Split peas are winter harvested legumes that come in yellow and green varieties. These seeds from the Pisum sativum, originally round when harvested and dried, measure approximately ¼ inch wide. When husked and split, these peas cook more quickly.


Split peas provide a source of protein and dietary fiber. Vitamins include A, K, folate and thiamine. Minerals include iron, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, manganese, copper and magnesium.


The history of split peas may include uses in the Near East to Central Asia. A version of hot pea soup existed in the Greek Empire, where legumes were cultivated about 500 to 400 BCE.


After measuring the amount of dried split peas, place them in a strainer where you can sort and remove any small stones and other debris, then rinse with cold water until clear. An option to pre-soak the peas overnight can reduce cooking time. Cooking times range from 30 minutes to two hours to cook depending on methods used. Because peas absorb water, replenishing liquid during cooking can prevent drying. Peas can cook until tender or cook further for a smoother texture.

International Uses

The variety of uses for split peas includes soups, stews, casseroles, dips, spreads, stuffing and desserts. In Europe, Latin America and North America, these seeds go into split pea soup. A dish known as dahl is popular in Guyana, Trinidad and the Fiji Islands. In China, these peas provide table snacks and pudding.