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Mama's Split Pea Soup Recipe

Updated on August 24, 2017
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Exploring food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes... one ingredient at a time.

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.

Cast your vote for Split Pea Soup

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, Wash and Sort the White Beans

Do I Really Have to Do That?

What Do You 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, place your washed beans in an 8-quart stockpot. Add enough water to have about 2 inches of water above the beans (about 6 cups of water). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil 2 minutes and then remove from the 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 stockpot to heat; bring beans to a simmer over low heat and cook for 90 minutes or until the beans are tender but still hold their shape.

  • 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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