It might not win any beauty contests, but Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Chicken Sausage and Carrots is still a beautiful thing to come home to!
I've had a life-long attraction to split pea soup, even though I don't remember my mother ever making it when I was a kid. Not only do I love the creamy flavor of the split peas, but this type of soup is about as budget-friendly as you can get, and this Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Chicken Sausage and Carrots is a healthy dinner that can cook all day while you're at work. And even though some people don't like the looks of this type of soup, coming home to soup in the slow cooker on a cold winter night is definitely a beautiful thing. (Check out the Slow Cooker Photo Index Page for more slow cooker soup ideas!)
I made this soup with Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausage, one of my favorite sausage varieties, but any type of chicken or turkey sausage will work, or use leftover ham if you prefer. I used carrots for a pop of color and flavor, but if you replace the carrots with red bell pepper you can make a lower-carb version of this soup that's equally delicious. If you're starting this in the morning to cook all day while you're at work you can do the browning of the sausage and onions the night before and keep them in the fridge overnight. Then throw everything in the slow cooker the next morning and turn it on!
(Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Chicken Sausage and Carrots was updated with better photos, February 2015.)
Cut the sausage into fourths lengthwise and then into bite sized pieces and brown the sausage in a non-stick pan. (I used my favorite Green Pan which didn't need oil, but you might need a little olive oil with a different pan.) Put the browned sausage in the slow cooker (I used my Ninja Cooker, but a smaller slow cooker would have been fine.) Then brown the onions and add them to the slow cooker.
Add two cups green split peas, a generous amount of chopped carrots, chicken stock, water, and a packet of Goya Ham Flavored Concentrate (if using) and let the soup cook all day on low, or cook 4-5 hours on high. When split peas have disintegrated, check the consistency and add a little water to the soup if desired. Season with salt and fresh-ground black pepper and enjoy!
And just for fun, here's the original photo of this soup from 2008; it was just as delicious even if this photo is a little lacking in imagination!
Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Chicken Sausage and Carrots
(Makes about 6 servings, recipe created by Kalyn)
I used the 6 Quart Ninja Cooker for this soup, but any 4-5 quart slow cooker would work.
2 cups dried green split peas (do not need soaking)
4 links Aidells Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausage (or use other types of sausage)
1 onion, chopped into small pieces (about 1 cup chopped onion)
2-3 carrots, chopped into small pieces (about 1 1/2 cups chopped carrots)
4 cups chicken stock (I use homemade chicken stock, but canned broth or chicken stock from a carton is fine)
2 cups water
1 packet Goya Ham Flavored Concentrate (optional, but it does add a lot of flavor)
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Cut sausage lengthwise into fourths, then slice the strips into pieces about 1/2 inch square. Brown the sausage in a non-stick pan, stirring occasionally, until sausage pieces are well-browned on all sides, about ten minutes. (I didn't need to add any oil with the Aidell's sausage and my Green Pan. If you use a different brand of sausage and/or a different pan, you might need a bit of olive oil.)
Put browned sausage into crockpot, then brown the chopped onions in the fat left in the pan from the sausage, about five minutes. (I drained some of the fat before I added the onions to the pan.)
Add browned onions to crockpot, then add split peas, chopped carrots, chicken stock, water, and ham flavor concentrate (if using.) Cover crockpot and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8-10 hours. If I'm home I usually stir once or twice, but it's not essential.
When all the split peas are disintegrated into the soup, check the consistency to see if you want to add more water. (I added about 2/3 cup more water.) Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper, and serve hot. This soup will keep at least a week in the refrigerator, and it also freezes well.
South Beach/Low-Carb Suggestions:
Since this soup includes carrots, it would be a phase two option for the South Beach Diet. Using chicken or turkey sausage also helps keep the soup South Beach Diet friendly. For a lower-carb version of split pea soup, replace the carrots with red bell pepper. That change would make the soup suitable for South Beach Phase One if you use portion control.
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.
More Tasty and Budget-Friendly Crockpot Soups:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Slow Cooker Lentil Soup with Bacon ~ The Lemon Bowl
Slow Cooker Bean Soup with Ham, Spinach, and Thyme ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Slow Cooker Taco Soup ~ Tidy Mom
Crockpot (or stovetop) Black Bean Chili with Lime and Cilantro ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Slow Cooker Tangy Black Bean Soup ~ A Year of Slow Cooking
Spicy Slow Cooker Soup with Ground Turkey, Pinto Beans, Red Bell Pepper, and Green Chiles ~ Kalyn's Kitchen