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Erwtensoep – Traditional Dutch Green Pea Soup

Erwtensoep – Traditional Dutch Green Pea Soup


Erwtensoep, or green split pea soup, is very typical Dutch food. It is commonly eaten during the winter months when people need something hearty to warm themselves up. In Holland it is also known as ‘snert’. Normally Erwtensoep is made with green split peas. But in this recipe I used simple frozen peas, as I was unable to find the split peas in my present location.

I was inspired to make this again after eating snert last week in the Netherlands.

This pea soup is normally very thick and contains pork hidden away in the ingredients. So do not expect it to be vegetarian. It is not.

Also, this would not be a Dutch pea soup without the slices of Dutch rookworst (smoked sausage) that you should find in it.

split pea soup

It is also very filling so you will not need much to warm you up, or fill you up!

Dutch Winter Wonderland

During winter in the Netherlands, one of the most wonderful moments is when the mercury dips low enough to freeze the waterways. Then the Netherlands transforms into a giant, glittering ice rink.

Locals dust off their skates, don their woolly hats, and take to the frozen expanses with gleeful abandon. They glide past historic windmills, under quaint bridges, and past picturesque towns, immersing themselves in scenes straight out of a storybook.

Skating on the ‘gracht’ or canal in Assen

Or if you have really crazy kids like mine, then it may look like this! This was my eldest, clearing the ice on our pond (quite a few years ago now!)

cleaning the ice
‘Are you not cold laddie?!’

When the weather is like this, which is these days unfortunately not every winter any more, people will take time off work to spend time on the ice. The polder (the reclaimed land that is recognizable by all the canals which provide the drainage for the land) becomes a hive of activity.

This is the time when erwtensoep comes into its own.

dutch pea soup

Erwtensoep and skating

During these tours along the ice in the polder there are often little stalls where you can get ‘koek-en-zopie’. This roughly translates as ‘cake and drink’, but in reality means erwtensoep and hot chocolate! This is what the Dutchies eat and drink to keep warm. Or you may find some mulled wine and kerstkransjes or kletskoppen.

These may be makeshift stalls, or in the canteens of the skating clubs in the polder. But the atmosphere is great on these days. We used to live in a dijk house that backed onto the polder and we could skate away from our back garden to our friends along the dijk. It was always very ‘gezellig’ or ‘cozy’!


Unfortunately, lately, climate change has its effects and the cold winters are different now. In the past on a really cold year, the Elfstedentocht (a 200km eleven city tour) might take place through the canals of Friesland – although the last one was only held in 1997. You need at least a 12-day cold spell to be able to hold an Elfstedentocht.

Anyhow, I hope you enjoy making this delicious soup.

If you do then please let me know how you get on in the comments section below, and how you improved it! 

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 How to make Dutch Erwtensoep


Erwtensoep - Traditional Dutch Green Pea Soup

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes

This is a recipe for a Dutch Pea Soup, or Erwtensoep in Dutch. This is traditionally served when ice skating is taking place on the canals.


  • 750g frozen peas (or green split peas)
  • 1 leek
  • 1,5 liter water
  • 1 chicken OXO cube
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 onion
  • handful fresh parsley
  • 1 turnip
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 150g pork belly
  • 250g pork chops (boneless)
  • 300g Dutch smoked sausage (rookworst)
  • Salt & Pepper


  1. Prepare all the ingredients: chop the turnip into small blocks, the carrot into half disks, the celery, leek, parsley and onion into small pieces. Slice the pork belly and the pork chops into 2 cm pieces.
  2. Fry the onion for about 5 minutes until softened in the vegetable oil. Meanwhile, boil some water and make stock with the OXO cube. Put the stock into a large saucepan with the peas and bring to a simmer.
  3. Then add the turnip, carrot, celery, leek, pork belly, chops, parsley and the onion to the pan.
  4. Now cover the pan and simmer for about 2 hours or until the peas begin to go mushy. Check regularly and adjust the consistency by adding more water if necessary. (Traditionally split peas are used to make this recipe, but I could not find any locally and used frozen peas instead. Split peas may take a bit longer to cook.) You may wish to use a potato masher to mash the peas if they are not disintegrating naturally.
  5. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Then slice the smoked sausage in coins and add to the soup before serving up (check the package for the manufacturer's recommended cooking time).


You may wish to serve together with some Maggi liquid seasoning (which is good in all sorts of soups).

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 367Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 552mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 5gSugar: 6gProtein: 25g

This nutrition information was automatically calculated by Nutritionix, but may not be 100% accurate.

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