Split Pea Soup with Smoked Ham

By: Ginny Mahar

Dietary Compliance: Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Almost-Paleo 

This recipe is my version of the ideal, traditional split pea soup. It’s the same version I’ve been making, without amendment, since I developed it and scribbled it into my recipe notebook back in 2004, under the heading, “As It Should Be Split Pea Soup.” It looks and tastes like split pea soup is supposed to taste, and contrary to my usual creative bent, I never change a thing. Split Pea Soup is a classic. I say, don’t mess with it!

The flavor secrets in this bowl of smoky, sweet, satisfying goodness are marjoram, and three kinds of onions: yellow onion, shallot, and leek.

As a super-affordable source of protein, iron, and fiber, split peas are Split-Pea-Soup-with-Smoked-Ham-2hard to beat. But if you are on a gut-healing diet like AIP or Paleo, peas fall into a gray area for compatibility. The science behind this is best left to the experts, but if you want to look more deeply into the whys of legume-avoidance, I recommend this article from Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D. (aka The Paleo Mom): The Green Bean Controversy and Pea-Gate

On the bright side, it sounds like the levels of phytates (an anti-nutrient found in dried legumes) are substantially lower in green beans and peas than they are in other types of dried beans. There are simple measures you can take to diminish any downside to eating split peas. Soaking them for a few hours and then cooking gently over low heat is a time-honored way to do the trick.

Here’s some info about the thyroid-friendly nutrients in this dish:

4.8 from 5 votes

Split Pea Soup with Smoked Ham

This recipe is my version of the ideal, traditional split pea soup. Dietary Compliance: Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Almost-Paleo.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 4


  • 2 cups dried split peas
  • 1 tbsp. avocado oilor heat-stable cooking fat of choice
  • 1 small yellow onionfinely diced
  • 3 cloves garlicminced
  • 1 medium shallotminced
  • 1 medium leekwhite part only, finely diced
  • 3-4 medium carrotspeeled, medium dice
  • 3 celery ribsmedium dice
  • 4 cups chicken stock(preferably homemade)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups diced smoked hamNOT honeyed, preferably nitrate-free
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried marjoram
  • freshly ground black pepper and saltto taste


  1. Cover the split peas with plenty of fresh, filtered water and soak 7 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse.
  2. Place a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the oil, onion, garlic, shallot, leek, carrots, celery, and a splash of chicken stock. Saute the vegetables, stirring occasionally, 5–10 minutes or until slightly softened.
  3. Add chicken stock, water, soaked split peas, smoked ham, bay leaves, thyme and marjoram. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer approx. 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. The soup is done when the peas are tender, with some starting to fall apart and thicken the soup.
  4. Taste the soup first, before adjusting seasoning with additional salt and pepper. Some chicken broths and some hams have a sufficient amount of salt.
Nutritional Info Print
Nutrition Facts
Split Pea Soup with Smoked Ham
Amount Per Serving
Calories 580 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Cholesterol 48mg16%
Sodium 1454mg61%
Potassium 1733mg50%
Carbohydrates 77g26%
Fiber 28g112%
Sugar 15g17%
Protein 45g90%
Vitamin A 8070IU161%
Vitamin C 9.2mg11%
Calcium 157mg16%
Iron 8.7mg48%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

About the Author

Thyroid Refresh Co-founder Ginny Mahar is the mom and recipe blogger formerly known as Hypothyroid Chef. After struggling with the residual symptoms of Hashimoto’s for over four years, she embarked on her own process of adopting a thyroid-specific diet and lifestyle. Within one year, she restored her vitality and lowered her thyroid antibodies by half. Ginny is a passionate advocate of supporting others on their journeys toward better health. She is a Cordon Bleu trained chef, cooking instructor, writer, and entrepreneur.