Kalyn's Kitchen

Split Pea Soup with Ham, Peppers, and Epazote

The Mexican herb called Epazote adds amazing flavor to this Split Pea Soup with Ham, Peppers, and Epazote and this is a tasty dinner idea.

PIN Split Pea Soup with Ham, Peppers, and Epazote!

Split Pea Soup with Ham, Peppers, and Epazote finished soup in serving bowl

Split Pea Soup with Ham, Peppers, and Epazote is a really fun variation on traditional split pea soup. I’ve been a long-time fan of split pea soup, but I always made it with carrots until I tried this experiment of replacing the carrots with sweet red bell peppers, for a split pea soup that’s not only delicious and colorful but also a bit lower in carbs.

I also used a fairly generous amount of ham in proportion to the split peas, which also makes this soup better for a carb-conscious diet than traditional split pea soups. If you don’t care about that, just replace the red peppers with carrots if you prefer. But what really adds amazing flavor to this soup is using some Epazote!

What is Epazote?

I’m guessing some of you have never heard of Epazote, a unique Mexican herb I love to add to my split pea and bean soups. Epazote (pronounced ep-ah-so-teh) adds an interesting subtle flavor to bean dishes (especially refried beans), but it’s also used to reduce the intestinal gas that can be produced by beans. It grows wild in the U.S. and Mexico and has a slightly sweet flavor. (Some Epazote comes with a lot of woody stems, so when I first get a new batch, I put it into my food processor with the steel blade and process it to a fine powder.) You can buy Epazote (affiliate link) online if you can’t find it where you live, and of course you can make this tasty soup without it too.

What ingredients do you need for this recipe?

Split Pea Soup with Ham, Bay Leaves, Epazote, and Red Bell Pepper found on KalynsKitchen.com

How to Make Split Pea Soup with Ham, Peppers, and Epazote:

(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)

  1. Saute chopped onions in olive oil for a few minutes, just until they are starting to soften. (I was making half the recipe to test the addition of red bell peppers, so all these photos show half as much as the recipe makes.)
  2. Then add the split peas, ham stock or chicken broth, bay leaves, and Epazote (affiliate link).
  3. If you have ham rinds, add them as well. (If you don’t have rinds, you might want to add some ham flavor base (affiliate link), especially if you’re not using ham stock.)
  4. Let this simmer for about an hour, or until the peas are quite soft. You may need to add water a few times while it’s cooking.
  5. When all the peas are softened and many are dissolved into the liquid, it will look like this. Remove the bay leaves and ham rinds (if using.)
  6. Then add the chopped ham and red bell peppers (or carrots) and let the soup simmer another 30-40 minutes, adding water if needed.
  7. Here’s how mine looked after it had simmered 40 minutes more (not especially photogenic, but very flavorful.)
  8. At this point I decided to use my immersion blender and give this just a few buzzes to slightly break up the red peppers and ham. If you decide to do that, don’t overdo it!
  9. Taste for seasoning and if you’re like me, season with lots of fresh ground black pepper

More Tasty Soup with Split Peas:

Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup Recipes ~ Slow Cooker or Pressure cooker
Estonian Yellow Split Pea Soup with Smoked Pork ~ Nami Nami
Yellow Split Pea Soup with Italian Sausage ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Indian-Style Split Pea Soup ~ Lisa’s Kitchen
CrockPot Split Pea Soup with Chicken Sausage and Carrots ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Split Pea, Sausage, and Preserved Lemon Soup ~ The Perfect Pantry

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a category called Weekend Food Prep  to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Split Pea Soup with Ham, Peppers, and Epazote finished soup in serving bowl

Split Pea Soup with Ham, Peppers, and Epazote

Yield 8 servings
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes

The Mexican herb called Epazote adds amazing flavor to this Split Pea Soup with Ham, Peppers, and Epazote; use carrots if you prefer a more traditional split pea soup!


  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 6 cups chicken stock, ham stock, or water with chicken soup base
  • 1 lb. green split peas (just over 2 cups)
  • 2 fresh bay leaves or 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. dried Epazote (optional)
  • 1 diced red bell peppers (see notes)
  • 2 cups diced ham (see notes)
  • 2 packets Goya Ham flavor base (optional, see notes)
  • salt/pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil in large heavy soup pot, then add diced onion and saute about 3-4 minutes, just until onion is starting to soften.
  2. Add chicken stock, ham stock, or water with chicken base, bay leaves, split peas, and Epazote if using.
  3. If ham rind is available, put it in with these ingredients. If not, you may wish to add 1-2 packets of Ham Flavor Base (affiliate link).
  4. Cook at a low simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour or until most peas are losing their shape and combining with the liquid.
  5. The length of cooking time will depend partly on the freshness of the dried split peas. You may need to add water once or twice while this cooks.
  6. Remove ham rind and bay leaves.
  7. Add red bell pepper (or carrots) and ham and cook 30-40 minutes more, (until red bell pepper or carrots are soft and flavors are well blended.)
  8. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper. (I didn’t add salt, but I added a lot of pepper.)
  9. Serve hot.


Use 1 cups diced carrots instead of bell pepper if you prefer. If you’re not watching carbs, diced potatoes are good in this too. They should be added with the ham and red bell pepper or after the carrots have cooked about 10 minutes, if using carrots. Use even more diced ham if you prefer, especially if you don't have ham rind or ham flavor base.

I love the flavor of Goya Ham Flavor Concentrate (affiliate link), but Penzey's and Better Than Bouillon are two other good brands.

Recipe created by Kalyn.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 277Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 1193mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 6gSugar: 7gProtein: 26g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
A low-glycemic soup recipe like this would be approved for any phase of the original South Beach Diet, but split peas are a limited food for Phase One. Even though I did use peppers instead of carrots for less carbs, but this is probably still too high in carbs for a traditional low-carb diet plan.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Soup Recipes to find more recipes like this one. Use theRecipes by Diet Type index page to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

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    42 Comments on “Split Pea Soup with Ham, Peppers, and Epazote”

  1. Katherine, I really like it. And it definitely helps make the beans more digestible!

  2. I had never heard of Epazote and then I came across it in my Penzey magazine. I'll have to order it. I think I would use it a lot. : )