Vegan Black-Eyed Peas Recipe

Black Eyed Pea Soup
Alexandra Grablewski/Digital Vision/Getty Images
    130 min
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Black-eyed peas are a popular food around the globe. It's a misnomer to call them peas, as they are actually beans. Said to have been domesticated originally in West Africa, black-eyed peas are grown in Asia, Africa, the southern states of the US and in many other countries. Some of the names black-eyed peas are called include buñuelo, lobia, chè đậu trắng, rongi, alsande, kalu, akara, kacang, and tolo, just to name a few. Although traditional black-eyed pea recipes call for the use of salt pork to season the nutritious legume, this recipe is vegan. As a savory dish, this dish is served warm, however, there are recipes for black-eyed pea salad that are served cold.

Serves 8 to 12

What You'll Need

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups finely chopped onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 4 cups dry black-eyed peas
  • 5 cups water, plus more, if needed
  • 2 15-ounce cans whole tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

How to Make It

  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over high heat.
  2. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until onions are translucent and fragrant.
  3. Add the vegetable stock, black-eyed peas, water, tomatoes, tomato paste and brown sugar, and bring to a boil.
  4. Turn down the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours, adding more water as necessary, or until the peas are tender.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Ingredient Substitutions and Cooking Tips

Perfect for New Year's Day, this black-eyed peas dish can be eaten like a stew or served over couscous, rice or dairy-free Baked Polenta. Another dish made popular in the American South, called Hoppin' John joins black-eyed peas with rice and pork. 

The History of Black-Eyed Peas as New Year's Day Tradition

Eating black-eyed peas are a New Year's Day tradition that is said to bring you luck in the New Year. You may have heard about its ties to the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation, but it turns out the practice dates back to Ancient Egypt. In the United States, many southerners know that black-eyed peas were considered animal food. It was also said to be the only food available to newly freed slaves after the Emancipation Proclamation took effect on New Year's Day in 1863. There's also a story about Union soldiers leaving behind the food after pillaging a Confederate camp. The blunder allowed the Confederates to survive winter.