A delicious take on an old classic, ham and split pea soup, this Ham and Fresh Pea soup is healthy, vibrantly-hued and is loaded with fabulous, flavor!
Although I love a bowl of split pea soup on a chilly fall or winter day, this time I was in the mood for something a little fresher and healthier. My goal? To create a creamy soup, without any cream, that had lots of veggies and loads of flavor. I also wanted it to be a delicious way to use up leftover ham. May I introduce you to our new Ham and Fresh Pea Soup? I think that once you try it, you and this gloriously green soup will become fast friends!
A hearty, quick, delicious meal!
In addition to being healthy and super delicious, this Ham and Fresh Pea Soup comes together in less than 45 minutes. It starts with shallots that are sauteed in a splash of olive oil. Next, a generous scoop of pesto is added. Pesto is a wonderful, easy, flavor enhancer for soups, sauces and other dishes, as it incorporates garlic, basil and a small portion of parmesan with every spoonful.
Once the pesto has been briefly sauteed, chicken broth, potatoes, fresh thyme and bay leaves are added and everything is brought to a boil. Now the soup is well underway. While all these delicious ingredients simmer away, you can get the finishing touches ready. Measure out 2 cups of fresh spinach and dice up a pile of leftover ham.
When the potatoes are nice and tender (about 20 minutes), the bay leaves and thyme stalks are removed, the peas and spinach are added and a blender does the rest of the work. I like to use an immersion blender, but a regular blender will also work. The fresh spinach and fresh (or frozen) peas combine with the other ingredients to create a soup that vibrant and pretty as a picture.
The blended veggies create a wonderfully creamy and thick texture so there are no thickeners needed in this recipe. The last step is to add the diced ham and take a little taste. Adjust the seasonings if needed and I think you'll agree, this Ham and Fresh Pea Soup is souper delish!
This soup makes a wonderful lunch or dinner served with a simple green salad and some warm crusty bread. It's also wonderful with these Ridiculously Easy Brioche Dinner Rolls or these delicious Cheddar Chive Biscuits.
If you like to plan ahead, this is one of those soups that's even better the next day, when all the flavors have had a chance to meld and marry. It will keep well in the refrigerator for several days.
I like to add a spoonful of Feta cheese and some thyme sprigs for a pretty garnish. You could also garnish with Parmesan, a scoop of Crème fraîche or Greek yogurt or some fresh (or frozen peas).
Café Tips for making this Ham and Fresh Pea Soup
- I like to use a smoky ham for this soup. We had some Honey Baked Ham leftover from a holiday meal and it is delicious in this soup (This is not a sponsored post!).
- You can purchase ham bones at any Honey Baked Ham store. They're not expensive and there's quite a bit of meat still on the bone.
- You can also purchase portions of ham at Honey Baked Ham stores if you don't want to buy a whole or half ham.
- Most of the delis at larger grocery stores will also sell pieces of ham that haven't been sliced.
- Feel free to make this Ham and Fresh Pea Soup without the ham (of course, you might need to change the name!). It makes a delicious, dairy-free, gluten-free, super healthy meal!
- You can make this soup with fresh or frozen peas. I use frozen with delicious results, as I don't normally have access to any fresh peas.
- Look for the tiny (or baby) peas at the grocery. They're nice and tender and work well in this soup.
- To make things super easy, I like to use an immersion blender to puree this Ham and Fresh Pea Soup. Immersion blenders are not expensive and they are little workhorses in the kitchen. I love that you don't have to dirty another container when blending.
- This soup recipe calls for prepared pesto. If you have homemade pesto, by all means, use it. I really like the pesto that can be found in the refrigerated section at Sam's Club and Costco. It comes in a large jar but can be frozen in small amounts or simply thawed for 10 minutes right before you want to use it. Scoop out what's needed and return the rest to the freezer.
- Because this soup is simmered without a cover (and some of the broth evaporates), be sure to use low sodium chicken broth so the soup doesn't get too salty.
- I love this KitchenAid 3-Speed Immersion Blender. It makes fast work out of a pot of soup like this!
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear other’s results and ideas for variations.
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¾ cup roughly chopped shallots about 2 medium
- 2 tablespoons prepared pesto
- 4 medium potatoes peeled and roughly chopped (about 1 ½ pounds (680g), before peeling)
- 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 10-12 sprigs fresh thyme tied together with kitchen string
- 2 medium bay leaves (or one large)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 20 ounces tiny baby frozen peas you could also use fresh
- 2 cups fresh spinach packed
- 3-4 cups diced ham
- Feta cheese and fresh thyme for garnish, if desired
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. When hot, add the shallots and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened. Add the pesto and cook for another 30 seconds stirring constantly.
Add the chicken broth, potatoes, thyme bundle, bay leaf, kosher salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are very tender.
Remove what’s left of the thyme bundle and the bay leaf. Add the fresh spinach and peas and blend using an immersion or regular blender. If using a regular blender, you will need to blend in two batches. (with a regular blender, remove the center cover from the blender and blend with a funnel or several thicknesses of paper toweling over the opening.)
Add the diced ham and stir well to combine. Taste and add more salt and/or pepper, if needed. Serve hot, garnished with a spoonful of Feta cheese and some fresh thyme sprigs.
See Café Tips above in post for further instructions and more detailed tips.
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