In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onion for 4 minutes or until beginning to soften. Add the garlic and saute for another minute, or until fragrant.
Stir in the split peas and stir to coat. Add in the vegetable broth and the thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer with the lid partially on for 30 minutes, or until the split peas are softened.
Add in the frozen of fresh peas, and simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes or until thawed (or if fresh, until bright green). Let cool slightly.
Puree the soup and the parsley in 3 batches in a blender, or puree in the pot with an immersion blender. (If you’re using a blender, be careful!! The steam can cause the lid of the blender to shoot off – make sure the soup has cooled slightly, and place a folded towel over the lid and hold down tightly while pureeing.) Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Saute the bacon in a large sauté pan over medium-high until crisp. Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Cut the crusts off the bread and cut into small cubes. Saute the bread cubes in the remaining bacon grease until brown and crisp. Season with salt and pepper, and remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
Serve the soup in bowls, garnished with crumbled bacon, fresh peas, parsley leaves, and croutons.
*I used petites pois, which are smaller and sweeter. But regular peas are fine, too!