Swedish Yellow Split Pea Soup {Vegan}

yellow pea soup 1
Yellow split peas. I like them. A lot. Cheap, easy to prepare, creamy, versatile, naturally gluten-free and vegan, and loaded with protein to fuel me through long days and long runs alike, my affection runs deep.

The color is key; it’s yellow or bust. Despite green being my favorite color, I am no fan of the green split pea. The green variety looks so pretty when dry, but cook them and they take on a gray-brown cast akin to a muddy army jeep. Green split peas have a sharper pea flavor, too, which would be wonderful if I liked sharp pea flavor, but I don’t.

By contrast, their golden cousins are mellow, creamy, and play beautifully with other flavors both mild and strong.

yellow pea soup 2

This humble soup is one I have been making since my graduate school days–a perfect post-Thanksgiving repast that is soothing, satisfying and energizing (10K run after work, anyone?) in one fell swoop. It looks like a bowl of sunshine to boot, so go ahead and spoon up some cheer.

For more yellow split pea love, check out these easy, delicious recipes:

Lemony Yellow Split Pea Side Dish with Garlic and Ginger @ Kalyn’s Kitchen (SOOO good!)
Greek Yellow Split Pea Puree @ Girl CooksWorld (Fabulous! Like Hummus)
Yellow Split Pea Dal @ Phoebe Bites (easily makes a meal with some veg and bread)


Superfood Spotlight: Split Peas
Dried split peas, like other legumes, are rich in soluble fiber.
They also contain an isoflavone called daidzein, which acts like weak estrogen in the body. The consumption of daidzein has been linked to a reduced risk of certain health conditions, including breast and prostate cancer. Split peas are particularly rich in potassium, a mineral that can help lower blood pressure and control fluid retention, and may help limit the growth of potentially damaging plaques in the blood vessels.


Swedish Yellow Split Pea Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Yellow pea soup is traditionally served every Thursday night in Sweden. If you’ve ever wondered why bags of yellow split peas are sold at IKEA, that’s why!
Recipe by::
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 6
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped carrots
  • ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1-1/3 cups dried yellow split peas, rinsed
  • 6 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth (or water + ½ tsp sea salt)
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley or dill, divided
  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots and pepper; cook, stirring, for 6 to 8 minutes or until vegetables are softened.
  2. Stir in peas and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 35 to 40 minutes or until peas are very tender.
  3. Transfer 1 cup of the soup solids to food processor. Add water and purée until smooth. Return purée to pan and stir in half the parsley or dill. Simmer, stirring often, for 5 minutes to blend the flavors, thinning soup with water if too thick. Serve sprinkled with the remaining parsley or dill.
* An equal amount of dried yellow lentils or green split peas may be used in place of the yellow split peas.
Storage Tip
* Store the cooled soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or in the microwave using the Defrost function. Warm soup in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ⅙ of recipe Calories: 236 Fat: 4.3 g Saturated fat: 0.8 g Carbohydrates: 36.8 g Sugar: 7.5 g Sodium: 417 mg Fiber: 12.8 g Protein: 11.3 g Cholesterol: 0 mg


  1. Laura says

    Made the soup with dill to rave reviews from the kids (they had 2(!) bowls). Great stick to the ribs soup for winter. Thank you for the recipe!

  2. Barb Nettnay says

    Camilla, I was going to make this using the red lentils but much to my surprise my local bulk food had the yellow split peas. I made it last night for my Bible study class using frozen dill from the summer, and everyone (9 people) loved it. I just carried the recipe and a bag of the peas to my pastor.

    • Camilla says

      Oh, that’s wonderful Barb! And what a great gift to give to your pastor! All the best :)

  3. says

    hi there,

    I made this and added a few things to make it a little heartier like Kale and sausage, however, I did all the beginning steps as you listed and the peas after an extra hour and then some are still not as soft as I’m used to. I looked it up and they said adding an acid or a salt before the beans will keep them from softening quickly. No one else has had this issue w/ the bit of salt that’s added at the beginning? (sorry about the missing capitalization. Even with the caps lock on for some reason leaving this comment it won’t let me capitalize anything.) Thanks!

    • Camilla says

      Hi Angel!

      Oh no, I am so sorry that happened. I can tell you this, though: it has happened to me. The amount of salt is most likely not the problem, but rather the peas. There is actually a name for peas that, for a number of reasons, get too hard and will not break down–it’s called HTC (there is a name for it, really!). It has to due to the storage and the age of the peas–not your fault (i.e not that you stored them improperly or that you have had them too long), but that particular batch of peas had issues. There is a long discussion of it on CHOW.com. Here is the link. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/754994 I am sure that, with a new batch of peas, you will have lovely results!

  4. Ellen says

    I found your recipe while trying to locate the original back-of-the-bag recipe from Goya. Goya doesn’t publish their recipe online. Their version is really minimalist: Soak the peas, add two chicken bouillon cubes and six cups water and bring to a boil, add chopped carrot, onion and celery, cook until all is tender, add salt and pepper to taste, that’s it. No oil, no sauteing vegetables beforehand, just simmer it all together. I had no celery today so I substituted a cup each of chopped fresh tomatoes and frozen chopped spinach, and a bay leaf. If I’d had parsley I would have thrown that in too. The soup was quite good (would have been better with fresh dill, If I’d know.

  5. Lucy says

    Hi THere. THis sounds really tasty and I’m looking forward to trying it out. Did you soak the peas overnight before cooking? I was going to make this last night and then realised I was meant to soak the peas so am doing that now. But just wondering how necessary it is to soak the peas and why people do it? Cheers!

    • Camilla says

      Hi Lucy! No, no need to soak split peas or lentils–which is why they are so great to keep on hand for quick meals! :)

  6. steve farmer says

    hi camilla,

    Wanted to say a big thank you for the recipe. It was easy to make, great value for money (important these days) and best of all, my 8 year old daughter loves it. She’s been a vegetarian for nearly two years but doesn’t like vegetables, so this soup is fantastic. I like my soups smooth so I blitzed the lot and to my delight the results were perfect. Thanks again,
    Steve (and Keira)

  7. says

    Hi there! I am about to give it a go, I never usually leave replies like this but I loved your lead up before the recipe and your replies to people are so upbeat and friendly I couldn’t resist lol!
    It sounds really yummy, normally I just boil the peas up with salt and lots of water until they dissolve and eat it the way. I was looking for something different which is how I found yours. I’m not a giant fan of carrots but I will give it a go!

    • Camilla says

      Hi Nadine! Oh, great I am glad you are going to try it! It’s such an easy, delicious recipe. I am glad I am not the only one who eats soup in the summer–I get really chilled in the air conditioning sometimes! Plus I love soup :)

  8. Sally says

    It looks lovely. I’m going to try it tonight – suits a cold and wet Sydney evening. Looking forward to it.

  9. Sally says

    I was looking online for a recipe for yellow peas and I cam across this one. It looked delicious as well as wholesome so I decided to give it a go. The really good thing about this recipe is that it is very easy to create. The result – beautiful – tasty and simple.

  10. says

    I made this tonight and have just tasted it – delicious.

    I’m looking for fat burner recipes and this seems to fit the bill for me.

    Thank you so much for the recipe, and nice to get the background information too.

  11. Leanna says

    I wanted to try this just as you presented it, but caved and added two sliced up pieces of raw bacon as it started cooking. Gave it a few whomps with a potato masher instead of taking some out to puree; otherwise made as presented. Wow. So much better than expected. I think it would be as delicious and satisfying without the bacon, but I wanted a little more complete protein. Even hubby was impressed. Yum!

  12. Steven says

    It looks nice! I noticed someone using bacon which is a nice touch as it traditionally is made with cured pork, like cured ham hock.

    But I would like to ask why the spices are left out? Traditionally you should have marjoram, thyme and cloves besides salt and pepper. Dried bay leaves is good to add as well.

    When the soup is ready you season it further with a few tablespoons of mustard. Preferably a coarse variety (like Scanian mustard) =)

    /A Swede

  13. Sarah says

    Just tried this to use up so split peas that had been floating around my cupboard for ages and loved it. So simple, so few ingredients but very rich and satisfying. Will also try other people’s suggestions of bacon and leafy greens next time too. A winner!

  14. Arlene says

    Have had a bag of yellow split peas in the cupboard forever, and this afternoon finally decided to do something with it. I’m so glad I picked your recipe for this wonderful soup. It was easy to follow and I had everything available except for the dill and parsley. Since someone here mentioned using bay leaves and that’s what I had, I put in two small leaves, then decided to also include half a tablespoon of dried basil. I don’t know what the soup is supposed to really taste like, but I definitely love the result. Next time, will plan ahead and make with parsley, marjoram and thyme. Thanks!

  15. Laeeka says

    My husband asked me to make yellow split pea soup, and never having had it myself I wasn’t too sure how it would turn out. I also didn’t have all the ingredients or the quantities of some of the ingredients I needed, however I must say this soup turned out wonderfully, and was so simple to make! Thanks for the recipe. I think he will enjoy it too!!

    • Camilla says

      So happy to hear it, Laeeka! This is a vegetarian recipe my (otherwise meat-eating) husband actually requests :)

  16. Megan says

    I made this soup this afternoon. You’re so right about the color of yellow peas as opposed to the green! I added celery, fresh garlic, thyme, and a dried bay leaf. So good! Thanks :)

    • Camilla says

      So glad you enjoyed it, Megan! I know, love the yellow split peas — I find the taste milder than the green ( in a very good way), too.

  17. Taylor says

    Wow! I wasn’t sure what to expect from this soup but I had a giant bag of split yellow peas in my cabinet so I decided to try it. I followed the recipe exactly but used dried dill since that’s what I had on hand. This soup is so hearty and delicious I can’t wait to make it again! It’s pleasantly sweet which I wasn’t expecting. And to top it all off I used about $4 worth of ingredients to make the whole pot! Can’t beat that!

    • Camilla says

      So glad you enjoyed it, Taylor! It’s one of my favorite soups in the winter, too–I don’t like green split peas at all but I love the yellow ones because they are so mild and creamy. Yes, the carrots give the soup a pleasant sweetness! :)

  18. Stacey says

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I really struggle to find recipes with vegetables that my toddler will eat and he loves this soup! I keep the ingredients on hand and have been making it every couple of weeks – so quick and easy!

    • Camilla says

      Wonderful, Stacey! What a good little eater that she likes split pea soup! This is one of my go-to soups, too :)

  19. Barry says

    My wife and I just had yellow pea soup for our lunch. She added parsnips and carrots and onions. It was AMAZING! We finished with chilled blueberry soup…SOOOOO GOOD!


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