Greek Yellow Split Pea Soup with Red Onion and Lemon

Source: Joyce Goldstein, from Cooking with Les Dames D’Escoffier (Sasquatch Books, 2008).

Recipe Type: | Seasons: ,

Serves 12


2 teaspoons ground cumin
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups coarsely diced onion
One 16 ounce bag (2 ¼ cups yellow split peas, sorted for debris and rinsed
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 to 2 lemons, zested for 1 teaspoon grated zest and squeezed for 2 tablespoons juice
¾ teaspoon salt plus additional as needed
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper plus additional as needed
3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion


  1. Start by toasting the cumin to give it a richer, rounder flavor.  Place a small skillet over moderate heat and when hot, add the cumin.  Stir about a minute or until the spice gives off a roasty aroma.  Immediately remove from heat and reserve.

  2. Warm 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until tender and translucent, about 8 minutes.  Add the cumin and stir for a few minutes.  Add the split peas and broth and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the peas are falling apart, about an hour.  Puree the pea mixture in a blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender.  Thin it with water or broth if too thick.  Season with the lemon zest and juice, salt, and pepper.
  3. To serve, ladle into bowls.  Top with the red onion, pepper, and oil.

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