The eternal question: can you substitute split peas for lentils?
It’s a tricky one, because both of these legumes are from the same family but look and cook differently.
But don’t worry—you CAN substitute them, with just a few adjustments and caveats that we’ll cover in this article.
Can You Substitute Split Peas for Lentils?
Yes, you can substitute split peas for lentils. Split peas are a type of legume, as are lentils, so they have a similar nutritional profile and texture after cooking. The main differences between them are their color, size, and flavor.
Split peas tend to be larger in diameter, and less bitter than lentils when cooked, making them a good substitute in recipes that call for lentils.
How to Substitute Split Peas for Lentils
Lentils are great for adding flavor, texture, and nutrition to your favorite dishes—but sometimes you just don’t have them.
If you’re wondering how to substitute split peas for lentils in a recipe, we’ve got you covered!
- First, soak the split peas for two hours. Alternatively, boil the split peas for one minute and then let them sit in a covered container overnight.
- Second, rinse the split peas. Drain and rinse thoroughly under running water.
- Third, cook them as you would lentils. Split peas take longer than lentils to cook—about twice as long—so make sure you’re prepared with enough time on your hands or a pressure cooker (see also these Cuisinart pressure cooker recipes) to get the job done quickly.
And there you have it!
Now you’re all set to substitute split peas for lentils in any dish that requires it!
Can You Substitute Split Peas for Lentils in Soup?
You can absolutely substitute split peas for lentils in soup!
Split peas are a great substitute for lentils because they have a similar texture and mouthfeel, but they’re less likely to give your dish an overpowering flavor.
Split peas are also a little more filling, so if you’re looking for something that’s going to fill you up for longer, split pea soup is the way to go.
What Is the Difference Between Lentils and Split Peas?
Lentils and split peas are both legumes, so they have a lot of similarities, but they’re not exactly the same.
The main difference is that lentils can’t be dried out, so they’re sold fresh.
Split peas are dried out before they’re sold.
They both have lots of protein and fiber, which makes them super nutritious and filling.
They also look similar in shape, but lentils are round, while split peas are flat on one side.
Lentils come in a bunch of different colors, including red and green, yellow, and brown.
Split pea color depends on what type of pea was used.
Split peas are usually used for soups, because the thin skin around them dissolves during cooking and lets the pea inside turn into mush (which is perfect for soup), while lentils keep their shape pretty well when cooked.
Can I Substitute Red Lentils for Split Peas, and Vice Versa?
Yes you can substitute red lentils for split peas—and vice versa.
The most important thing to consider when swapping out one ingredient for another is whether the preparation methods are the same.
Red lentils and split peas are both legumes, so they’re cooked in a similar way.
You’ll just want to keep an eye on them while they’re cooking, as they will cook at slightly different rates.
It’s a good idea to stop cooking your recipe 5 minutes early and see if the ingredients are tender enough before stopping completely.
Red lentils cook faster than split peas, so you’ll need to watch them more closely to make sure they don’t overcook. Split peas will take a little longer.
Do Split Peas Taste the Same as Lentils?
No! They don’t.
The best way I can describe it is this: lentils are like a long-distance friend. You two don’t see each other often, but when you do, you always pick up right where you left off.
Split peas are like an old flame—you had your moment and it was beautiful, but that ship has sailed and the time has come to move on.
How Are Lentils and Split Peas Similar?
Lentils and split peas are both part of the legume family, and they have a lot of similarities, especially when it comes to nutrition.
For example, they’re both high in fiber, which helps you feel full for longer after eating.
They’re also both rich in protein—which is why you see so many vegetarian recipes for dishes like lentil soup and split pea stew!
But there are also some differences. Split peas tend to be sweeter than lentils, and they’re more tender when cooked.
Lentils tend to hold their shape better after cooking than split peas—so if you want your dish to stay looking like lentils or split peas even after simmering it on the stove, go with lentils—but if you want something that dissolves into the rest of the dish, go with split peas!
So, can you substitute split peas for lentils if you’re making a soup?
In a word: yes.
In fact, you can use split peas in almost any recipe that calls for lentils, as long as the final texture doesn’t matter too much.
Lentils tend to get mushy over time, so if you want your soup to be thick and hearty even after it’s been sitting on the stove for a while, try using split peas instead.