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Close up view of bowl filled with Dutch split pea soup.

Erwtensoep - Dutch Split Pea Soup

Thick and hearty Erwtensoep is a savoury delight. This smoky bowl of Dutch-style split pea soup is so comforting, just like a warm hug from Grandma on a cold winter’s day. 
Course Dinner, Soup
Cuisine Dutch
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 8 bowls
Calories 259kcal
Cost $15


  • 2 cups green split peas
  • 2 bacon bones smoked
  • 2 bacon rashers diced
  • 2.25 ltr cold water (aka 9 cups)
  • 1 onion whole, stuffed with 10 cloves
  • 2 leek chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • ½ celeriac peeled, diced into 1 cm pieces or sub with potato
  • 1 pork chop
  • 2 tsp beef stock
  • black pepper


  • Note: Start with a big pot because you’re gonna need it! Pour the green split peas straight into the empty pot, then add the bacon bones, bacon pieces, pork chop, pepper, beef stock, and clove-studded onion. Pour in the water and fire up the stove to a medium-high heat.
    2 cups green split peas, 2 bacon bones, 2 bacon rashers, 1 onion, 1 pork chop, 2 tsp beef stock, black pepper, 2.25 ltr cold water
  • Bring to the boil then simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Scoop off any broth foam that appears. Remove the pork chop and slice the meat off the bones - we’ll be adding the meat back in later.
  • Add all the chopped veggies (leeks, carrots and celeriac) and give everything a good stir. Cook over a medium heat for 30 minutes until soft and delicious. Stir occasionally to avoid the vegetables sticking to the bottom.
    2 leek, 2 carrots, ½ celeriac
  • At the "15 minutes-to-go" mark remove the bacon bones and the clove-studded onion. Discard the bones. Remove the cloves from the onion and discard the cloves, then chop the onion. Add the chopped onion and pork back into the soup.
  • Now you’ve got a big choice friends. To blend - or not to blend? To blend, use a stick blender, regular blender or food processor and blend the soup in batches til you’re happy with the consistency. Or you can easily leave it chunky! We won't judge. Your final soup/stew should be thick enough for a spoon to stand upright.



  • Studding the onion with the cloves means you don't have to go fishing for the tiny bits and pieces later!
  • If you find the cloves too hard to put in the onion, try poking little slits in the onion first with a knife, then pushing them in with the back of a spoon instead of using your fingers.
  • Let the onion cool a little before cutting it up, as it stays quite hot. Otherwise, use tongs or a fork to hold it in place without touching it. If you're feeling really lazy, put it back in whole and just blend it later.
  • If you want to use the soup as a base for something like Pie Floater with Pea Soup, blend it for the best consistency to hold up the pie.
  • Can I use yellow or green split peas? You can use either. We do prefer green split peas for the slightly sweeter flavour, but use what you have on hand.
  • Can you freeze split pea soup? Definitely! This recipe makes such a big batch, it's perfect to portion out and freeze for later.
  • How do you thicken erwtensoep? Blending the soup at the end will help to give a thicker consistency to the final dish, or you can add a couple of chopped potatoes to the ingredients list. If it's still not thick enough, try creating a slurry (1 tbsp cornflour with 2 tbsp cold milk) to add to the mix. Stir it in, and that should help thicken over a few minutes.
  • Substitute celeriac with a couple of potatoes, turnips, parsnips or celery stalks.
  • Swap out the bacon bones for either a ham hock, Polish kielbasa or just a couple of drops of liquid smoke to give the soup that smoky flavour.
  • You can use yellow split peas if required, the taste will be slightly different, but should yield "souper" similar results.
  • Make it vegan by omitting the meat and adding extra vegetables such as potato to make up the weight. You can also use vegetable stock instead of beef and add a few drops of liquid smoke to round out the flavour profile.


Calories: 259kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 111mg | Potassium: 787mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 2992IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 3mg