Split Peas with Summer Squash

split peas with summer squashWhile we do not usually think of them as such, peas are a member of the Old World bean family, Fabaceae. And while we usually associate dried split peas with pea soup, they can be prepared in the same way as their cousins, lentils. Indeed, yellow split peas are a common dhal among the expatriate Indian communities in the Caribbean. I adapted this recipe from one calling for yellow mung beans and zucchini but since I had bought some lovely yellow summer squash at the farmers’ market I decided to reverse the colors and use green split peas instead. The trick to this dish is to get the peas tender but not mushy so you may need to experiment with the cooking time. Serve over basmati rice with a dollop of yoghurt for a satisfying vegetarian meal.

Serves 2


  • 4 ounces dried green split peas, about ½ cup
  • 1 summer squash
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger, fresh or from a jar
  • 2 or 3 hot red chilies, finely chopped (optional, to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon neutral cooking oil (I use Canola)
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon asafœtida, optional
  • 4 or 5 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • ½ cup dice tomatoes
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Plain yoghurt to serve


Rinse the peas well and put into saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender but not mushy, about 30 minutes. Drain, reserving cooking liquid, and set aside.

Pour the oil into a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, sauté the squash, onions, garlic, ginger, and chilies for 2 or 3 minutes. Stir in the seeds, asafœtida, and mint. Continue to sauté for another 2 minutes then add the tomatoes and water. Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the squash are done to your liking.

Fold in the cooked peas and lemon juice. Leave over the fire for a minute or so to rewarm the peas. Serve immediately over rice garnished with a dollop of the yoghurt.


2 responses to “Split Peas with Summer Squash

  1. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide July 20, 2011 at 14:35

    What a great recipe. I need to break out of the split pea soup mentality!

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