Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Recipe for Split Pea Soup with Ham, Mushrooms, Carrots, and Wheatberries

Split Pea SoupA few hours ago I walked in the door from SXSW, where yesterday I participated in a panel about foodblogging with Rachel from Cupcakes Take the Cake, Zach from Midtown Lunch, Kathy from Not Eating Out in New York, and Addie from Relish Austin. What a talented bunch of bloggers; some of them can even Twitter while speaking intelligently in front of a large audience! (Edit: Thanks to Ryan from Nose to Tail who recorded the panel and made an mp3 of it. You can download it at his post on South-by-Southwest, Secrets of Successful Food Blogging if you want to hear it.)

I planned to post this more than a week ago, and when I made it I added the wheatberries and mushrooms in a happy experiment that resulted in a variation of split soup I really enjoyed. Then blogging was on hold for a while, so now I'm sharing the recipe after coming home from Texas and finding to lovely warm weather in Utah. Of course this is spring, where the weather will turn to snow or rain again. When that happens I'll pull some of this soup out of the freezer and enjoy it again.

Here's what wheatberries look like for anyone who's not familiar with them. Thanks to Lorna Sass for Whole Grains, Every Day Every Way, which is my go-to source whenever I'm cooking a type of grain I'm not familiar with. You could definitely use barley or farro here if you don't have wheatberries, and probably some other grain varieties as well. I loved the wheatberries in this and I'm planning to experiment with them in salad next.

Split Pea Soup with Ham, Mushrooms, Carrots, and Wheatberries
(Makes about 6 generous servings, recipe created by Kalyn.)

1/2 cup wheatberries (soak in boiling water for 1 hour)
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp. olive oil (more or less, depending on your pan)
2 cups diced ham (I also simmered the ham rind with soup for more flavor)
8 cups chicken stock (I used homemade chicken stock, but can use canned chicken stock)
4 cups water +1-2 cups more added later
1 cup +1/2 cup green split peas
1 large carrot, diced into small pieces
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Bring several cups of water to boil, place dried wheatberries in a medium-sized bowl, and pour boiling water over wheatberries. Let soak for at least one hour before proceeding with soup.

While wheatberries soak, wash and slice mushrooms. (I sliced them, then cut slices in strips for snall sliced pieces.) Saute mushrooms in olive oil until softened, then add to soup pot. In same pan, add more olive oil if needed, then saute chopped onion until soft and add to soup pot.

Drain wheatberries and add to soup pot. Then add diced ham, chicken stock, water, 1 cup split peas, diced carrot, thyme, and bay leaf (along with some pieces of ham rind if available) and bring the mixture to a low simmer. Cook for about 1 hour, or until wheatberries are softened and split peas are starting to soften and dissolve into the base of the soup. Then add 1/2 cup more split peas and 1-2 cups more water (depending on how thick you want the finished soup to be.) Remove bay leaves (and ham rind if using) then simmer soup for 45-60 minutes more, until second addition of split peas are soft but still mostly whole. Season soup to taste with fresh ground black pepper and serve hot.

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South Beach Suggestions:
Soup like this with low-glycemic split peas and wheatberries is a great choice for phase two of the South Beach Diet.

More Versions of Pea Soup You Might Like:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Crockpot Split Pea Soup with Chicken Sausage and Carrots from Kalyn's Kitchen
Chipotle and Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Double Cilantro from Kalyn's Kitchen
Yellow Split Pea Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Kale from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
Meat-Free Split Pea Soup with Barbecue Sauce from The Perfect Pantry
Summer Pea Soup from Simply Recipes
Indian-Style Split Pea Soup from Lisa's Kitchen
(Want even more pea soup recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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More to Chew On:


  1. oh my gosh i love the color and all the veggies!

  2. You somehow manage to take fabulous photos of soup - I've tried, it's hard.
    This looking so good. I'd love a bowl. Wheatberries in soup, that would be good.
    Did you enjoy Austin? We've not spent much time there but I hear it's a beautiful town.

  3. Pearl, thanks. I really liked how this soup turned out.

    Tanna, I liked Austin quite a lot although I got there late on Monday night and left at noon on Wednesday, so it was a quick trip. I'd definitely go to SXSW again if I had a chance, and I had some great food there. I was kind of surprised at how "small town" it felt in some ways, but also charming.

    As for the soup photos, I think it's the 100mm macro lens that makes a difference, but I do think soup is very hard to photograph!

  4. I hope you're well after tending to family matters.

    Split pea soup is a hearty winter dish. Here in Canada, the French-Canadian pea soup uses a smoked ham-hock...a delight!

  5. The wheatberries kinda look like barley. Do they taste the same?

  6. Peter, thanks for the kind wishes. I'm starting to get back into my normal routine.

    Nate-n-Annie, I think the taste is very similar to barley. It would be fun to do a blind taste test to see if people could tell the difference.

  7. I've been dreaming about getting to SXSW for years now! I hope you enjoyed your trip and that life is good!
    I have always LOVED split pea soup, something about the color and texture, yours looks delicious!

  8. I can't believe that I've never made a split pea soup. Everyone seems to love it, but I don't think I've even ever tasted it.

  9. Kalyn, I will have to bookmark this for when I'm back to winter. I love wheatberries.

  10. It's pretty gray here in LA today and this soup looks like it would hit the spot!! And i have to agree with Mykitcheninhalfcups... soup is hard one to photograph and you've seem to got it down, Kalyn!

  11. I love split pea soup but do you think I could use this recipe without the ham?

  12. Sue Bette, would love to go to SXSW another year. I only got to be there one day, but it was fun.

    Pam, I love split pea soup! Any variation.

    Vanielje, the wheatberries are a fun crunch in the soup. Much more crunchy than barley.

    Dani, thanks! Sorry about the gray skies.

    Hillary you could certainly leave out the ham. I might add a bit of soy sauce, or my friend Lydia adds a little barbecue sauce to bean soups for a smoky touch.

  13. Split pea soup is so perfect for spring. Yours is gorgeous. Can't wait to hear the SBSW panel. Thanks for sharing the link!

  14. Yum... I agree with MyKitcheninHalfCups...taking pictures of soup must be a specialized art...but you have mastered it! This looks delicious and I can tell from the ingredients that it is!

  15. Yum! This looks so warming and satisfying.

  16. I loved hearing the blogger panel - great advice for any food blogger, especially newbies. This soup/stew looks oh so good! I've never actually cooked with wheatberries - I use them for living Easter grass in baskets and clay pots, where the green of grass is oh so welcome while we still have snow in NH! Now is the time if you want to try growing it - just layer on top of soil and water -up in 6 days.

  17. Split pea soup and wheatberries are two of my favorites... I would never think to put them together!

  18. That looks absolutely lovely! I just found your blog through foodgawker (I was attracted by the pretty photograph!) and I will definitely be having a good browse around here!

  19. split pea is my absolute favorite bean! even better than black beans which are my specialty! other than the ham, i loooove this!

  20. Fun to find so many split pea fans. Ham is definitely optional. I've been working hard on mastering soup photos, since soup is one of my favorite things to cook, so nice to know that I'm improving.

  21. Thanks for the recipe- it was good! It was nice to not have to use a ham bone. The rind worked great. I didn't seem to be able to identify any mushroom flavor in the soup. It tasted like my regular pea soup, but it did give the soup more body. I like the wheat in it. A little chewy but I did not mind that at all. My DH said that he liked the what in there as well. Good balance. I let mine simmer a lot longer than the time in the recipe. And I did not add any extra water since we like our soup on the thick side. I am thinking that the wheat would be good in a beef soup instead of barley. I bet you already have one like that posted so I am going to go look! I very much appreciate you and your great blog!!!

  22. Station Master, thanks for the nice feedback. So glad to hear that you enjoyed the soup.


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