Recipes from Renee: Barley and Split Pea Soup with Kate and Sweet Potato

Yellow Split Pea Soup

Chef Renee Bean has been with the OSUCCC – James as the executive chef, first of the McCoy Suite and now the Michael D. Bloch Suite, since 1990 when The James opened its first executive suite. There, she cooks her signature healthy, delicious foods that impress families and complement the experience of excellence at The James.

Says Bean, “This hospital is really special and provides world-class care. I want this dining room to reflect the same level of world-class service. You’re not just having lunch; you’re having an experience. And I’m going to give you the best experience possible.”

Bean, whose specialties are soups and desserts, knows firsthand what it’s like to be a patient at The James; in 2003 she was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor on the base of her tongue — an illness that threatened to extinguish her taste buds and career as a chef. Her head and neck surgeon, David Schuller, MD, took a conservative approach to tumor removal and treatment that left Bean with her tongue, as well as taste buds that still operate, albeit somewhat differently.

“Working here every day, I thought I knew what having cancer looked like, but I realized I had no idea once I was on the other side. I went through surgery, chemo and radiation, and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But it gives me a new appreciation for people who have to go through it. It amazes me the compassion people have around here,” says Bean.

This is the first of a new series of blog posts to feature Renee’s recipes that are not only delicious, but also incorporate cancer-fighting foods!

Barley and Split Pea Soup with Kale and Sweet Potato

Servings: 10

Kale is a rich source of organosulfur compounds, which have been shown to reduce the risk of many cancers, especially colon cancer. The cancer-protective compounds in kale have thus been the subject of intense research, particularly their role in blocking the growth of cancer cells and inducing cancer cell death. Dry beans and peas are rich in fiber and a good source of protein. They are also an excellent source of folate, a B vitamin. Foods containing folate help reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer probably because of folate's role in healthy cell division and repair of damaged cells. In addition, Pumpkin, along with carrots, squash, red and yellow peppers, and sweet potatoes, are excellent sources of beta carotene. Eaten regularly, these powerhouses help reduce the risk of many types of cancer through their potent antioxidant capacity. And garlic has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer of the stomach, esophagus and breast. Mince garlic 10 minutes before cooking to increase its cancer fighting potential.

(Food facts are thanks to the American Institute of Cancer Research.)

Chef Tip from Renee: I also will roast crimini mushrooms and add that to the soup. It gives it a nice earthy flavor.


  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 2 cups Onion chopped
  • 2 Tbs Garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbs Cumin, ground
  • 1  cup Yellow Spilt Peas
  • 1/2 cup Barley
  • 10 cups Vegetable stock
  • 6 cups Kale, chopped. Stems removed (about 1/2 pound)
  • 2 Sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper freshly ground,(to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp Salt (to taste)


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Peel and cube sweet potatoes. Toss in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place in a rimmed baking sheet and roast in over for about 30 minutes or until slightly browned and cooked in the center.
  3. Chop the onions and garlic. Heat a stock pot on the stove on medium heat, Add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add onions and sauté for about 20 minutes or until they start to caramelize. Add garlic and cumin, cook until fragrant which will take about one minute .
  4. Add split peas and barley, stir to coat with the onion oil mix. Add stock, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 1 hour. Cook until peas have completely broken down.
  5. Meanwhile wash and chop kale. Add to soup with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer on low for about 20 minutes. Add sweet potatoes.
  6. Enjoy!

Cooking Times

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Nutrition Facts

Serving size: 1/10 of a recipe (13.5 ounces)

Amount Per Serving (% Daily Value)

Calories: 371.66
Calories From Fat: 89.41 (24%)
Calories From Protein: 55.02 (15%)
Calories From Carbohydrates: 227.23 (61%)
Calories From Alcohol: 0 (0%)
Total Fat: 10.14 (16%)
Saturated Fat: 1.75g (9%)
Monounsaturated Fat: 5.28g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.5g
Trans Fatty Acids: 0g
Cholesterol: 2.46mg (1%)
Sodium: 2361.93mg (98%)
Potassium: 956.45mg (27%)
Total Carbohydrates: 58.56g (20%)
Fiber: 12g (48%)
Sugar: 4.14g
Sugar Alcohols: 0
Net Carbohydrates: 0
Protein: 14.23g (28%)
Vitamin A: 14109.26IU (282%)
Vitamin C: 56.68mg (94%)
Calcium: 128.21mg (13%)
Iron: 4.58mg (25%)
Vitamin E: 0.94mg (9%)
Vitamin D: 0IU
Thiamin: 0.39mg (26%)
Riboflavin: 0.24mg (14%)
Niacin: 3.55mg (18%)
Vitamin B6: 0.41mg (21%)
Folate: 97.38mcg (24%)
Vitamin B12: 0mcg (0%)
Pantothenic Acid: 0.67 (7%)
Vitamin K: 0mcg
Phosphorus: 146.33mg (15%)
Magnesium: 61.41mg (15%)
Zinc: 2.8mg (19%)
Copper: 0.4mg (20%)
Manganese: 0.94mg (47%)
Selenium: 4.8mcg (7%)
Alcohol: 0g
Caffeine: 0mg
Water: 86.77g (0%)

Percent daily values based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional information calculated from recipe ingredients.