Why Split Peas Make The Absolute Best Substitute For Lentils

Various lentils and split peas
Various lentils and split peas - Dimitris66/Getty Images

As a protein powerhouse, lentils are a beloved legume. Excellent in soups, stews, salads, or on their own, they're certainly a staple of many people's diets. If you happen to run out of the legume when making a hearty lentil soup, split peas are the next best thing.

With both lentils and split peas coming from the legume family, they can be used almost interchangeably. Although they look alike, they're grown and cultivated in different ways. While split peas are dried field peas that have been split in half once the skin is removed, lentils are harvested as seeds. Still, they are cooked in a similar manner. In terms of nutrition, they're both high in fiber and protein, with lentils having a slightly higher amount of iron. They also share an earthy, nutty flavor, although lentils lean a little richer, and split peas are creamier when cooked.

Since both legumes swell up after being simmered in water or broth, split peas can easily be used in place of legumes for tons of recipes. Give pasta an earthy spin by using split peas for pasta e lenticchie or use them for instant pot miso red lentil soup. Thanks to their high protein content, lentils are often used in place of meat, giving split peas the freedom to also be a meat alternative. Use the field peas for vegetarian lentil and mushroom BBQ meatballs or make split pea sandwiches out of instant pot lentil sloppy Joes.

Read more: 23 Types Of Potatoes And When To Use Them

Are There Different Types Of Split Peas?

Yellow and green split peas
Yellow and green split peas - Golden Shark 2/Shutterstock

Just like there are several types of lentils, there is more than one kind of split peas. Given their nuances, there's not a singular cooking time for the various versions of split peas. While green split peas take around 25 minutes to simmer, yellow split peas can take anywhere from 40 minutes to around an hour. They also have their own flavor differences, with green split peas being slightly sweeter and the yellow ones being milder.

The type of split peas you use in place of lentils should depend on what you're making. If you love curried roasted pumpkin and lentil soup for the sweetness that the red lentils bring, green split peas are the right choice. For something like a roasted garlic tomato lentil bowl, however, yellow split peas fare much better. Both green lentils and yellow split peas have a mild flavor that won't distract from the bolder aspects of the fiery grain bowl.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.