Split Pea Soup (Snert) is a quintessential leftover ham recipe and a personal family favorite. Packed full of fiber, protein, and loads of healthy vegetables, enjoy this comforting and delicious Split Pea Soup Recipe with Ham all week long or freeze leftovers and enjoy later!
A big pot filled with comforting Split Pea Soup is the perfect way to stretch that leftover holiday ham just a little further. Somewhat ugly in looks, but delicious in taste, Split Pea Soup with Ham is one of those feel-good recipes I look forward to making each year.
You see, Split Pea Soup (or Snert to all my Dutch friends) is a family tradition at my house. Somewhat predictable come the holiday season, my family would make a holiday ham for Christmas day and follow-up with Split Pea Soup just as soon as we worked through the leftovers.
Split Pea Soup
Split Pea Soup, or Pea Soup, is a soup made from dried peas, usually split peas. With variations from many countries and cultures, Split Pea Soup may look green or yellow, come served with or without meat, and may be served thick or watery.
There are two versions of Split Pea Soup that I know and love- the American version and the Netherlands version.
- American Split Pea Soup. Typically served as a smooth puree or a thinner, somewhat watery soup with visible chunks of peas, ham, or other vegetables.
- Netherlands Erwtensoep (Snert). Unlike the U.S. version, snert is more like a thick stew with different cuts of pork, celery, onions, carrots, and potato. Often, smoked sausage is added just before serving and it is traditionally served with dark rye bread.
Each version, the American and the Dutch, deserve their own post as they are so different. And, despite my heavy Dutch roots, I must admit that I prefer the watered down American version of this delicious stew. My husband, on the other hand, prefers the Dutch version.
Split Pea Soup with Ham Ingredients
- Leftover ham bone with meat
- Bay leaves
- Green split peas
- Dried thyme
What are Split Peas?
Split Peas are a type of field pea grown specifically for drying.
Split peas become split peas when the peas are hulled and then split in half either manually or by machine at the naturally occurring split in the seed’s cotyledon. Grown in both yellow and green varieties, split peas are used in a variety of dishes from soup, to curries, to stews. Yellow split peas tend to be somewhat milder in flavor, while green split peas are sweeter.
Do split peas need to be soaked? No, like lentils, split peas do not need to be soaked. They do, however, need to be thoroughly rinsed and washed to remove any small stones or impurities that may have made their way past sorting.
Also like lentils, split peas are packed full of awesome of nutritional benefits.
- Low in fat.
- High in fiber.
- High in protein.
- Good source of vitamins A, B, and magnesium.
How to make Split Pea Soup
To make this Split Pea Soup Recipe you may either pre-boil the leftover ham bone (as I did) or add the ham bone at the same time as the split peas. If I have an especially large ham bone I will always boil the bone separately and divide the broth in half to use in two separate soups.
This, of course, is completely optional as it will add an additional hour to the cooking time. As I only make one ham each year and I love deeply flavored soups, I like to really make my ham count.
Start by placing your ham bone in a large stockpot and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for one hour. After an hour or so, remove the ham hone and strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer into a large, clean pot. Set aside the bone to cool.
Meanwhile, chop and prepare plenty of vegetables. I like to add at least two medium onions, lots of carrots, celery, and garlic. Feel free to add chopped leeks or potatoes, too. Cook the vegetables over medium-low heat for at least 10-15 minutes, stirring often. The idea is to soften and enhance their flavor, but not caramelize them.
Once the broth is ready, add the bay leaves, split peas, thyme, and approximately 10-12 cups of broth. You may season with a pinch of salt and pepper, but I recommend waiting to add too much additional salt until closer to serving. As the soup returns to a simmer, remove as much meat from the pork bone as possible and add to the pot.
Allow the soup to simmer for at least 2 hours as the split peas will cook down and thicken over time. I do not puree my split pea soup with an immersion blender or stand blender as I prefer a somewhat chunkier soup.
Once the split peas have cooked fully, you may adjust the thickness and seasoning to your personal preference. The longer you simmer your soup, the thicker it will become. Should you find that your soup is too thick, simply add extra water or stock. Also, keep in mind that this Split Pea Soup with Ham will thicken considerably as it cools.
How to store leftover split pea soup
Tons of good news here, you guys.
First, split pea soup is even better leftover the next day (or two days later) than the day it was made. The flavors really have time to marinate and mix together.
If, however, you’re not really into the leftovers, you can easily freeze this leftover split pea soup with ham for a quick family meal or in pre-portioned containers for lunch.
How to freeze split pea soup:
- Allow the soup to cool completely before dividing or transferring. I recommend refrigerating overnight, if possible.
- Freeze in either large gallon or quart-sized freezer bags or in freezer-friendly containers.
- Place the soup-filled bags on a baking sheet or on a flat surface in the freezer to freeze, always making sure to leave a small amount of room in each bag for expansion during freezing.
- Freeze completely and stack each on top of each other or side-by-side for easy storage.
To thaw, transfer frozen bags of split pea soup to the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
How to make Split Pea Soup without Ham or Pork
It is easy to make this split pea soup recipe without the addition of any ham or pork. In fact, you can easily prepare this delicious and hearty wintertime soup without any animal products at all.
Simply leave out the ham bone and use water in place of any kind of broth.
Still loaded with healthy vegetable flavors, add a teaspoon of smoked paprika for some extra smokiness and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.
If you try making this Split Pea Soup with Ham, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to read your thoughts and feedback!
For more soup recipes check out,
- Curry Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk
- Pho Recipe (How to Make Vietnamese Noodle Soup)
- Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe
- Bone Broth Recipe (How to Make Bone Broth)
- Easy Minestrone Soup Recipe (Stovetop + Slow Cooker)
- Cauliflower Leek and Potato Soup (Dairy-Free)
- Cambodian Pork and Cucumber Soup
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Split Pea Soup with Ham
- 1 ham bone with meat, leftover ham bone works best
- 10-12 cups water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 yellow onions, chopped
- 6 large carrots, diced
- 4 stalks celery, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 2.5 cups split green peas, rinsed well
- 1 tsp thyme
- salt + pepper, to taste
- Fresh chopped parsley, for serving
- Croutons, for serving
- Tabasco sauce, for serving
- Boil the Ham Bone (optional). Place your ham bone in a large soup pot and cover with enough water to fully submerge the ham bone. Cover pot and bring water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 1 hour (see notes).
- Remove the Ham Bone and Strain Broth. After an hour or so, remove the ham bone from heat and strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer into a large, clean pot. Place the ham bone on a large plate and allow it to cool.
- Cook the vegetables. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add olive oil and onions and mix to coat. Sauté for 3-4 minutes or just until the onions just start to soften. Mix in the chopped carrots and celery and sauté for an additional 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the minced garlic and mix to combine.
- Add the Split Peas. Add bay leaves, green split peas, thyme, salt and pepper. Add 10-12 cups of prepared broth, or mix of prepared broth plus low-sodium beef broth (see note below) and stir. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to a low and cover.
- Add meat to the soup. As the soup cooks, cut off as much meat from the ham bone as possible and add to the pot. Add the bone to the pot, as well.
- Simmer the soup. The longer the soup cooks, the better. That said, allow at least 2 hours for the soup to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally. After two hours, the soup should be thickening. Add more broth, as needed.
- Serve. When ready to eat, season with additional salt and pepper to taste and discard bay leaves. Serve with croutons, if desired. Enjoy!
- You can skip boiling the ham bone separately, and simply add the ham bone at the same time as the split peas; however, I like to make a separate ham broth and decide from there how much I want to include in the soup. Depending on how fatty your bone is, the broth may be very heavy; usually, in this case, I’ll reserve half the broth for later use and substitute the other half with water or low-sodium beef broth.
- The soup will thicken as it cools. To reheat, add water to the soup until desired consistency is reached.
- If you do not have a leftover ham bone, substitute with two ham hocks.
- Freeze leftovers in a gallon or quart-sized freezer safe bag or another freezer safe container. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator or at room temperature before reheating (never reheat in the plastic bag).