What To Serve With Pea Soup? [Top 9 Delicious & Healthy Options]

Going through my cookbooks last week, I noticed that everyone has a recipe for split-pea soup.  And it’s no wonder, for split-pea soup is an old-fashioned soup that has stood the test of time.  It was popular with ancient Greeks and Romans and brought to America by early colonial sailors, usually under the name of English pea soup or pease porridge.

Split-pea soup, sometimes just called pea soup, or even green pea soup are hearty, main dish soups, full of flavor and nutrition.  The taste is a little sweeter than lentils.  

But the question always seems to come up, what should I serve with split-pea soup?  Try pairing it with quick, robust side dishes, like country-style breads, cheese, and sausages.  If you’re gluten-free, serve a frittata or a kale salmon salad.  Vegans and Vegetarians will enjoy eggs and salad, along with grilled cheese. 

What Bread Is Good With Split-Pea Soup?

1. Baguettes And Ciabatta

Bread is always a good choice to serve with soup, but some types are better than others, especially if you are serving pea and ham soup.  In my experience, a warm crusty bread such as a baguette and a ciabatta would pair nicely.  Just slice them, brush them with olive oil and lightly toast them in the oven.  The crunchy bread is a nice contrast to the smooth texture of the split-pea soup.

2. Cornbread

If you have a little more time, try making homemade cornbread (or even semi-homemade from a box).   Cornbread’s texture and taste are strong enough to stand up to the split-pea flavors.  If you have little ones at home, try a cornbread that has honey or molasses.  The added sweetness is always a crowd-pleaser.

What Goes Well With Split-Pea Soup For Dinner?

3. Cheese 

Another nutritious accompaniment is cheese.  Over time, this is a fun way to experiment and see which flavors you and your family enjoy.  I like a peppery blue, especially Roquefort.  I will set it on the counter while I’m simmering the soup; and by dinnertime, I can easily spread it on my bread.

4. Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

My family, on the other hand, prefers their cheese firmly sandwiched between two pieces of bread and grilled.  The advantage of grilled cheese sandwiches is that they cook quickly and can be made with most cheese, from an old-fashioned cheddar to a goat gouda, or even a soft goat chevre.

5. Charcuterie Board

Everyone’s talking about and making charcuterie boards these days.  A recent search on Instagram yielded over 1.3 million posts.  And with the help of your grocery’s deli section, you can arrange an attractive platter of cured meats, cheeses, nuts, and dried fruits.  For an extra special touch, add some fresh figs if they are in season or crisp apple slices. 

6. Quiche

I don’t know which I like better, a warm bowl of soup or quiche.  So why choose?  Most deli sections have a variety of quiches, and you can keep them in your fridge for a day or two before warming it up.  You can also find them in the grocery freezer section as well

Don’t Forget The Toppings

One of the fun parts of soup night is being able to create your own bowl.  Toppings are a fun way to get the family involved and letting them discover new flavor combinations.  Also, toppings are a great way to use up those little bits of ingredients left in the fridge.

7. Bacon

Bacon is an ideal topping for split-pea soup.  Make a 1/4lb of bacon, crumble it and pass it around.

8. Sausage

If you’re making this dish because you’re feeling the pull towards comfort food, then include a plate of sliced sausages.  Precooked Kielbasa, or roasted and sliced bratwurst, make for a tasty addition.  This is no longer a low-calorie meal, but it’s the way your Grandma would have served it; along with some kitchen wisdom and a smile.

9. Sour Cream Or Yogurt

And if you still want more, of course, there’s sour cream or plain yogurt.   Just a dollop or two can really transform the dish and help encourage anyone who might be trying split-pea soup for the first time.

Can You Lose Weight While Eating Split-Pea Soup?

Well, that depends on what you pair it with, how much pork you add, and how much you eat.  But yes, in general, homemade pea soup can be part of a healthy weight loss plan. 

Vegetarian split-pea soup is a powerhouse of nutrition. According to the USDA, just one cup is 140 calories and 0g of cholesterol.  It provides 9g of protein, 10% of your daily iron, and 41% of your dietary fiber.  

Serving Split-Pea Soup For Lunch

Personally, I love split-pea soup with all the toppings, but I’m also looking for light lunchtime meals.  That doesn’t mean I have to give up my favorites; I just rearrange the portions a bit.  

Serve It In A Cream Soup Bowl

Years ago, I bought an inexpensive set of cream soup bowls, known as lions head bowls, made especially for first-course servings.   Cream soup bowls are smaller than the average soup bowls but with their tall, graceful designs, it still appears that’s there’s plenty of quantity.     (And who doesn’t like eating out of a charming bowl with a lion’s head on the side).

Salads    

Salad may seem like an obvious lunchtime pairing, but with split-pea soup, keep a few things in mind, include strong greens, add protein, remember the crunch, and use a vinaigrette.

Include Kale And Arugula 

To match the strong flavors of the split-pea soup, you’ll need to make sure your salad has some robust greens.  Kale and arugula are excellent choices to add to your family’s favorite choice of lettuce.

More Protein With Grilled Salmon Or Shrimp

If you’re serving a smaller portion of soup, you might want to add a little more protein to the meal.  I also like to top my salads with roasted or grilled salmon or shrimp

Don’t Forget The Crunch

Most split-pea soups are smooth, so you should consider rounding out your meal with a variety of textures.  Just a few dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds on the salad would be all you need, and you’ll also get an added benefit of sweetness and color.  

Of course, you can substitute out the dried fruits and nuts for whatever you have on hand – just be sure to have a variety of flavors and textures in the salad.  A good crunch goes a long way.

Choose Vinaigrette 

Here is an important point.  For the salad dressing, stick to vinaigrettes.   They will contrast nicely with the richness of the soup, making the whole meal feel less heavy.  

Can I Make Split-Pea Soup If I’m Vegan Or Vegetarian?

Split-pea soup is naturally Vegan and vegetarian as long as you leave out the ham hock.

Try adding some fresh flavors like mint when you blend it to make a mint pea soup. Or maybe use yellow split-peas.  It will be the same texture as the green split-peas, but the deep yellow hue gives it a whole new look.

What Else Can I Serve With Split-Pea Soup If I’m Gluten-Free?

Frittata is another side that would go nicely.  It’s basically eggs and whatever vegetables and cheese you have in the fridge, whisk, pour it in a skillet, and broil.  There are thousands of frittata recipes and all gluten-free.

Can I Make Split-Pea Soup In My Instant Pot Or Slow-Cooker?

Yes. Let’s face it, we all make soup when we have a lot to do around the house. With minimal prep time, followed by a long simmer, split pea soup (with or without the ham hock) is the perfect candidate; letting you spend the day multitasking on other things.

Can I Freeze Split-Pea Soup?

Vegetables are notoriously bad at freezing but don’t be concerned with split-pea soup.  You can freeze leftovers, so there’s no need to have it two days in a row and you can serve it next time you’re expecting a busy day.

If properly stored, you can keep it in the freezer for 3-6 months.  Make sure you label it (take it from me, you won’t remember what’s in the container 4 weeks from now).  And when it’s time to use it again, defrost it in the fridge one day before.

Are There Sides You Wouldn’t Serve With Split-Pea Soup?

Because split-pea soup is a main dish, I wouldn’t serve another main dish, like pasta or a casserole.  I also wouldn’t make a time-consuming, complicated side.  Split-pea soup should be in your cooking repertoire for days.  

Is Split-Pea Soup Expensive? 

Split-pea’s flavor is rich, but you don’t need to be to make it.  This satisfying meal easily feeds a family on a budget.  A one-pound package of split-peas can make 8 servings. 

Final Words

Split-pea soup is delicious, nutritious, inexpensive, easy to make, and it pairs with a wide variety of dishes. Now that you have a collection of sides you can experience first-hand how each one gives your meal an entirely different experience.   

Whether you choose crusty bread, cornbread, grilled cheese, frittata, or salmon salad, you’ll have enough variety to keep making this dish over and over.

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