Sausage & Kale Split Pea Soup

Back in 2004 when I first wrote this column, something called "kale" was the new green on the block, not the trendy find-it-everywhere green it is today. For this recipe, I modified a classic split pea soup, adding kale for healthiness and a touch of sweetness and a bit of sausage for richness and texture. Delicious, this stuff! It's easily converted to a vegetarian or vegan soup and perfect for the fickleness of late-winter, early-spring days. Let's go green, "kale green"!

Sausage & Kale Split Pea Soup, a classic split pea soup recipe made extra-hearty with sausage and kale. | Weight Watchers PointsPlus 3 |

"It was great!" ~ Kathy

Lime green. Mint green. Olive green. Sage green. Kale green.

Kale green? Yes, kale green. It’s a new green, in the color and the culinary sense, your body and taste buds will thank you for seeking out.

Kale is part of the cabbage family. Like most greens, it is easiest to find during the winter. Find bunches of kale, its leaves dark and tinged with purple and packed with calcium, iron, folic acid and vitamins A and C, in the produce section.

Like cabbage, kale gains sweetness while cooking. So do split peas.

This recipe’s first test was for lunch for a girlfriend and a teenage nephew helping paint the family room. (The paint color? Tundra green.)

The recipe called for lentils but without hesitation, I substituted split peas when that’s what was in the pantry. “Yum,” was our unanimous reaction.

When making another batch with lentils later, was I ever surprised that the split peas were far preferable, yielding a softly sweet and creamy soup.

ALANNA's TIPS To clean kale, separate the leaves and soak for a minute or so in a sinkful of water, then rinse each leaf carefully under running water. Tear off the stems and center ribs, which are tough, then chop the leaves as fine as possible to prevent strings of kale forming as the soup cooks. Plan to freeze leftover soup for another meal. Plastic freezer bags work great, especially if your freezer is small, and come in pint, quart and gallon sizes, one of which is likely ‘meal’ size for your own family.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite winter soup recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Stove-top time: 90 minutes
Makes 15 cups (freezes well or make a half batch)
  • 4 ounces smoked kielbasa or Italian sausage or another sausage
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cups dried yellow or green split peas (about 14 ounces), rinsed and picked through
  • 6 cups water
  • 6 cups chicken stock, either No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock or Homemade Chicken Stock
  • 1 bunch sturdy kale such as curly kale or lacinto kale, stems and center ribs removed, greens chopped fine (see TIPS), about 5 ounces after trimming, or fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium high. Slice kielbasa in quarters lengthwise, then again crosswise in half-inch pieces. Drop into pot (they should sizzle) and stir lightly to spread evenly over bottom. Add garlic and onion as minced and chopped and lower heat to medium. Stirring regularly, cook until sausage is slightly crispy and onion is soft. (If the sausage isn't pre-cooked, be sure to cook it all the way through.)

Add split peas, water, stock and kale. (If substituting spinach, add it five minutes before serving rather than now.)

Cover and simmer for about 90 minutes or until peas are cooked through. Stir in vinegar, salt and pepper and serve immediately.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per cup: 137 Calories; 3g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 21g Carb; 8g Fiber; 487mg Sodium; 5mg Cholesterol; 9g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS WW Old Points 2, WW PointsPlus 3 CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving, 3/4 cup; 50-calorie serving, 1/3 cup.

VEGAN POTATO & KALE SPLIT PEA SOUP To easily "veganize" this soup, just omit the sausage and chicken stock. For a texture contrast, dice one or two skin-on Yukon Gold potatoes, then use a vegetable broth.

More Hearty Soup Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Homemade Lentil Soup Crockpot Chili with Spicy Sausage Creamy Wild Rice Soup

More Kale Recipes

~ Seductive Kale Salad ~
~ Quinoa Pilaf with Kale & Corn ~
~ Quick 'Massaged' Kale Salad ~
~ more kale recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog

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© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2004, 2005 (online), 2007, 2013 (repub), 2015

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I made your kale-split pea soup tonight with curly kale. It was great!

    To make it vegan, I used a potato and some thyme instead of the
    kielbasa, veggie broth instead of chicken, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice
    instead of vinegar. Delish.

    Next time I'll try adding the kale just during the last 20 or 30 minutes, though, so it might stay a brighter green.

  2. My folks arrived Friday for a month long stay just down the road, and I stocked their freezer with a pint size jar and a quart size jar of soups from last week's Mixed Greens Soup Off. I'd chopped/blanched/frozen the kale, turnip greens, collards, and spinach (and maybe mustard? I don't recall) from one week's farm share (yes, one week's worth--plus bags of salad! No wonder I froze them!) and made dueling soups along these lines.

    So far the Swedish Wedding Soup jar came back empty.
    Thanks, Alanna--I'm trying this next time with split peas!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna