Split peas are a member of the legume family, as are lentils. However, split peas are an actual field pea that is dried. Once dried, the outer skin of the pea is removed and the pea is split in half. Lentils, on the other hand, are the seeds found in the pods of a small annual plant.
Split peas come in green and yellow varieties. Green split peas are sweeter than the yellow variety. They are most commonly used in split pea soup. Due to their yellow color, yellow split peas are sometimes used to make Indian dal recipes. The word “dal” comes from the Sanskrit word meaning “to split.”