Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Recipe for Lemony Yellow Split Pea Side Dish with Garlic and Ginger (with or without Cilantro)

Lemony Yellow Split Pea Side Dish
I loved the combination of flavors in this side dish of lemony yellow split peas with garlic and ginger.
I am now officially in love with this side dish of lemony yellow split peas flavored with minced garlic, ginger, and I cilantro.  Even for those who insist on leaving out the cilantro, this is one of the most interesting flavor combinations I've tasted in a long time.  And in this month when so many people are looking for Phase One recipes, this is a Phase One side dish!  True, you need to limit portion sizes for this to 1/2 cup serving for phase one, but a small amount of this sharing the plate with a nice piece of fish or meat and a salad would make a lovely phase one meal.

I'm guessing at least some of you are looking at this suspiciously, but if you've ever eaten Indian food and enjoyed one of the creamy lentil stew dishes in the category called Dal, this is the same idea except the yellow split peas are left a little firmer.  This dish can be vegan if you use vegetable stock, and for vegetarians this would make a wonderful stew-like main dish if you aren't doing phase one.  Even if you've never cooked anything like this, I urge you to be adventurous and  I bet you'll be surprised how much you like it.

This is the yellow split peas before cooking.  They look just like lentils only they're yellow.  I bought these in the bulk section at Whole Foods, but the grocery store by my house also carries yellow lentils in one-pound bags.

The recipe recommended rinsing the yellow split peas, and it did remove some of the extra starch and help the loose hulls to rise to the top.  (If I had yellow split peas from a bag I might not bother to rinse them.

I'm a fan of minced garlic and ginger that come in a jar for some things, but for a recipe like this you need fresh garlic and ginger root.   Use a big chef's knife to chop up 3-4 garlic cloves to get 2 tsp. finely minced garlic.

Heat 2 T olive oil in a small heavy dutch oven, add the minced garlic and saute 1 minute.

Add the yellow split peas and stir until they're well coated with oil.  Then add the chicken or vegetable stock, bring to a simmer, cover and simmer until the split peas are soft but not mushy and most of the stock is absorbed.

The recipe said 20-30 minutes cooking time, but I simmered mine for 45 minutes to get them to look like this.  (Don't worry if there's a little bit of stock left; most of it will absorb during the resting time.)

When the split peas are done, season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and add 1 T minced fresh ginger root, 1 T lemon zest, and 1/4 cup lemon juice.  Stir into the split peas, then cover again and let it rest 10-15 minutes.

If you like cilantro, chop up some while the split peas are resting.  (The cilantro is completely optional, but it was good in this.)  Serve split peas with chopped cilantro if desired and additional lemon slices to squeeze on at the table.

Lemony Yellow Split Pea Side Dish with Garlic and Ginger (with or without Cilantro)
(Makes 6-8 small side dish servings or 4-6 main dish servings if eating as a vegetarian stew; recipe adapted slightly from The Sunset Cookbook.)

2 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. finely minced garlic (about 3-4 cloves garlic; do not use minced garlic from a jar for this recipe)
2 cups yellow split peas, picked over and rinsed if needed
4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 T minced fresh ginger root (do not use minced ginger from a jar for this recipe)
1 T lemon zest (grated lemon peel)
1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
(I used 2 lemons to get this much grated lemon zest and fresh squeezed lemon juice.)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
chopped cilantro to sprinkle on at serving time (optional)
additional lemon wedges to squeeze on at serving time (optional)

Put yellow split peas in a bowl and pick over, removing any hulls or stones you find in the lentils.  Rinse with cold water if needed and drain.  (If you buy bulk split peas I would rinse, but split peas purchased in a bag probably don't need rinsing.)

Finely mince 3-4 garlic cloves to make 2 tsp. minced garlic.  Heat olive oil in a small heavy dutch oven, add garlic and saute 1 minute or just until garlic becomes fragrant.  Add yellow split peas and stir several times so all the split peas get coated with oil.

Add chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a low simmer, then cover simmer until split peas are soft but not mushy and liquid is mostly absorbed, about 30-45 minutes.  (The recipe said 20-30 minutes, but mine took 45 minutes to become soft.  Cooking time is determined by how old the split peas are.)

While split peas are cooking, zest the lemons, then squeeze the juice.  Finely mince fresh ginger root to make 1 T minced ginger.  When split peas are soft and most of the liquid is absorbed, season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and stir in the lemon zest, minced ginger, and lemon juice.  Put the lid back on and let the split peas rest 10-15 minutes to develop flavors.  (Don't worry if there is still some liquid; most of it will absorb during the resting time.)

While split peas are resting chop cilantro and cut lemon wedges (if using.)  Serve warm, with chopped cilantro and lemon wedges to guests to use at the table if desired.

South Beach Suggestions: 
Lentils and split peas area good low-glycemic choice for the South Beach Diet, but all dried beans and legumes should be limited to 1/3 to 1/2 cup serving for phase one.  I'd eat this as a side dish for phase one to go with something like Herb Encrusted Grilled Salmon or Chile Mustard Pork Kabobs, with a nice green salad on the side.  For phase 2 or 3 you could eat a larger portion as a vegetarian stew.

Other Bloggers Cook with Yellow Split Peas:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Yellow Split Pea Soup from 101 Cookbooks
Yellow Split Pea and Sausage Soup from The Perfect Pantry
Basic Yellow Split Pea Dal from Viet World Kitchen
Yellow Split Pea Dal from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen
Yellow Split Pea Spread from Spicie Foodie
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.) counter customizable free hit
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More to Chew On:


  1. Even though I'm one of those people who would leave out the cilantro, I love the combination of flavors in this dish. Yellow split peas are so creamy and delicious.

  2. I don't think I like split peas. But I love cilantro...so hmmmm..

  3. Phase One? Wow! Who knew? This is good news.

    I love love love cilantro!

  4. looks good - I bet a little curry would be a nice touch as well

  5. Lydia, I agree about the yellow split peas. Very tasty!

    Pam, do you like lentils? If you do I bet you'd like this. The recipe did say you could make it with brown lentils as well, but I say no way!

    Mimi, yes you can have all types of dried beans and lentils on phase one, but very small amounts.

    Doggybloggy, I don't think I'd add curry because there is already a lot of flavor going on, but go ahead and try it if it sounds good to you!

  6. WOW! This looks super tasty. I also looked into the ingredients how this one is prepared, I find it very healthy too. My friends who love Indian food will surely give this a go. Thank you so much for sharing this! :)

  7. Wow this is super intriguing! I actually haven't seen any split pea dishes that caught my eye in a while but with the garlic and ginger in this one...well I'll definitely be giving it a go!

  8. Linda, the original recipe had butter which I replaced with olive oil. Other than that, super healthy way to prepare split peas.

    Joanne, this is full of flavor. If you like split peas, give it a try.

  9. I love that the majority of your recipes, I have the ingredients on hand. Thanks for keeping everything so simple! I can't wait to try these.

  10. I love dal, lentils, legumes, whatever you want to call it. I will definitely give this a try considering it's time for a much overdue cleanse. Thanks for the inspiration, Kalyn!

  11. I love the color of this dish. I am sure it tastes good too:)

  12. the color is fabulous, and I love split peas, so I am sure it tastes fabulous too. thanks!

  13. Renie, how lucky is that! I do try to keep that in mind.

    Vanessa, you're welcome. Glad it was timely.

    Maria, if you like lemon, garlic, ginger, and cilanatro you'll love this.

    Culinarian, thank you. You'll like it if you like split peas.

  14. this was DELICIOUS! so easy too. at first i thought the lemon was too strong but the cilantro totally balances it out. i used red lentils instead as i couldn't find yellow at my market. i served with roasted cauliflower and broccoli and a little brown rice for a perfect vegan dinner.

    thanks for another yummy dish, this is a keeper.

    < i can never get my lentils to keep their shape though, they are always mushy :( hmmm >

  15. Randibeth, so glad you liked it so much. Red lentils are softer than others, so that's why they didn't keep their shape. You're not doing anything wrong, the red lentils just get soft much more quickly!

  16. Kalyn, Nothing beats lentils! Or may be I'm partial towards it being an Indian. Lovely pictures :)

  17. Kulsum, thank you! I love them too, not sure where I got the taste for them because I never had any lentils except green split peas as a kid (and of course, I did not like them them.)

  18. I've never tried cooking with yellow split peas, just the green ones. Your pictures look so enticing that I may have to try this. And definitely with cilantro. Yum!

  19. Heather, the split peas are creamy and delicious. I think you'll like it. And definitely with cilantro!

  20. I've never cooked yellow split peas before, but this was easy, came out great and was delicious (minus the cilantro). I'm a big fan of them now.

  21. It's delicious. Great flavor combo. I haven't tried it with cilantro yet; will do tomorrow. Thnx for the great recipe.

  22. I found a forgotten bag of yellow split peas on the shelf and went looking for a side dish to use them in. I used your recipe with a hint of turmeric in the broth. I didn't want to hit the store and so had to make do with some frozen cilantro and ginger. This still worked very well and will be a keeper in my MasterCook collection.


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