pressure for 10 minutes then quick release the remaining pressure.
- Remove bay leaf & stir.
- If you’re using meat: remove the meat from the pressure cooker, shred and stir back into the soup.
Add salt & pepper to taste when the soup is done cooking.
Soup will thicken as it cools.
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