Sage and Caramelized Onion Split Pea Soup


Merry Christmas! I hope this post finds you surrounded by family and friends! Today I will keep it short and sweet so that you can get back to those who are near and dear. Or, wait, maybe you’ve hopped on the computer because you’re needing a break from them, in which case, may I suggest moving on to the kitchen and caramelizing a bag of onions!

There’s nothing like onion vapors to keep others at bay and with caramelized onions made, you’ll have the key ingredient for this lovely split pea soup! This is a meal in and of itself—a hit-the-spot bowl of warmth. Perfect after an afternoon of sledding.

Sage and Caramelized Onion Split Pea Soup

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Peanut-Free | Easily Potato-Free | Rice-Free |Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Tree Nut-Free | Wheat-Free | Grain-Free | Sesame-Free | Sweetener-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF | Easily Vegetarian | Easily Vegan. I make my best effort to identify possible allergens. With that said, please always read labels.

Serves:  8-10
Active Time:  40 minutes
Total Time:  2-1/2 hours


1-1/2 cup CARAMELIZED ONIONS (see how-to and video at end of post)

2 tablespoons extra virgin OLIVE OIL

1 tablespoon smashed GARLIC

1 tablespoon roughly chopped FRESH SAGE

1/2 teaspoon TURMERIC

1/2 teaspoon CUMIN

1/2 teaspoon CELERY SALT

1/4 teaspoon BLACK PEPPER

2 cups WATER


1 pound dried green SPLIT PEAS, picked over and rinsed (soaking optional, see Notes)


2 cups 1/2″ cubed peeled RUSSETT POTATOES

1 cup diced CARROTS

2-3 cups cooked and cubed HAM (some of that leftover Christmas ham will work great!)


1. In large soup pot, swirl olive oil and saute garlic and sage for 3 minutes. Add turmeric, celery salt, cumin and pepper. Saute another minute.

2. Remove pot from heat and transfer garlic/spice mixture to blender along with 1 cup caramelized onions (reserve remaining 1/2 cup onions for garnish) and 2 cups water. Puree.

3. Return puree to pot along with broth, split peas and bay leaves. Simmer on low 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until peas are tender.

4. Add potatoes and carrots. Simmer for an additional 30 minutes or until tender.

5. Using an immersion blender, puree to your liking. This may also be done in a blender by transferring some of the soup to a blender, pureeing and returning to the pot.

6. Add ham and heat through.

7. Season, if needed, with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaves.

8. Garnish with or mix in reserved 1/2 cup caramelized onions, chopped. Kick up the heat and garnish with drops of hot sauce (like Cholulas).


For ease of digestion, I recommend soaking split peas at room temperature for 6-8 hours in a generous amount of water and a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice. Rinse prior to adding to soup pot.

How to Caramelize Onions

I adore caramelized onions on just about anything. Pizza, burgers, green beans, you name it. So I liked the idea of incorporating them in split pea soup. When onions are caramelized, surface sugars are released and browned. The flavor is deep, rich and slightly sweet.

For this soup recipe you will need to caramelize about 4-5 medium onions—red, white, yellow or a mixture. Throw a few shallots into the mix if you wish. Simply peel and slice onions into thin strips. Toss into a large skillet with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and cook over low to medium heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Here is a video to show you how easy it really is.

More Good Stuff


Ricki December 26, 2010 - 5:14 pm

Hope you had a great Christmas, Lexie! And I'm so glad you liked the nog recipe. 😀 Your soup looks wonderful–I'm in love with caramelized onions (almost like a sweet!) but am usually too lazy to make them! I'm hoping this inspires me, as there are so many restaurants that would be great with them. 🙂

Ricki December 27, 2010 - 1:43 am

PS–Forgot to mention–I'd LOVE to see a pic of Marli! 🙂


Oh yes, I will send one here. She's half border collie, too.

Kim @ Cook It Allergy Free December 27, 2010 - 4:18 pm

This soup looks divine, Lex!! It is funny that my boys HATE peas EXCEPT inside split pea soup. I can only imagine how delicious it would be full of the caramelized onions and all of the other goodies it is full of!
I hope you and your family had a beautiful Christmas. You truly have become a wonderful virtual and In-real-life friend and I am so grateful to have you in my life. I cannot wait for all of the times we will get to hang out this year together!! GF Bloggers Unite! LOL
Hugs and holiday kisses to you!

Megan D January 3, 2011 - 9:35 pm

I'm doing a soup exchange and I think I'll make this soup. Can you tell me in measurements about how much this makes?


Megan … what a great idea!!! I will have to share it in my next post.

My guess is this recipe makes 2-1/2 to 3 quarts. That's just my guess. I hope that helps.


Megan D January 3, 2011 - 9:43 pm

Thank you for responding so quickly. I need to bring 7 quarts. Any idea? Last time we did this I was one quart short and was really disappointed!

It's a fabulous way to save time and money by sharing your meals.

Megan D January 3, 2011 - 9:53 pm

Thanks! I better triple it just too be sure.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.