Yellow Split Peas Soup & Bulgar wheat

Remembering impactful childhood foods

West Africa is home to so much amazing food. In this article, we will once again look at food in Liberia. But, from the perspective of a child who used to eat bulgur wheat and split peas soup. Customarily, schools serve this incredible dish to underprivileged children across schools in Liberia. As a scholarship student, I reflect on what it was like to eat bulgur wheat and split peas soup. Apart from this content, the world may not have known that bulgur wheat and yellow split peas soup are part of Liberian recipes. Could it be that Liberians are ashamed of foods like bulgur wheat? Today, we will show you how to prepare a recipe with bulgur wheat paired with yellow split peas soup. Yes, Liberians love combinations, and you’ll see why later on. You will also learn how to prepare bulgur wheat on the stovetop. You’ll be ready to substitute it for your split peas and rice having seen bulgur wheat benefits. These right here are what the kids call ‘levels’. So, fellow African cuisine lovers, let’s reach those levels!

bulgur-wheat-and-split-peas. Bulgur wheat is a staple food in Liberia and most schools prepare it deliciously as porridge in the morning and as lunch to accompany yellow split peas soup.
bulgur wheat & split peas garnish with seaweed

Free school meals served to hungry children

I was one of the hungry children. The catholic school I attended on a scholarship offered Bulgur wheat and split peas to students like myself who didn’t have lunch or recess money. Bulgur wheat is a staple food in Liberia and most schools (private and public) prepare it deliciously as porridge in the morning and as lunch to accompany yellow split peas soup. Of course, we were well nourished, considering bulgur wheat benefits. I remember, the staff served the meals under the staircase, which was cozy with benches. It shielded us from mocking and being perceived to be different because of receiving public welfare. Kids are kids and will do silly things to entertain themselves. I used to not want to eat it to avoid mocking. 

Although I needed the food, I wanted to pretend I didn’t need it. Hunger hurts. Thanks to my lovely teachers, Miss Asati and Miss Davis, who offered kind words that reached me and helped me feel strong to accept my situation; A child needs food before they can focus in school. They reminded me, “This is good food.”

how-to-cook-bulgur-wheat. Bulgur wheat is a staple food in Liberia and most schools prepare it deliciously as porridge in the morning and as lunch to accompany yellow split peas soup.
how to cook bulgur wheat

Back then, the cooks added pieces of dried herring (bonnie fish), which you’d only get in your yellow split peas soup based on luck. Looking back now, the meal has enough protein so the bonnie fish is irrelevant.  I also remember the phase when I was ashamed to eat it and the phase when I’d go for seconds. 

Generally speaking, foods from grains and legume food groups are both high in carbs and protein and valuable addition to a plant-based diet

Holy Peas

When I stopped caring about being teased and openly ate my bulgur wheat and split peas soup in class instead of hiding under the staircase during recess, I noticed some of my peers stopped mocking me. They either got tired and/or were scolded by Miss Asati or Davis. At some point, the rich kids started to taste the food and noticed it was flavorful. They probably created a nickname for me, but who cares?

Perfection: recipe with bulgur wheat and split peas

That great nutritional background is why the combo is great in free school meals across Monrovia, Liberia. It is often served as food in Liberia to underprivileged children in both public and private schools. 

bulgur wheat benefits compared to yellow split peas

As you can see from the vitamins list, it is nutritionally fulfilling and it doesn’t hurt that it tastes good too! Healthy and cheap doesn’t have to mean not yummy. But still, the fact that they give it to children for free in schools creates a stigma that it is a poverty food. But many say the same about Gari Soaking or Gari yorkor, other types of food in Liberia. And we know that isn’t true. And if it is, it doesn’t matter still because not eating it means missing out on nutritional life hacks!  Below are images of perceived poor man’s food.

So go on and try the yellow split peas soup. Use all that money you’re saving from making this cheap recipe to plan a trip to Monrovia or expanding your home garden. And if you don’t have one then that’s perfect, because now you have the savings to start one, as well as a little guide here with more life and garden hacks. Locals so love this recipe (in private), that Liberian children created a song for bulgur wheat & yellow split peas soup. 

Bulgur Wheat Benefits: Why choose a recipe with bulgur wheat?

First of all, what is bulgur wheat and what does it have to do with split peas and rice? Bulgur wheat is an ancient grain and is basically a dried cracked wheat with a nutty flavor. It is pretty chewy and often compared with rice. In fact, research shows that it has less fat, more nutrients, and four times the folic acid of brown rice. Folic acid is important in healthy cell growth and function. 

raw bulgur wheat

People commonly use bulgur wheat in stews, salads, and porridge. For instance, yellow split peas soup. As for how to prepare bulgur wheat, it’s pretty simple, and like rice, it depends on preference. Some say you should soak it, others say you can just boil it in hot water for around 15 to 30 minutes. Some say you shouldn’t wash it, while others call for rinsing it after cooking. 

key minerals in bulgur wheat & split peas

Nevertheless, after you’ve seen our method of cooking, you can try out different methods on how to prepare bulgur wheat. Feel free to pick the one you like for that perfect recipe with bulgur wheat. That’s the beauty of food in Liberia, you can adjust recipes to suit your preferences and the recipes will still come together. This is not a meringue, anyone can try simple recipes like this yellow split peas soup. 

And yellow split peas soup?

According to research, split peas are good sources of protein, cholesterol free, and low in sodium. Add this to your recipe with bulgur wheat and you have a great diet that provides lots of fiber as well as other important nutrients. Others enjoy split peas and rice, which also have immense health benefits. For example, iron, which we know your blood needs for carrying oxygen. 

raw split peas for soup

Their name comes from the fact that they are green or yellow peas that are dried and split. As mentioned in this Yekik Alicha recipe, yellow split peas soup is creamy and hearty. Africans like to eat it thick, but still, call it soup. Stew? Soup? No difference in some households. 

What does split peas with Bulgur wheat taste like?

Creamy-smooth split peas soup meets slightly nutty and slightly chewy bulgur wheat. On their own, split peas have a sweet aroma and creamy taste with a hint of nuttiness that is unlike bulgur wheat. In terms of satiation, Bulgar wheat makes you feel light after eating it. You will be full, but as regards to bulgur wheat benefits, it has fewer calories and carbohydrates compared to brown rice. If you use our basic recipe, which adds onions, salt, and habanero, you’ll receive the strong aroma and flavor of the yellow split peas soup. With this recipe, you will know how to prepare bulgur wheat on the stovetop. It is easy especially if you follow the same intuitive cooking steps shown on how to cook rice on the stovetop

What does bulgur wheat taste like? It is chewy thanks to its fiber and wholesome nutrients. Its smell is not strong like split peas. As a matter of fact, the bulgur wheat smell is very faint! And you can soften its chewy texture: Cook it longer with more water if you want it softer, but do not add too much water or else you may turn your bulgur wheat side dish into a porridge. I added chopped seaweed to give the dish a seafood essence and it works nicely! Have a taste 😀

yellow split peas soup stirred with bulgur

It’s yellow split peas soup o’clock!

Now that you’ve learned how to prepare bulgur wheat, and start having this recipe for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, our comment section will be waiting for your opinion. Just kidding. It provides nutrients but your body still needs variety lol! I mean, you can try this recipe with split peas and rice, although more variety is possible. Curious about a no-animal-meat food lifestyle? Peep instagram to see what I eat live😊.

But we still want to know: How did you perfect this recipe to be your own? Did you make split peas and rice OR with bulgar wheat? Food in Liberia is intriguing eh? Like and share this article if you want to see another recipe with bulgur wheat from us. Give the translation of the song, if you know it, in the comments below 😂

DISCLAIMER: The following Liberian song is about Bulgur wheat and Split Peas. The spelling is based on local lingo.

Bulgur wheat and split peas fighting, igo-oil go join it-sef there, make-it-thick say just lee them, it equal no parting.


Bulgur Wheat & Yellow Split Peas

Yield: 5
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Rich guy's food vs poor man's food: Nutrition and Flavor settles the debate.


  • 1 cup Bulgur Wheat
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup Raw Yellow Split Peas
  • 4.5 Cups of water
  • 3 TBSP Avocado Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • Quarter onion diced
  • 4 Red Chilies
  • Half Vege cube
  • 5 Tablespoon Avocado oil
  • Soy protein, desired amount (optional)


How to cook bulgur wheat

•1 cup Bulgur Wheat
•2 cups of water

  • Rinse bulgur wheat with cold water 2-3times. Add washed bulgur wheat to sizable cooking pot. Add 2cups of water to bulgur wheat and cook on Medium-low heat for 20mins. Do not cover the pot or it will boil over.
  • After 20mins, check the texture. If you like it firm, leave it as-is. Or, if you like it softer add 4 tablespoons of water to soften the bulgur wheat (this step is optional). If you are cooking it longer to soften the bulgur wheat, you may close the pot and cook for 8mins on low heat. how-to-cook-bulgur-wheat_humblevege

That’s it! Your Bulgur wheat is ready to eat. Some people add butter or oil (palm oil or avocado) with seasonings. Quite tasty!

How to cook yellow split peas soup

•1 cup Raw Yellow Split Peas
•4.5 Cups of water
•3 TBSP Avocado Oil
•1 teaspoon Salt
•Quarter onion diced
•4 Red Chilies
•Half Vege cube
•5 Tablespoon Avocado oil
•Soy protein, desired amount (optional)

  1. First, soak the yellow split peas for 30mins. After that, toss the dirty water the split peas was soaking in and rinse the yellow split peas once more.
  2. After that, Add 3 cups of water to a sizable cooking pot and add in the washed split peas. Add in half the salt and proceed to boil on medium heat for 30mins. Do not cover the pot, it will boil over. Check on the split peas in 15mins to remove white foam from the mixture and toss the white foam aside. Stir the soup from the bottom, making sure the spoon is scraping the bottom of the pot.
  3. After 30mins, check the softness and add another 1.5cups of water if it is still firm. We want the split peas soften and become puree easily. Some people mash their yellow split peas to shorten the boiling time. After you've added the additional water, add in the chilies, Vege cube, and diced onion.  Boil for another 10mins and cover the pot half-way (the lid should not cover the pot fully).
  4. After the 10mins time is up, check the yellow split peas softness and mash the peas more as desired. Proceed to add the oil. Taste for salt and if it needs it, add another half teaspoon of salt.
  5. On low heat, boil the mixture for another 10mins. Check on the soup and stir it from the bottom to make sure it doesn’t burn. Once the cook time is up, take the pot off the heat and set aside.
  6. Allow your soup to rest for however long you want. Your soup is ready to eat! Enjoy it as-is or serve it with you cooked bulgur wheat 😊

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