Crockpot Split Pea Soup..Simple and Hearty

Crockpot soups are hearty, delicious and really warm you up on those cold, winter days.  I love to start my soup in the morning and have it ready at the end of the day.  These soups are simple and flexible. Best of all, they freeze beautifully.

I make sure to always have a steady supply of yellow and green split peas. I have re-purposed an old rice jar and I pour bags of split peas directly into this jar.  It makes for a neater pantry and makes the pouring much easier.
split peas in canisters
Oftentimes, when I am cooking many different dishes, I saute a large batch of onions (sometimes with fresh minced garlic) in my largest saute pan.  I use what I need for various dishes and then freeze the rest in small Ziploc bags or ice cube trays for future use. Crockpot soups are a great way to use these frozen sauteed onions and/or garlic.
I have left the seasonings of this soup to you.  I use about 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt and a generous pinch of pepper.  The seasoning can be added at the beginning, can be added in layers throughout the cooking or  can wait to be added at the end.  I find that when I wait to season the soup until the end, I need to use much less salt.
Know your crockpot and which settings to use.  I cook my soup on the high setting of my six quart crockpot for 6-9 hours and only turn it down to low or auto once the soup has been completed.  Your crockpot may need to be set to auto for the duration of the cooking. If you are not sure, start your soup at high.  Check on the soup after 5 hours.  If it tastes ready, then turn it down to auto or low until serving. If not, cook the soup for longer, checking every hour.
 I usually keep this soup pareve and use water as the base.  Using vegetable or chicken stock will add depth and richness to the soup.  You can use any combination of water and stock as your liquid component.
This soup is forgiving and you can add any fresh or frozen vegetables that you enjoy.  I prepared this soup today with yellow split peas and and added a cup of wilted spinach that I had in my refrigerator from making salad earlier this week.
I would love to hear what ingredients you have added to this recipe and how it worked out.
INGREDIENTS FOR A 5-6 QUART CROCKPOT
one 16 ounce bag (2 cups) of split peas
1/2 cup of barley or acini de pepe (optional and omit for gluten-free)
sauteed onions and/or garlic (optional)
salt
pepper
garlic
water, stock or any combination
peeled and sliced carrots (optional)
sliced celery (optional)
soaked and rinsed spinach (optional) (see notes below)
peeled and sliced zucchini (optional)
DIRECTIONS
Fill crockpot with split peas, onions and/or garlic, seasonings and your choice of vegetables. Fill crockpot 3/4 to top with water and/or stock.  Cook on high from morning to evening. For a smooth texture, blend with a hand blender before serving. For a more rustic texture, leave the soup unblended. If the soup is too thick, add up to a cup of water and stir well.
SHORTCUTS
When in a hurry, I skip the sauteed onions/garlic and add a half bag of whole baby carrots to the crockpot.  Right before serving, I use my stick blender to blend the soup and carrots. This creates a very thick and hearty split pea soup with very little prep time.
split pea soup with ramen
SERVING SUGGESTIONS
You can use green or yellow split peas or a combination of either
Top with uncooked ramen noodles, croutons or shelled sunflower seeds
NOTES

This soup is extremely thick and hearty, the type of soup that you can just about eat with a fork. If you prefer a thinner soup, just decrease the amount of split peas or increase the amount of liquid.

This soup freezes extremely well. Cool soup and decant into freezer-safe containers or freezer-type zipper bags. Just defrost and reheat. Add fresh herbs and water if necessary to freshen it up.
Kosher laws disallow the eating of  any whole insects and therefore most greens require a process of soaking, rinsing and in some cases, pureeing.  I have found that flat-leafed greens like baby spinach are much easier to check for insects than their curly-leaf counterparts.  Kashrut authorities differ on the proper checking of leafy vegetables and some disallow the use of spinach altogether.  This blog was not designed to be your  kosher authority, so please consult your local rabbinic authority regarding using leafy greens such as spinach.

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