Lighter Split Pea Soup

A lighter take on classic split pea soup, using bacon and Vanns Smoked Spanish Paprika to provide a nice smoky flavor.

Lighter Split Pea Soup

Split pea soup is a classic - it's hearty, warming, and wonderfully savory, and typically made from very affordable and easy to find ingredients. Sometimes it can get a little heavy with that salty ham hock thrown in, but this version lightens things up a bit by using bacon and Smoked Spanish Paprika to build that similar smoky, porky flavor. A bonus: bacon is much easier to find in grocery stores than smoked ham hocks! Plus, this recipe is easily made vegetarian with the removal of the bacon -- the Smoked Spanish Paprika does a great job bringing the smoke all on its own.

Spices used in this recipe

Rosemary, Cut & Sifted
Bay Leaves
Salt, Kosher
Peppercorns, Tellicherry, Grinder
Paprika, Smoked Spanish



  1. Heat a large pot, at least 4 quarts, over medium heat. When hot, add the chopped bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until bacon is crisp and golden and all the fat has been rendered. Remove the bacon pieces from the pot with a slotted spoon and reserve.
  2. Keeping the pot over medium heat, add the diced onion and sweat until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the diced carrot, celery, leeks, thyme, and rosemary, and saute over medium heat until beginning to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the thyme and rosemary and saute until fragrant, about 1 more minute. 
  3. Add the split peas and stir to combine with the vegetables, and then add the stock or water, the reserved bacon pieces, bay leaf, and a hearty pinch of kosher salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, scraping the bottom of the pot to get any browned bacon pieces incorporated into the soup, and then lower the heat to maintain a steady, low simmer. Simmer for about 1 hour, or until peas are soft and tender.
  4. When peas are cooked, remove the pot from heat. Remove the bay leaf and transfer 2 cups of the soup to the bowl of a blender or a hand blender vessel. Allow to cool slightly, so that any splashes that escape aren’t scalding temperature, and then blend until smooth. Pour the puree back into the pot of soup and stir to combine. Season with kosher salt and ground tellicherry peppercorns to taste. Serve sprinkled with smoked Spanish paprika.

Serves 8.


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