The addition of balsamic vinegar comes straight from my friend Meg Fish’s table. She ladled up big bowls of soup topped with four or five drips of the tangy, sweet liquid, and I’ve never gone back.


  • Olive oil

  • 1 cup [225 g] thinly sliced onion

    Grist Book cover Grist: A Practical Guide to Cooking Grains, Beans, Seeds, and Legumes Abra Berens
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 4 anchovy fillets

  • Salt

  • 1 cup [250 ml] white wine or hard cider

  • 2 cups [400 g] split peas, green or yellow

  • 1 Yukon gold potato (about 8 oz [225 g]), peeled and cut into chunks

  • 2 carrots (about 4 oz [120 g]), cut into chunks

  • 2 oz [60 ml] sour cream per person

  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar per person

  • 1 tsp Chili Oil per person

  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Parsley Mojo per person (recipe below)


In a medium soup pot, heat a glug of oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and anchovies and a big pinch of salt and sweat until soft, about 7 minutes.

Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half. Add the split peas, potato, carrots, and 8 cups [2 L] of water and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook until the peas and vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Either leave loose and chunky or blend with an immersion blender to make the soup smooth. Adjust the seasoning as desired.

To serve, dish the soup into individual bowls and top each with a dollop of sour cream, a splash of balsamic vinegar, a spoonful of chili oil, and a swirl of lemon parsley mojo.

Chili Oil

  • 1 cup [250 ml] neutral oil

  • 2 Tbsp chili flakes

In a medium sauce or frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat until it begins to shimmer, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat, add the chili flakes, and let steep for 5 minutes.

Lemon Parsley Mojo

  • 1 cup [250 ml] olive oil

  • 2 lemons (about 3 oz [90 ml]), zest and juice

  • 10 sprigs parsley, about 2 oz [60 g], or 1 cup [60 g] chopped parsley

  • 1⁄2 tsp salt

Combine all the ingredients to make a chunky, oily paste.

Reprinted from Grist: A Practical Guide to Cooking Grains, Beans, Seeds, and Legumes by Abra Berens with permission from Chronicle Books, 2021. Photographs © EE Berger.

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