Ina Garten’s Hearty Soup Recipe Is ‘Delicious and So Good for You,’ According to the ‘Barefoot Contessa’ Star

Ina Garten loves to make hearty homemade soup and it’s a bonus when the recipe is loaded with healthy vegetables. The Barefoot Contessa star makes an easy split pea soup that’s delicious and just the right texture, thanks to Garten’s pro tip.

Ina Garten smiles as she raises a glass wearing a blue shirt
Ina Garten | Mike Smith/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Ina Garten makes a split pea soup that’s full of vegetables so it’s ‘good for you’

Garten demonstrated how to make her easy Parker’s split pea soup recipe on an episode of Barefoot Contessa.

First, she added chopped yellow onions to a pan with olive oil. “I always put the onions in first because they don’t burn as easily as the garlic,” the Food Network host explained. She added minced garlic, salt, pepper, dried oregano, chopped carrots, diced potatoes, and chicken stock to the pot.

The Barefoot Contessa star shared an easy tip for the best soup texture — when she added split peas to the pot, she didn’t put them in all in at once.

“I’m going to only put in about one and a half cups to start with so it makes a really thick soup,” Garten explained. “Then I put the rest in about halfway through cooking so you get really chunky … just the bite of split peas.”

She simmered the soup for 40 minutes, noting, “It’s going to be a really nice soup to come home to.”   

Then Garten added another half cup of split peas. “Then the split peas that are already in there get really soft and make the soup really rich and thick,” she explained. “And then these split peas will cook a little less so they’ll have a little bit of bite to them, which is really good. I like both textures.”

She simmered the soup for another 40 minutes. “It’s going to be rich and delicious and so good for you,” she said.

You can find the full recipe on the Food Network website.

Garten gives her split pea soup a delicious upgrade

Garten found a way to take split pea soup to a new level and it’s inspired by a childhood memory. “One of my all-time favorite comfort foods is a bowl of split pea soup, dating back to the days when my mother served us canned pea soup with cut-up hot dogs (very ’50s!),” she wrote in the introduction for one of her split pea soup recipes.

The Barefoot Contessa star added, “Now I prefer a big pot of homemade soup to serve with sautéed kielbasa on top. I love the way the earthy, creamy soup contrasts with the crispy, spicy sausage.”

The recipe is similar to her Parker’s split pea soup but includes leeks, kielbasa, and a ham hock and omits potatoes.

She made the easy recipe on an episode of Barefoot Contessa. Garten started by sautéing onions, leeks, and carrots, then added garlic, split peas, chicken stock, and water.

“I actually add water to it because, as it simmers away, a lot of the steam comes off,” Garten explained. “And I don’t want the chicken stock to get too concentrated.”

She added thyme, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and a ham hock. “It’s got lots of flavor, it’s very inexpensive,” Garten said about the ham hock. “If you put it in, it’s going to flavor the whole soup.”

She shared an easy tip for the perfect soup texture

After partially covering the pot with a lid, Garten cooked the soup for an hour and 15 minutes. Then she removed the ham hock, thyme, and bay leaves from the soup. To finish the soup, she used an immersion blender “for like two seconds.”

She explained, “You don’t want to blend everything. That’ll just make the soup a little creamier but you’ll still have the texture of the split peas.”

When she served the soup, Garten placed a few pieces of sautéed kielbasa on top. “This is so delicious,” she said. “It’s really comforting and so much better than what I remember from my childhood.”

You can find the full recipe on the Food Network website.

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