It may be tradition to eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day, but I’m here to say that you need to be making these delicious and budget-friendly beans year-round! This big ol’ pot of peas is hearty, delicious, freezer-friendly, and about as budget-friendly as it gets. So try them out this New Year’s Day and then add them to your regular rotation for the coming year. Your wallet and taste buds will thank you. ;)
What Are Black-Eyed Peas?
Black-eyed peas are a small white legume with a black dot, or “eye”, in the center. They’re traditionally served on New Year’s Day in the United States alongside collard greens (or mustard or turnip greens) and cornbread to bring wealth in the new year. The black-eyed peas represent coins, while the greens signify paper dollars. Some even believe you must consume 365 black-eyed peas to bring the wealth, so make sure to dish yourself up an extra large bowl!
Ingredients for Black-Eyed Peas
Here’s what you’ll need to make this incredibly delicious pot of black-eyed peas:
- Black-Eyed Peas: You’ll need one pound of dry black-eyed peas. You can find these near the other dry beans in the grocery store, or on a special display if you’re buying near the New Year!
- Bacon: Bacon gives the black-eyed peas a deliciously smoky flavor and the fat gives the peas body and a wonderful mouthfeel. You can substitute by adding a ham hock or smoked turkey wing to the peas before simmering and using a bit of oil to sauté the vegetables in the beginning.
- Vegetables: The black-eyed peas are flavored with a medley of vegetables like onion, garlic, bell pepper, and celery. The vegetables add flavor, color, and texture to the dish.
- Spices: The pot of peas is seasoned with a savory mix of smoked paprika, oregano, thyme, cayenne pepper, and black pepper.
- Chicken Broth: The black-eyed peas cook in chicken broth for maximum flavor. Make sure to use a good broth to ensure the peas are very flavorful. We like to use Better Than Bouillon because it’s cost-effective and has great flavor
- Salt: As with any bean, it’s very important to add salt to taste at the end of cooking. Salt doesn’t just make food “salty” but it amplifies all of the flavors so you can taste each and every ingredient.
Vegetarian or Vegan: To make these black-eyed peas vegetarian, simply skip the bacon and use a few tablespoons of coconut oil to sauté the vegetables. The coconut oil has a similar mouthfeel to pork fat, making the peas extra hearty. You’ll also want to increase the smoked paprika slightly to make up for the smokiness of the bacon and swap vegetable broth for chicken broth.
Slow Cooker: To make black-eyed peas in the slow cooker, simply add all of the ingredients (including the pre-soaked peas) to a slow cooker and cook on high for about four hours, or until the peas are tender.
Canned Black-Eyed Peas: If you’re in a rush or forgot to soak your peas, canned black-eyed peas are a great shortcut. Simply follow our recipe for Quickie Black-Eyed Peas with Greens.
The Quick Soak Method
If you don’t have time to soak your beans overnight (or you just forgot), you can use the quick soak method to get the beans ready for cooking in about an hour. Here’s how to quick soak beans:
- Rinse the beans with cold water, then add them to a large pot. Add enough fresh water to cover the beans by 2-3 inches.
- Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat on to high, and bring the beans up to a boil. Allow the beans to boil for two minutes.
- Remove the beans from the heat and let them sit in the hot water, with the lid in place, for one hour.
- Rinse the soaked beans and continue to use them in place of the beans soaked overnight.
How to Store Leftover Black-Eyed Peas
This recipe is great for meal prep because the leftovers are amazing. Store the cooked black-eyed peas in the refrigerator for up to five days, or, once they’re chilled, transfer single portions to the freezer for longer storage. They can be kept in the freezer for about three months and easily reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop over medium-low heat, stirring often.
- 1 lb. dry black-eyed peas ($1.99)
- 4 oz. bacon ($1.33)
- 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
- 4 cloves garlic ($0.32)
- 1 bell pepper ($0.99)
- 2 stalks celery ($0.45)
- 1 tsp smoked paprika ($0.10)
- 1 tsp dried oregano ($0.10)
- 1 tsp dried thyme ($0.10)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.02)
- 1/4 tsp black pepper ($0.02)
- 1 bay leaf ($0.15)
- 4 cups chicken broth ($0.42)
- 1 tsp salt (or to taste) ($0.05)
- The day before, rinse the peas with cool water then place them in a large bowl and cover with 2-3 inches of cold water. Soak the peas in the refrigerator for eight hours or overnight.
- When you're ready to cook the peas, add the bacon to a large pot and cook over medium heat until the bacon is brown and crispy. Remove the bacon, saving it for later, and leave all of the bacon grease in the pot.
- Dice the onion, bell pepper, and celery, and mince the garlic. Add the onion to the pot with the bacon grease and cook over medium until the onion is tender.
- Add the bell pepper, celery, and garlic to the pot and continue to cook for about five minutes more.
- Drain the peas and give them a brief rinse. Add the peas to the pot along with the smoked paprika, oregano, thyme, cayenne pepper, black pepper, bay leaf, and chicken broth. Stir everything to combine, then place a lid on the pot.
- Turn the heat up to medium-high and allow the pot to come to a boil. Once it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the peas simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally, or until the peas are tender.
- Once the peas have softened, crumble the bacon and stir it back into the pot. Season the peas with salt to taste, starting with ½ tsp and adding more until the flavors of the pot pop.
- Remove the bay leaf from the pot and serve the peas with a side of collard greens and cornbread, or over a bowl of rice.
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How to Make Black-Eyed Peas – Step By Step Photos
The night before, begin soaking the black-eyed peas. Rinse the peas well with cool water, then place them in a large bowl and cover with at least three inches of water. Soak the peas for at least eight hours in the refrigerator.
When you’re ready to cook the peas, add 4oz. bacon to a large pot and cook over medium heat until the bacon is brown and crispy. Remove the bacon and set it aside for later, leaving all of the bacon grease in the pot.
Dice one yellow onion, one green bell pepper, and two stalks of celery. Mince four cloves of garlic. Add the diced onion to the pot with the bacon grease and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft, then add the bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Continue to sauté for about five minutes more.
Add the drained black-eyed peas to the pot along with 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, ¼ tsp black pepper, one bay leaf, and four cups of chicken broth.
Stir all of the ingredients together, place a lid on the pot, and turn the heat up to medium-high. Allow the pot to come to a boil. Once it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and let the peas simmer, stirring occasionally, for one hour or until the peas are tender.
Once the peas are soft, crumble the bacon and stir it into the pot. Season the pot of peas with salt, starting with ½ teaspoon, and then add more to taste. The total amount needed will vary depending on how much salt is in the chicken broth used, but we used one teaspoon total.