If you want a warming, comforting split-pea soup, but don’t want to experience gas and bloating afterwards, you want to try my bloat-free split pea soup recipe.
Why do split peas (and other lentils and legumes) cause bloating?
From a Western nutrition perspective, legumes, lentils, and split-peas can cause bloating because of the oligosaccharides present. Oligosaccharides are small sugars that aren’t digested by us persay. Rather, oligosaccharides are digested by the bacteria present in the gut! When these bacteria digest the oligosaccharides, it creates gas that can be trapped in the colon, causing bloating.
From an Āyurvedic perspective, legumes and lentils are astringent and bitter, making them more cleansing in nature. As they move through the digestive tract, their “cleansing” action pulls gas out of the colon, causing flatulence. This becomes particularly problematic if we:
- don’t chew completely (because undigested food arrives in the intestines and creates more bloating and gas)
- eat in a distracted or stressed state (because it reduces digestive power and can lead to the undigested food in the intestines)
- overeat the beans (causing “too much” cleansing) or in general (overwhelming the digestive system)
How to make bloat-free split pea soup
Bloat-free legumes and split pea soup is possible! Here’s how:
- Rinse your legumes and split peas thoroughly before using. This helps to reduce the sugars present on the outside of the bean that can cause bloating. If you have extra time, you can soak your split peas in water overnight, which will continue to support digestibility. I typically don’t soak my split peas when I cook them in the instant pot, but it’s a nice idea if you’re going to cook the split peas on the stove top.
- Balance your legumes and split peas with whole grains. Whole grains are heavy and sweet, helping to balance the cleansing nature of the beans. Use a 2:1 ratio of grains to beans for a happier belly.
- Remove onion and garlic from your recipe. Onion and garlic tend to be irritating to the digestive tract, and also contain those oligosaccharides mentioned above. I have many clients who have experienced much better belly harmony when they remove onion and garlic from their bean soup recipes.
- Use digestion-enhancing spices to support your digestion and help reduce gaseousness. My favorite spices for this purpose are cumin as well as hing (also known as asafoetida). It’s difficult to find a hing that is preservative-free and ethically-sourced. My favorite hing comes from Burlap and Barrel.
- Remember to chew your food thoroughly, so your stomach isn’t overwhelmed and you can digest your food properly.
You’d be amazed how the above suggestions can improve the digestibility of beans! And it’s not just about beans – it’s helpful for other foods too. Learn more Āyurvedic strategies to improve digestion here.
This simple, vegetarian split pea soup is delicious and enhanced with warming winter spices like clove. I combine the split peas with barley and rice, which provides a little chewiness. Topped with bright, fresh parsley, the split pea soup is well-balanced, and, will keep your belly happy, too.
I typically make this split pea soup recipe in the instant pot, which shortens the cooking time and makes it easier to cook. I’ve also included instructions to cook it on the stove top.
Bloat-free split pea soup recipe:
- ¼ cup split peas, rinsed
- ¼ cup white rice
- ¼ cup pearled barley
- 1.5 tbsp ghee
- ⅛-1/4 tsp salt
- 1 pinch hing
- ⅛ tsp ground clove
- ¼ tsp fennel seeds ground
- 4.5 cups water
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley
- 5 drops lime juice
- Add ghee, salt, and spices except parsley to a pan or instant pot and heat until spices start to dance and become fragrant.
- Add rice, barley, and split peas, sautéeing until fragrant (about 2 min)
- Add water and bring to a boil, cooking until grains and beans are soft (about 40 minutes), or cook for 24 minutes on high pressure in a pressure cooker.
- Remove and top with parsley, 5 drops lime juice, as well as your favorite veggies.
- Enjoy with an open and grateful heart.
Serve this split pea soup with vegetables to create a balanced meal
To make this soup into a balanced Āyurvedic meal, serve with ~1 cup vegetables per person. My favorite combination is carrots and cabbage sautéed in ghee, salt, cumin, coriander, and a pinch of cinnamon.
Bloat-free split pea soup is possible. Let me know in the comments: are you a split pea soup fan? Do you tend to get bloated from bean soups?