Split peas are a type of legume made from dried, peeled and split peas.
Yellow split peas come from yellow peas, also known as golden peas. In contrast, green split peas are a product made from green peas.
This article explores the nutritional properties of yellow split peas and their potential benefits.
The Nutritional Values of Yellow Split Peas
There are several nutritional advantages of including yellow split peas in one’s diet, which we’ll now explore these.
The following tables show the nutritional content of cooked yellow split peas per 196-gram cup serving.
All nutritional data is sourced from the Nutrition Coordinating Center’s (NCC) Food and Nutrient Database.
Percent daily values have been calculated using this NCC data in conjunction with the FDA’s recommended daily values, based on a 2000-calorie diet.
|Name||Amount||% Daily Value|
|Water content||136 g|
From the table, we can observe that yellow split peas are a nutrient-dense legume that is particularly rich in fiber.
|Vitamin||Amount||% Daily Value|
|Folate, DFE||127.40 mcg||31.9%|
|Vitamin A, RAE||0.65 mcg||0.1%|
|Vitamin B1 (thiamin)||0.37 mg||30.8%|
|Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)||0.11 mg||8.5%|
|Vitamin B3 (niacin)||1.74 mg||10.9%|
|Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)||1.17 mg||23.4%|
|Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)||0.09 mg||5.3%|
|Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)||0 mcg||0%|
|Vitamin C||0.78 mg||0.9%|
|Vitamin D||0 mcg||0%|
|Vitamin E||0.06 mg||0.4%|
|Vitamin K||9.80 mcg||8.2%|
As indicated in the table, yellow split peas provide a high quantity of choline, folate, and B vitamins.
B vitamins are essential for metabolizing dietary carbohydrates, fats, and protein, as well as converting food into energy. They also play vital roles in the nervous system and contribute to hair and skin health (5, 6).
|Mineral||Amount||% Daily Value|
As shown in the table, yellow split peas offer a wide range of minerals. Among these minerals, they contain a substantial amount of copper and manganese.
Copper plays an essential role in energy production and the development of tissues and blood vessels. Additionally, this mineral is crucial for brain development and the proper function of the immune system (7, 8).
Benefits (and Potential Benefits) of Yellow Split Peas
Here is an overview of the general nutritional benefits of yellow split peas:
- High in fiber: Split peas are an excellent source of fiber, with a 196-gram cup serving providing over 20 grams of fiber for just 231 calories. This high fiber density makes this legume one of the best dietary sources of fiber.
- Rich in plant protein: Yellow split peas offer 16 grams of protein per 196-gram cup serving. While not quite as protein-rich as legumes like cannellini beans and lupin beans, it’s still a substantial amount. Additionally, as a plant-based option, it is a suitable protein source for vegetarians and vegans.
- Micronutrient-rich: As demonstrated in the nutritional data section, yellow split peas supply a broad range of vitamins and minerals.
- Phytochemical content: Yellow split peas contain various phytonutrients, including phenolic acids, flavonoids, and saponins (9, 10). Phytonutrients are bioactive compounds found in plants that can benefit human health (11).
- Affordability: yellow split peas are typically priced very affordably. They offer a lower cost per gram of protein compared to other protein-rich foods.
The following sections will also outline some of the potential additional benefits of yellow split peas.
Potential Satiety Response Benefits
Satiety refers to the feeling of contentment after a meal, with no desire to eat more food. Foods that promote satiety can help maintain a healthy overall diet and even potentially reduce food intake.
One study investigated the potential impact of yellow split peas on satiety. This was a randomized crossover trial published in the ‘Foods’ journal, involving 24 healthy adult participants (15).
The participants consumed either 50 grams of carbohydrates from white bread or 50 grams of carbohydrates from bread containing 20% yellow split pea flour.
Compared to the white bread control, participants reported 18% ‘higher fullness’ and 16-18% ‘lower hunger’ and ‘desire to eat’ after consuming the bread containing 20% yellow split peas.
However, this somewhat reinforces what we already know; carbohydrate quality matters. In this regard, carbohydrate-based foods with higher fiber content outperform refined carbohydrates in terms of health-related outcomes (16).
Foods high in fiber, such as yellow split peas, offer digestive health benefits. In this regard, pulses such as dried split peas have the highest proportion of fiber among various legumes (17).
In this context, yellow split peas contain a type of carbohydrate known as ‘resistant starch,’ which the human body has difficulty digesting.
As a result, it passes through to the colon (large bowel), where intestinal bacteria break it down and ferment it. Feeding beneficial gut bacteria with foods like yellow split peas promotes their growth and enhances short-chain fatty acid production in the colon, believed to be beneficial for overall health (16).
Legumes Are Associated With Cardiovascular Benefit
While there is limited specific research on the long-term health effects of yellow split peas, this is not the case for the broader legume category.
In this context, several recent large systematic reviews have examined the connection between legume consumption and long-term cardiovascular risk.
Based on the findings from these studies, individuals who consume approximately 400-500 grams of legumes per week appear to be in an “optimal” range for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease (17, 18, 19).
Two potential reasons for these apparent cardiovascular benefits are as follows:
- The fiber content of legumes can reduce LDL-C (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) levels. Elevated LDL-C levels are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (20, 21, 22, 23, 24).
- Several large cohorts have shown that higher legume intake is linked to better blood pressure control. Once again, high blood pressure (hypertension) is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease (25, 26, 27).
Are There Any Downsides of Yellow Split Peas?
While yellow split peas are generally considered a healthy food, like all foods, they may have potential downsides.
Here is an overview of some possible drawbacks:
- Allergy: Allergies to split peas are relatively rare compared to common allergens like soy, dairy, and shellfish. However, all types of peas contain allergens, and there have been documented cases of allergic reactions (28, 29, 30). If you suspect you have an allergy to peas, then it’s essential to avoid yellow split peas and seek guidance from a physician or trusted health professional.
- Bloating and gas: In some individuals, consuming large amounts of fiber can potentially lead to symptoms of gastrointestinal distress, such as bloating and gas. This is especially true when significant amounts of fiber are introduced suddenly into the diet. The National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus recommends to “slowly increase the amount of fiber in your diet” to reduce such effects (31).
How To Use Yellow Split Peas
Yellow split peas, like other legumes, are a versatile food that can be used in numerous ways.
To prepare yellow split peas, follow these steps:
- Boiling: Add the split peas to a pot, add water, and bring it to a boil on the hob. Use 500 ml of water per 100 grams of dried yellow split peas.
- Simmer: Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook the split peas for a further 30-35 minutes until they soften and become tender.
Yellow split peas are very popular in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine.
Here are some ideas on how to use them:
- Add them to a dish: Enhance curries, soups, and stews with cooked yellow split peas to add fiber, protein, and thickness to the dish.
- Make Dal: Dal is a classic Indian recipe that combines yellow split peas with various spices.
- Persian yellow split pea stew: try your hand at this traditional Persian dish. It features split peas, chicken, various vegetables, and a variety of herbs and spices.
- Stir-fries: Boost the nutritional content of your stir-fries by adding cooked yellow split peas as a protein-rich alternative to rice or noodles.
- Tofu: While tofu is traditionally made with soybeans, it is possible to use different legumes like split peas to make your tofu. For example, see this recipe for split pea tofu.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about yellow split peas:
Cooking takes approximately 40-45 minutes.
It is not necessary to soak them prior to cooking. However, soaking the split peas for several hours before cooking can slightly reduce the total cooking time.
When stored in an airtight bag in a cool place, you can store dried yellow split peas for many months, or even years. However, the packaging should note the ‘best before’ date, before which they should be at their optimal quality.
The difference is minimal. Green split peas are produced from green peas, whereas yellow split peas come from yellow (or “golden”) peas. They have similar nutritional profiles and can be used interchangeably in recipes.
This article highlights the numerous nutritional benefits of yellow split peas.
They stand out for their fiber and protein content, as well as their broad provision of vitamins and minerals.
Additionally, like with other legumes, yellow split peas may offer longer-term health benefits, such as a potentially reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
Yellow split peas are also an affordable and versatile food, making them a useful ingredient to include in the diet.