Ärtsoppa (Swedish Yellow Pea Soup)

Cooking for the Swedes onboard? One piece of advise I can give you, stick with their traditions!

Here’s a bit of history about Ärtsoppa;

As Finland was until 1809 part of the Swedish Realm, Sweden and Finland share many cultural traditions, including that of the pea soup (Swedish ärtsoppa; Finnish hernekeitto ; Norwegian ertesuppe; Danish gule ærter).

In Sweden and Finland it is traditional to eat pea soup on Thursdays, served with pork and mustard, and pancakes for dessert, in Sweden sometimes accompanied by Swedish punsch as beverage. In Finland the soup is made of green peas, in Sweden yellow.

Ärtsoppa (Swedish Yellow Pea Soup) Photo by Nino Almendra
Ärtsoppa (Swedish Yellow Pea Soup)
Photo by Nino Almendra

The tradition of eating pea soup and pancakes on Thursdays is said to originate in the pre-Reformation era, as preparation for fasting on Friday.

Scandinavian pea soup normally includes pieces of pork – although it may sometimes be served on the side – and a typical recipe would also include some onion and herbs such as thyme and marjoram.

Ärtsoppa (Swedish Yellow Pea Soup)  Seasoned with Grainy Mustard
Ärtsoppa (Swedish Yellow Pea Soup)
Seasoned with Grainy Mustard

It is usually eaten with some mustard, often accompanied by crisp bread and often with the sweet liquor punsch (served hot). Mustard is an important part of the dish, but the soup is served without it so that diners can stir it in to taste.

The soup is then normally followed by pancakes with jam (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, cloudberry or similar) which are regarded more as part of the meal than as a dessert.

Ärtsoppa with Swedish Pancakes. Photo by Nino Almendra
Ärtsoppa with Swedish Pancakes.
Photo by Nino Almendra

Pea soup is also often served to large crowds in gatherings, simply because it is easy to make in large amounts and most people like it to some extent. In Finland and Sweden it is a popular school food, being very low cost and easy to prepare. (History of Ärtsoppa, Ref: Wikipedia)

A tradition dating back to World War II, Pea soup with pancakes is served 

every Thursday in the Swedish Armed Forces and the Finnish Defense Forces.

Ärtsoppa (Swedish Yellow Pea Soup) Photo by Nino Almendra
Ärtsoppa (Swedish Yellow Pea Soup)
Photo by Nino Almendra

Recipe by one of my Cooking Heroes:

Merchant Navy Chiefcook Wiberg Hasse 

* As promised from last week’s post. I will share a surprise recipe for my 1st Food post on my 2nd year! =)

Now on with the cooking…

Ärtsoppa (Swedish Yellow Pea Soup)

Soaking time: Overnight{ for the yellow peas}

Prep. time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Makes; 5 liters thick soup

Good for 12 crew

You will need;

2 cups (500grms) Yellow peas, soak in 2 liters of water overnight.

1 pc (1.5kg) Pork hock/knuckle-whole piece,no need to cut

4 liters soup stock or water

1 medium Onion,whole tack with 8 pieces of whole cloves

2 medium Onion,finely chopped

2 large Carrots,whole peeled

1 thumbsize (50grms) Ginger,peeled and sliced 1 cm across the grain.

1 teaspoon Dried Thyme

2 tbs #Seasonin to taste {or Seasalt and freshly ground black pepper.}

1 teaspoon Senap (Swedish grainy mustard) French Dijon mustard is also a good substitute.


Wash and drain soaked yellow peas.

In a large soup pot,put the first 6 ingredients. Bring to a boil on very high heat, then simmer on low heat until pork is tender and yellow peas is softened.

Discard whole onion tacked with cloves. Take out pork and transfer in a chopping board, let it cool down before deboning and cutting it into dice. Discard the pork hock bones.

Tranfer cooked whole carrots, sliced fresh ginger and 2 cups of cooled yellow pea soup in a blender. Let it liquify. Pour it back to the soup pot.

Add the diced cooked pork hock meat. Add dry thyme, mustard and #Seasonin. Garnish with freshly cut parsley.

Enjoy your meal !!! 😉

Note: Pork hocks in Sweden is normally salted. Season soup after pork had been added back.
Here’s how I do it;


2 cups (500grms) Yellow peas, soak in 2 liters of water overnight.
2 cups (500grms) Yellow peas, soak in 2 liters of water overnight.



This slideshow requires JavaScript.



This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Enjoy your meal !!! 😉

Ärtsoppa with Swedish Pancakes. Photo by Nino Almendra
Ärtsoppa with Swedish Pancakes.
Photo by Nino Almendra

Thanks alot for spending your precious time on my blog and hope this recipe encourage

you to try cooking Ärtsoppa for your Swedish crew onboard or for your love ones at home.

Believe me, they will thank you.



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Angie  of  “The Novice Gardener”

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This post is respectfully dedicated to MADIBA, 

as the world marks what would have been his 96th birthday today.

NELSON MANDELA have been a big inspiration to me.

His words, good deeds and strong will to achive freedom under any circumstances.


Mandela Quotes Life we Lead

Mandela Quotes Education


  1. I cannot believe my eyes, you have cooked hernekeitto 🙂 !!? I wouldn’t have thought that anyone outside Scandinavia knows it (or would like it)!


  2. 🙂 Cooking lesson, history lesson, and a dose of inspiration. That soup looks yummy. Very impressive that your repertoire crosses different international lines, Nino! Should you and your wife ever set up shop anywhere on land, you must let us all know.


  3. I love making, and eating, pea soup, but you have given me some good ideas here – especially the addition of grainy or Dijon mustard. And thanks for the story behind the soup. Knowing the traditions behind a recipe is always interesting. Thanks for sharing.


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