A Healthy $1 Menu Guest Post: Split Mung Bean Soup


I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Ours went great with a lot of food and family time. I had the first time honor of making the turkey and everyone said it was one of the best turkeys they ever had, which was quite flattering and my head probably grew three sizes. (3 Tips: Start with a good turkey, brine it, and cook it breast side down for the first half of the cooking).

If you have eaten all of your leftovers by now, it’s the perfect time for a frugal and simple meal after so much rich food! Today I am very pleased to have Wardeh from the lovely blog, Gnowfglins.com share a guest post as part of the healthy $1 Menu Series. Thanks Wardeh! This sounds lovely.

Last winter, I ordered split mung beans (also called mung dal beans) by accident. These interesting beans became the basis for a family-favorite soup with fantastic flavor.

You might wonder, as I did when I received these beans: what are split mung beans? They are mung beans that have been skinned and split. They cook quickly anyway, but I do an overnight soak to make sure they are fully digestible. You’ll likely find them through a natural food co-op, health food store, or ethnic market. Look for split mung, mung dal, moong dal, or yellow mung beans. The terms are interchangeable and all stand for mung beans that have been husked and split.

When I learned about Kimi’s Healthy $1 Menu, the first dish that came to my mind was my split mung bean soup. I hoped it would make the cut at under a dollar per serving, and boy, did it! At 61 cents per serving, this delicious and nourishing soup is undoubtedly frugal. If you omit the tomatoes, as some might want to do, each serving is 44 cents.

Here’s the cost breakdown:

The following prices come from Azure Standard, another similar food natural food warehouse, and local vegetable prices. All ingredients are organic, except the turmeric.

-split mung beans, 18 ounces for $2.36

-turmeric, .2 ounces for $.11

-cumin, .15 ounces for $.18

-ginger, .05 ounces for $.03

-Himalayan sea salt, .6 ounces for $.26

-unrefined coconut oil, 1.8 ounces for $.58

-onion, 1 pound for $.67

-garlic, .6 ounces for $.17

-tomato, 1 pound for $1.75

Total: $6.12, or $.61 per serving (10 servings)

If you splurge on a store-bought loaf of whole-grain sourdough bread or make your own sourdough bread (for $3.50 and serving 10), the cost goes up by 35 cents per serving, making the total meal’s cost 96 cents – still under a dollar.

split-mung-beans-whole-mung-beans(This picture shows the difference between split mung beans and whole)

Split Mung Bean Soup

by Wardeh Harmon

Makes 16 cups – 10 servings (1-1/2 cups per serving)

    2-1/2 cups split mung beans

    8 cups clean water, plus an additional 8 cups clean water

    1 teaspoon ground turmeric

    3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

    1/4 teaspoon dried ginger

    3 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil (or butter or ghee)

    3 cloves fresh garlic, diced or sliced

    1 onion, diced

    1 medium tomato, diced

    3 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste

Soak the beans in 8 cups of water overnight. In the morning, drain and rinse.

In a 6 to 8 quart stockpot, put the beans and 8 cups of fresh water. Move the pot to the stovetop. Add turmeric, cumin and ginger and bring to a simmer. When it first comes to a boil, it can foam up quite high and quite quickly, so be prepared to stir down the foam and turn down the heat. Cover and let simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, put coconut oil, garlic and onion in a skillet and saute until soft. Add to soup after it has simmered for 15 to 20 minutes.

After 30 to 40 minutes, the soup should be thick, and the individual beans will be falling apart. Add the diced tomatoes and salt to taste. Let the tomatoes simmer in the soup for about 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings as you prefer.

Serve and enjoy!

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. says

    What a nutritious and frugal recipe! I can’t wait to try it. I have some split mung beans from making mung dal begging to be cooked.

    Although mung beans cook up very quickly, I like to soak them for a few hours since they are beans. I usually add some grain to the meal, such as brown rice or a whole grain bread to complete the amino acid balance, a complete protein for a meatless meal.

  2. Jessie says

    I am definitely going to be on the lookout for mung beans! This looks great!

    There’s an Indian supermarket near me that I’ve wanted to go to & now I have an extra reason!

  3. Judy @ Judys Traditional Cooking says

    Kimi, I’m trying to access your Nourishing Portable Foods Carnival but the link sends me to Soups and Stews. Would you link me up with the portable food please? I love your site so much and find your recipes to really work in real life which is so valuable to me. Thank you!

  4. says

    Yana, a comparable substitute, in terms of similar cooking times and texture, would be split peas. If you try whole mung beans (which I haven’t done), probably you’d want to get all the skins off after the soaking.

  5. says

    Elizabeth from The Nourished Life ~ That is a great idea to use turkey broth as the soup base ~ it will up the nutrition considerably!

    Nurturing Wisdom ~ I am guilty of skimming recipes, too, so no worries! I like your idea to add the grain in with the soaking. I am going to start a pot that way tonight. Sharing this recipe makes me want to eat some again, very soon!

  6. says

    Oh, my. This soup looks absolutely lovely. So colorful and I can almost smell the savory scent that comes with a bean soup. going to have to try this one.:)

  7. says

    I’m going to be making this tonight with split peas! I don’t have mung beans, although I did see them at my co-op last time I was there. You can bet I’ll be buying some next time I shop! I was wondering, though – can I use fresh ginger, and if so, how much would you suggest I use? I have a big ol’ piece and I’d love to use it. Of course, if dried would be better, I do have some of that, too.
    I’ll be sure to come back to let everyone know how it turned out with the split peas. 🙂

  8. rosebud says

    I added finely chopped kale at the same time as the tomatoes for extra nutrition. I also used split peas instead of the mung beans and it worked, fine (can’t compare with the mung beans, not having used them before.) I doubled all the spices except the salt because we like things well spiced, and I used broth instead of water when boiling the peas.
    Thanks for the recipe.

  9. says

    Mama Rissa – Sorry for not seeing your comment until today! (Though I did see you were making this via Twitter.) It is too late now, but I guess if I were using fresh ginger, I’d use anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon and then taste!

    rosebud – That’s wonderful! I’m glad you doubled the spices – sometimes I up them, too. My mom adds ground coriander to this recipe, on the advice of a chef who thinks coriander and mung beans “go together”. 🙂 I’d like to try this with split peas sometime, too.

  10. betty says

    what is the advantage of split mung beans over whole mung beans? isn’t there a nutritional loss when you remove the green outer part of the mung bean?

  11. betty says

    what is the advantage of split mung beans over whole mung beans? isn’t there a nutritional loss when you remove the green outer part of the mung bean?


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