Soup for Supper – Vegetarian Red Wine Split Pea Soup

Like most kids, I grew up avoiding split pea soup. A big bowl of salty, over-cooked, olive-green puree serves as Exhibit A for every tasteless cafeteria meal I’ve ever been served. But as an adult I LOVE split pea soup, and really – what’s not to love? Split peas are inexpensive, really healthy, and quick cooking – so I can decide at 5pm to have pea soup for dinner and can have it on the table by 6:30 at the latest. The trick is to cook it just long enough for the peas to be tender but not mushy, and to add plenty of herbs and other healthy flavorings.You might not think of wine when looking for a split pea soup recipe, but it’s a great way to add flavor without fat and salt. First some background.

Last summer we stopped producing our Wine Barrel Gourmet Red Wine soup mixes. Since then I have been fielding numerous calls and responding to emails and letters from disappointed customers. The requests have been so prolific that I promised to post the recipes so everyone can re-create our soups at home. (Note – this isn’t the exact soup mix recipe, since the packaged mixes included several dried ingredients that aren’t easily available to home cooks – but it’s close.)

This recipe makes 6, one-cup servings.

Saute 1 garlic clove (minced), 1 medium onion or shallot (minced) and 2 large carrots (diced) in 2 Tbsp of olive oil until soft but not browned. Add the following:

  • 1 cup green split peas
  • 1/3 cup yellow split peas
  • 1 – 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp grated orange peel
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp ajwain seed
  • 2 tsp muscovado sugar

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until peas are tender, but not mushy – about 50 – 60 minutes, adding more water if necessary. Stir in 1/4 cup red wine. Heat through before serving.

This recipe leaves lots of room to experiment. You can add potatoes or winter squash for an even more filling soup. It can be served over rice or cous cous. If you are a purist looking for a healthy version of split pea soup add 1 cup of chopped, cooked lean ham for traditional flavor without the traditional fat and salt. If you like a smoky flavoring but want to keep the soup vegetarian, add up to 1 tsp of Spanish paprika.

So, how do you feel about Split Pea Soup? Are you a lover or a hater?

Fine the recipe for our Red Wine Lentil Soup here.

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About the Author

Renee Pottle, an author and heart-healthy educator, loves to explore and write about the Mediterranean Diet. She blogs at and

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