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Mama's Split Pea Soup Recipe

Updated on June 26, 2015
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We are in the midst of Spring, but the weather is definitely feeling more and more autumnal today. It's time to prepare a batch of soup.

Today I dug back into my roots and prepared a wonderful, comforting soup that my mom used to make for us. My mom was German-Russian and was brought up in very frugal conditions. Soup wasn't just a first course, a thin broth with a few vegetables floating around the rim. Soup was a stick-to-the-ribs hearty meal, and this soup is no exception. In fact, I submitted this recipe to a Progresso Soup contest and received honorable mention. I'm sure mama would have been proud.

Don't be frightened by the prospect of cooking dry beans. The process is really quite simple, healthier (have you seen the sodium levels in canned beans?), and economical. One can of beans yields about one cup of beans and costs at least $1.00 on sale--a one-pound sack of dried beans costs about the same and yields 4 to 5 cups of cooked beans.

Cook Time

  • Prep time: 1 hour 15 min
  • Cook time: 1 hour 20 min
  • Ready in: 2 hours 35 min
  • Yields: 6 servings


  • 2/3 cup dry navy or white beans
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups dry split peas
  • 2/3 cup dry lentils
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped, about 1 cup
  • 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced, about 1 cup
  • 1 small stalk celery, no tops
  • 3 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 1 medium potato, diced, about 1 cup
  • 3 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • First sort and wash the navy beans. What do I mean by sorting? Spread them out on a cookie sheet and pick through them looking for rocks, small clumps of dirt, or shriveled beans. Trust me, you don't want to have those things in your soup. Beans are not washed when they are harvested--any moisture would cause them to mold, so please wash your beans to remove field dust.

  • Next heat your washed beans and water in 3-quart saucepan. Boil 2 minutes; remove from heat. Cover and let stand 1 hour. This soaking time will reduce the actually time the beans need to simmer and will help retain nutrients.
  • Drain the beans after soaking and cover with 5 cups of fresh water. Return saucepan to heat; bring beans to a simmer over low heat; cook for 90 minutes.

  • Now it's time to add the star of the show--the split peas, along with the next 5 ingredients.
  • Stir gently, and allow to simmer for one hour. Stir in diced potato and sage; cover and simmer 10 minutes more. Add salt and pepper to taste.

© 2013 Linda Lum


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