At the first sign of cold weather, break out the split peas for a hearty pot of soup. The prep process is simple and, before you know it, those dried peas have softened into a smooth and heartwarming soup. Traditional split pea soup often uses ham for its smoked meat flavor, but you can also make a delicious meat-free soup, seasoned with carrots, celery and various spices, if you prefer a vegetarian version. Even better, before serving your soup, top the bowls with a garnish of homemade croutons. Check out Food & Wine's guide to split pea soup for more recipes and ideas on preparing this fail-safe, delicious soup.