Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Ärtsoppa (Swedish Yellow Pea and Mustard Soup)

Last month I had a pretty quiet month on the blogging front. I spent most of it overseas eating amazing Sri Lankan foods and learning to cook Sri Lankan curries. So I took a month of featuring recipes from countries around the world - but I'm glad to be back into it this month!  Each month I take a suggestion from a reader and delve into the cuisine of that particular country and share what I find with you. Previously this year I've featured recipes from Croatia, Chad, Bosnia, Iran, Scotland and Cambodia - a great mix of countries, although with a distinctly European flair! If you'd like to suggest a country then hop on here and go for it!

This month I'm continuing the popular European theme and featuring Sweden. Sweden was actually a very popular suggestion, suggested by three separate readers. I'm looking forward to Sweden, actually, as one of my very closest friends lives in Sweden - so should be a valuable mine of information :)

I'm starting off the month with something perfect for the cold weather we are having! Swedish yellow pea soup (Ärtsoppa) is a very popular dish in Sweden, in fact it is a tradition to eat it every Thursday for lunch accompanied by pancakes with jam and whipped cream! This is just the recipe for the soup, but I'll post a recipe for the pancakes at a later date! Ärtsoppa can either be made vegetarian or with the addition of salt pork or ham. Obviously this is a vegetarian one! It is also traditional to serve it with mustard on top, but I just mixed the mustard through the whole soup when I made it.

It is quite a simple soup, which is nice and easy to make. The main flavours come from the thyme and the mustard, so I recommend being quite heavy handed with these ingredients otherwise it will just taste like a bowl of cooked peas - nice but a bit bland. I used lemon thyme for a nice different taste, but you can use regular thyme instead.

400g yellow split peas, soaked overnight in cold water and then drained and rinsed well
7 cups cold water
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stick celery, diced
2 tbsp stock powder (bouillon)
2 tbsp fresh lemon thyme, slightly chopped/crushed
2 generous tbsp wholegrain mustard (vary this depending on the heat of your mustard - if using hot mustard use less, if using very mild mustard then use more)
1/2 tsp salt

To Make
1. Place the rinsed and soaked yellow peas in a large soup pot and cover with the water. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer. Skim any foam off the top, although don't be worried if you can't get it all.
2. Add the onion, carrot, celery and stock powder and simmer, covered for about 20 minutes.
3. Add the thyme and continue to simmer for a further 10-20 minutes - or until the peas are completely cooked and the soup has started to thicken.
4. Stir though the mustard and the salt and then remove from the heat. It is now ready to serve, however if you let it stand for another 20-30 minutes then it will become thicker and creamier, so up to you!

Serve with pancakes and whipped cream!

Serves 4


  1. Hi! I'm an English vegetarian who has just moved to northern Sweden, and I'm so happy to have found your vegan recipes. I'm definitely going to be using them at Christmas, because the 'julbord' is usually a meatfest!
    I love ärtsoppa, but have never had it with pancakes and cream, might have to try that out ;-) also, you're right on the Swedes loving their sweets, as well as baked goods and fatty, creamy sauces... I don't know how they stay so slim!
    BTW, I love the idea of country cuisine months, I'm off to check out other. countries now.

    1. I don't know how they stay so slim either! I visited Sweden earlier this year and it was all so delicious - especially the sweets. I'd love to hear how you go finding vegan fare in Sweden :) Thanks for stopping in and glad you liked the blog!

  2. Thanks for this recipe!!! My kids absolutely loved it, it's going to be a staple for sure :)

    Other than Woolies, do you know where else I can get lemon thyme from? I'd like to get a dried version but my local spice shop (which is quite an extensive one) doesn't carry it.

    1. My pleasure Fleur, I bought the fresh lemon thyme from my local IGA. I'm not sure about dried though, you may be able to try herbies spices (