Runner recipe: Smokey split pea soup


Destinee Sims

This soup is light, flavorful, and pairs amazingly with your favorite breads.

Destinee Sims, Opinions Editor

  When the groceries are running low and there’s limited money to purchase more, don’t be afraid to turn to local food banks to help you get through the rough patches. Many places, like CSU Bakersfield’s Food Pantry, regularly keep dried goods like split peas on hand. They’re cheap, easily stored, and can be very filling. This split pea soup recipe is a delicious way to utilize many of those ingredients on a budget. It may have taken some time to simmer, but it left my family with leftovers for days. This soup tastes just as good reheated, and it the ingredients can be purchased for less than $20. Whether you’re a soup lover or just trying to make every dollar stretch, a bowl of this split pea soup will leave you feeling warm and happy. 


Yield: about 12 quarts 

Soak time: 8 hours 

Prep time: 15 minutes 

Cook time: 2 ½-3 hours 

Total handling time: 2 ¾-3 ¼ hours 



Destinee Sims
The split peas expand after being soaked, causing them to also lighten in color.

1 ham hock. See below for pork and meat free substitutes. 

2 pounds of dried green split peas 

64 ounces of chicken or vegetable broth 

32 ounces of water 

5 large carrots, sliced 

4 celery stalks 

1 white onion, diced 

1 tablespoon black pepper 

1 tablespoon thyme 

1 tablespoon oregano 

1 tablespoon basil 

1 teaspoon cumin 

1 teaspoon paprika 

For pork-free split pea soup: Add approximately 1 tablespoon of liquid smoke, as well as an optional meat of your choice or meat substitute. This allows the soup to maintain the same smoky flavor, as well as keep a similar texture. 

Tip: For better and faster cooking, soak the split peas overnight in water. This also helps draw out any impurities. 


  After rinsing your peas using fresh water and a strainer, place them in a large soup pot. Add the rest of your vegetables.  

  Using a large spoon, mix the vegetables together. 

  Add the ham hock or meat alternative, followed by your spices. 

  Pouring in all of the liquids, be sure to stir the ingredients. It will be difficult to do around the large ham hock, but it helps try to ensure it cooks well. 

Destinee Sims
This flavorful dish may look intimidating now, but the meat will be tender enough to fall off the bone after cooking.

Bring the soup to a boil, then cover the pot. Be sure to leave the lid off just enough for a small amount of steam to escape. Reduce the heat to a simmer.  

  Allow the soup to continue cooking for approximately three hours, or until the soup has achieved the desired consistency and the meat is tender. Remove the ham hock from the pot, and place it on a plate or pan.  

  Using a knife, cut the remaining meat from the bone. This step should be fairly easy, as the meat should be so tender once it is fully cooked that it almost falls of the bone. 

  Add the remaining pieces of meat back to the soup, and stir to finish preparing the soup. 

  Serve the soup with your favorite crackers or with a delicious piece of French bread.  

Do you have a recipe that is perfect for college students? Send it in to The Runner at [email protected] for it to be shared on our website!