Swedish yellow split pea soup was a favorite in my home growing up: cheap and simple for my mother to put together, and a dish all of us (brother, sister, me, Dad) were happy to gobble up. Yellow is mellow in the world of split peas, and we balked the few times Mom had to substitute the green variety.
I posted my own version of yellow split pea soup years ago, and after sharing my red lentil kefta recipe the other week (in case you missed it, it is akin to falafel, but made with split red lentils), I had a lightbulb moment: why not do something similar with yellow split peas? I could not think of a reason, and I am so glad.
Welcome (another) new version of falafel: Swedish Split Pea Falafel!
Rather than adding traditional falafel flavorings to the split peas (e.g., garlic, ground cumin, cilantro), I opted for tastes typical of Swedish split pea soup (Ärtsoppa): carrots, onion, parsley, marjoram and a pinch of cloves (trust me on the cloves; the flavor is very subtle, but unique). The carrots up the yellow color of the peas, but also (along with the onion) add moisture and a tender texture to the otherwise crispy baked patties.
I want to note that my first attempt making this falafel was a fail, and it had to do with the peas themselves. I followed the same steps I take when making falafel from chickpeas (or red lentils): soak, drain, and then grind (uncooked) along with the vegetables and flavorings in a food processor. Sadly, my peas would not comply when I tried to press them into patties. I tried adding some binders before realizing I was making things worse. Back to the drawing board.
I knew that dried peas become thick and creamy when cooked, which boded well for patty-making. But I didn’t want to cook the peas for too long and end up with mushy bites. So in my second attempt I simmered the soaked peas for a few minutes before grinding. Bingo! It worked like a charm, and the resulting texture and flavor tasted just as I hoped: a crispy, crunchy-edged, hand-held version of Ärtsoppa.
I have been loving these straight up as a snack, but you can enjoy them as you would any other kind of falafel, too, in salads, wraps, and more.
You can find yellow split peas at most Indian food stores (they are used to make a variety of scrumptious dishes, including matar ki daal), health food stores, well-stocked supermarkets (on the shelves with dried beans and lentils), and online.
Happy eats, everybody!