Yellow Split Pea, Kale, and Italian Sausage Soup

ng_yellowlentilsoupI love not only how flavorful this soup is, but how very beautiful it is. With the color contrasts between the yellow split peas, the dark green kale, and the bright red tomatoes, it is a very striking soup. The basil, cumin and sausage make it very flavorful. Altogether a lovely soup for a chilly night. We slurped it up with delight.

This soup will be part of the Nourishing Soups and Stews Carnival that I will post later Tuesday night. Please come back later to join that!

A few notes on the ingredients. I used fresh tomatoes, as I love how they look in a soup and I like to avoid the chemicals in canned food. However I am sure that you could substitute a 14 ounce can of chopped tomatoes. I used mild Italian sausage (a very nice, custom made one that I can buy locally). You can use whatever type you like best, hot would be good as well. Chicken or turkey sausage would work beautifully and I am sure that this soup would still be good even without the sausage for a vegetarian/vegan soup, as well.

I used lacinato kale once again, which is so easy to cook with. But if you use regular kale, you will want to strip the leaves off of the stems. You could also experiment with using different legumes, such as lentils.

All to say, you have options!

Yellow Split Pea, Kale and Italian Sausage Soup

    2 cups of yellow split peas, soaked overnight and rinsed
    1 onion, peeled and chopped into about 1/4 inch pieces
    3 garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced
    3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    2 teaspoons dried basil
    I bunch of lacinato kale, washed, tough stems cut off and coarsely chopped
    2 large tomatoes, washed and chopped into large chunks
    3/4 pound of mild Italian sausage, in ground form, or casings removed from link form.
    1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    2 teaspoons sea salt
    freshly ground pepper
    2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1-Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat, When hot (though not smoking) add onion and cook until just starting to soften (make sure you stir during this process).

2-Add garlic and cook one minute. Then add the yellow split peas, 8 cups of water, and the dried basil and cumin. Bring to a simmer and cook covered for about 30-40 minutes, until the yellow split peas are soft (but not mushy).

3-Add the kale and tomatoes and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the kale is soft. Meanwhile, fry up your sausage in a saucepan over med-high heat, stirring the meat and breaking up clumps, until cooked all the way through. If there is any fat, drain away.

4-Add the sausage and vinegar and add about 2 teaspoons of sea salt and one teaspoon of pepper and adjust to taste. 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!


  1. says

    Hi there! I’m a new reader and totally loving your blog. I was wondering if this recipe could be made in a crock pot and if so, if you had any tips for just how to do that! Would the amount of liquid need to be reduced maybe?

  2. KimiHarris says

    Hi Regina,

    I am sure that it could be. Just don’t add the acidic ingredients (like the tomatoes and vinegar) until near the end of the cooking time. You may also want to do step 1, and then dump everything into the crockpot. Hope that helps! I think the liquid amount should work okay.

  3. Angie says

    Mmmm! I made this tonight for our family. What a treat after a long day of playing in the snow. Everyone gobbled it up! Even my 4 year old liked it and she can be tough to please. Thanks!

  4. says

    I made this soup and although I’ve commented to you personally Kimi, I wanted to be sure to let others know that they MUST make this soup!

    I split the recipe in half since I’m single but plan to make the full recipe and freeze more portions this time. I must admit to being skeptical about how it would taste but this is hands down my most favorite soup now. Once it was finished cooking, I portioned it into single servings, placed a layer of wax paper on top of each, then sealed each plastic container. I kept one serving for me to eat – now that I’ve reminded myself of how good it was, I think that I shall thaw more sausage and make it again today!


  5. says

    I just wanted to quickly thank you for this recipe….and many others that you provide. I often stop by here to check out what you’re cooking up next! This soup has become one of my favorites! And, even my 9 mo. old daughter, who still shows little to no interest in solids, loved the broth and little bits of yellow split pea! yay!!

  6. Sheri Lynn says

    Hi Kim,

    I’ve been a regular reader for several weeks now and I really must thank you for all your hard work and posting these wonderful recipes! I’m a newbie to NT. We are making a lot of big changes, so your site has been a great help to me. I’m putting this soup into next week’s meal plan, looks delish! My husband loves sausage so it is sure to please. He even loved your turkey apple sausage, it’s our new saturday morning staple with eggs or your whole wheat soaked pancakes. We’ll be trying the sourdough ones soon enough now that my starter is ready! Thanks and God bless!

  7. Jeanne-Marie says

    This is one of the best soup’s I’ve ever eaten. So healthy and tasty, I will make this over and over again. If I take out the meat, what can I add to complement the lentils to make a perfect protein?


  8. says

    Great site! Great inspiration! Thank-you Kimi!
    I was all set to make this a few months ago … and, no peas 🙁 So, red lentils were subbed out and it was a huge hit (less cooking time) … never have made it with the peas after that, it a favorite staple … with love, Taffy

  9. Suzanne says

    This soup had excellent flavor! My husband and I agreed that the Italian sausage made the soup. I had many garden tomatoes to use up, so I used about 5 medium sized tomatoes. Also only had fresh basil, so used lots of that in place of the dried. I used about 3 cups homemade chicken stock and 5 cups water to make the soup base. And my husband loves meat, so I doubled the amount of sausage (used 1lb hot and 1lb sweet Italian sausage). Everything else I did as the recipe says. This is our new favorite soup! I love the simplicity of ingredients, yet the full flavor. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  10. says

    Looks divine, so I think I’ll make it this week! I have everything but the kale, so it will be a perfect quick fix for the weekend. I think I’ll replace some of the water with chicken stock, since I’m roasting two pastured chickens tonight. I planned to make stock out of the leftovers, so I was looking for a good soup to use it in. Thaks, Kimi!

  11. Beth says

    When I first read the ingredients aloud to my boyfriend, he laughed – not at the soup but at me because I eat like a five year old, lots of cheese and bread. Kale is my cryptonite. But, I tried it anyway, for him because I thought he would like it and he did. A lot. Even more surprising was how much I liked it. I loved it. The cumin and the balsamic vinegar are amazing in this soup. So, if you are like me and recoil from words like “healthy” and “hearty” and “kale” give this a shot anyway. I am so glad that I did!

  12. says

    I may try this. as it looks so good. However, I am dissapointed that there are no numbers for fat, protein, calories,carbs and I did not see a serving size. As one watching these numbers, I tend to ignore recipies without these facts.

    • Lisa Bredenkamp says

      There are many ‘calculators’ out there on the web that allow you to enter in the ingredients for a recipe and then will return nutrition information such as calories, fat, sugars, and protein. Bloggers like Kimberly are so generous. It would be a shame if you choose not to partake in her generosity and deny yourself access to these wonderful recipes, when it would be so easy for you to find and use one of these tools yourself.

  13. laurie ohleger says

    My boyfriend just made he LEMON CURD BARS……OMGosh… love!!
    I am going to be looking more into your recipes as I am a personal trainer and think thses would really be helpful to clients!! We are always looking for healthy recipes!!

  14. Linda says

    I found this recipe on Pinterest and it was delicious! I made it exactly according to the recipe and it was wonderful – I will definitely make it again and again. Thank you for the recipe! 🙂

  15. Lisa Bredenkamp says

    Thank you so much Kimberly! This soup is wonderful. I made it with spicy Italian sausage, so it had a nice kick. Delicious, and different. You do such a wonderful job creating recipes with a variety of ingredients, and I do so appreciate your work! Just bought your ‘Salads’ book – can’t wait to try my hand at nourishing salads.

  16. carol says

    am about to make this yellow split pea/kale soup- yum- but it would be nice if you mentioned how many servings it will afford… i can’t see it easily, if you did…


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