View Happy yellow split pea soup

Happy yellow split pea soup

Serves: 6

Meal type: ,

Cook time: 35 minutes

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Dinner, Lunch,

About this recipe

Inspired to make a happier version of my client’s childhood lentil soup, I have swapped the school uniform bottle green pulses for sweet, smiling yellow ones. For this recipe, it is also helpful and heartening that psychological research supports the idea that yellow foods are associated with warmth. I love this soup; its cheery colour and creamy texture give it energy and edibility. Happiness is all about balance too, but here there is no salt and pepper for seasoning. Instead, allow people to plop juicy black olives into their individual bowls and drizzle with olive oil, to provide the necessary saltiness and the pepperiness for each golden bowlful.


  • 250g yellow split peas
  • 1 large onion
  • 150g pudding rice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Black olives and extra virgin olive oil to serve
  1. Put the yellow split peas into a fine-mesh sieve and rinse well with cold water.
  2. Place the peas in a pan with enough cold water to cover. Bring to the boil, half-cover with a lid and boil rapidly for 10 minutes – during this time be on hand with large spoon to remove any scum that surfaces. Lower the heat and simmer gently for about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile rinse the rice well with cold water and leave to one side. Finely chop the onion and put that to one side too.
  4. Check the peas after 20 minutes of simmering. They need to be tender and soft (i.e. squishable between your thumb and forefinger). If they are not (some brands need a little longer), let the peas bubble away for another 5-10 minutes. Then add the pudding rice, bay leaves and salt and simmer for a further 15 minutes, again with pan half-lidded. Turn off the heat.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan. Keeping the heat high, add the onions and fry until the they are golden brown, which will take between 5-8 minutes. Stir continuously – you want them well-done and crispy golden at the edges, but not burnt.
  6. Stir the olive oily onions into the soup. Then stir in the lemon juice. Serve straightaway, and at the table drizzle with extra virgin olive oil for pepperiness and balance with black olives for saltiness.

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