This recipe for vegetarian black eyed peas was originally published in my cookbook Sweet Potato Soul. Order it here for more amazing vegetarian southern and soul food recipes.
Yes, you can make delicious tender black-eyed peas without using animal products. Take it from me, I’m a black girl from Georgia. I have eaten a big bowl of black-eyed peas and collard greens every year since I was 2 years old on New Year’s Day! My authentic recipe uses plant-based spices to replicate the smoky rich flavor of your grandmother’s pot of beans. And if you only eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day, this recipe will convince you to eat these delicious beans all year round.
These pure vegan black eyed peas are:
- Absolutely delicious
- Easy to make
- Cooked stove-top or in the Instant Pot
- 100% vegan
Why black eyed peas are eaten for good luck
A bowl of black-eyed peas and collard greens is a must in every African American and Southern household on New Year’s Day. I haven’t missed this tradition since childhood! According to superstition, eating a bowl of tender black-eyed peas will guarantee good luck in the new year, while the greens of the banana represent the attraction of wealth. Some cooks prepare their beans with a penny or dime in the pot. The person who gets the coin in their bowl is said to have the best luck in the coming year.
I am quite superstitious and take this tradition very seriously. It seems to have worked its magic in my life. But luck aside, the simple process of preparing a pot of black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is a great way to start the year with a clean slate, reconnect with your intentions for the year, and share a nutritious meal. the ones you love
Please read my cookbook, Sweet Potato Soul, to read more about the origins of this special tradition. In it I explore the origins of many traditional Southern and African American foods and culinary traditions.
Black-eyed peas: The most important ingredient, of course, is black-eyed peas! This is my favorite bean. I love its creamy texture, earthy flavor and subtle sweetness. They have a really special taste and texture. Like all beans, black-eyed peas are an excellent source of fiber, protein, folate, magnesium, potassium, and iron. I usually purchase camellia beans from my friends or my black-eyed peas from the local grocery store.
Smoked Paprika: To make authentic vegan black eyed peas I substitute smoked paprika from smoked pork or ham hock. It works like a charm without harming a creature. As fans of this blog know, I love smoked paprika and can buy it online in bulk. If you’re new to this spice, look for smoked paprika stored in a tin can. Make sure it says smoked (Hungarian or sweet will do) because regular (unsmoked) paprika won’t cut it here.
Liquid smoke: To compliment the smoked paprika and give these beans a smoky boost, I use liquid smoke. This liquid masala is vegetarian and available at most grocery stores.
I willow: Trust me. Soy sauce and smoked paprika compliment each other in any recipe. The smoky flavor of the smoked paprika is highlighted, and the richness and umami of the soy sauce are accentuated. If you want a gluten free dish, use tamari soy sauce.
How to Make Vegan Black Eyed Peas
- Fry fragrantly In a large bowl: onion, garlic, celery and red bell pepper.
- Add soaked and washed black eyed peas Then 6 cups of vegetable broth. I usually use water and bouillon better than veggie paste.
- Stir the beans into a large bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook the beans on medium heat with the lid on for 30-45 minutes. They will be well cooked after 30 minutes, but you’ll want to cook them for 45 minutes or longer for a creamy texture.
- season Season with smoked paprika, liquid smoke, soy sauce and chili during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
- enjoy Banana greens with rice or cornbread.
Tips for perfecting this vegan black eyed pea recipe
- Look for dry black-eyed peas that look smooth, pit-free, and not shriveled. Soak your beans for at least 6 hours before cooking. But don’t soak for more than 10 hours, and the texture seems to change during cooking. You can use store-bought frozen peas if you forget to soak them.
- Do not forget to add salt to the spices while boiling. This will help soften them and give them more flavor, resulting in a tastier pot of beans.
- The beans should be well cooked after 35 minutes, but you’ll want to cook them above 45 minutes for a creamy texture. You can puree the beans a bit more using a handheld immersion blender to make them creamier.
- I love leftover black-eyed peas. Consider cooking them the day before for an extra flavorful meal.
- If using instant pot: Use less vegetable broth when cooking your black-eyed peas in the Instant Pot. Use only enough liquid to cover the beans by a centimeter.
Should you use black-eyed peas?
In Southern tradition, you can use other greens–such as kale, mustard greens, or turnip greens–in place of the collard greens for the New Year’s Day meal, but the beans must be black-eyed peas. However, this recipe can be used with any beans––cooking times may vary.
Feel free to use whatever perfume you have on hand. If you only have red onions or leeks, they will work as substitutes for yellow onions. Green chillies can be used in place of red ones.
If you want a less traditional recipe for New Year’s Black Eyed Peas, check out my Sweet Potato Black Eyed Pea Curry recipe.
How to reheat and freeze
These vegan black-eyed peas make the best leftovers! They are tastier and creamier on days 2 and 3 They should keep fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days Reheat your beans in a bowl on the stove or in the microwave.
Black-eyed peas freeze well. Store them in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months.
Try these other vegan Southern recipes:
Smoky collard greens
Sweet potato black eyed pea curry
There are more black-eyed pea recipes in my cookbook: Black-eyed Pea Cake, Black-eyed Pea Hummus, Black-eyed Pea Pot Pie, and Harlem Caviar (the most delicious cold black-eyed pea salad). Click here to buy the cookbook on Amazon.
Pure Vegan Black Eyed Peas
This recipe is reprinted from my cookbook Sweet Potato Soul. The cookbook is full of more delicious vegan black eyed pea recipes like Black Eyed Pea Cake, Black Eyed Pea Hummus, Black Eyed Pea Pot Pie, and Harlem Caviar. It is available wherever cookbooks are sold.
- 1/4 the cup the oil
- 1 Medium yellow onion to cut
- 1 Large red bell pepper to cut
- 1 jalapeño pepper Seeded and diced (optional)
- 1 the cup Dice celery
- 3 cloves of garlic minced meat
- 1 pounds Dried black-eyed peas Sorted, washed and soaked for 8 hours
- 6 the cup veggie broth OR 6 cups water plus 6 teaspoons vegetable bouillon paste, OR 6 cups water plus 2 veggie bouillon cubes
- 1 Big bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon Dried thyme and/or oregano optional
- 2 teaspoon Smoked paprika
- 1 spoon liquid smoke
- 1 spoon I am Willow
- 1 teaspoon Again ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
Add onion, bell pepper, jalapeño, celery, and garlic and sauté until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.
Add the black-eyed peas, veggie broth and bay leaves.
Cover and bring to a light boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until the beans are tender and the broth has thickened.
Stir in smoked paprika, liquid smoke, soy sauce, pepper and cayenne.
Remove from heat and let beans cool slightly.
Serve with collard greens and rice or cornbread.
Instant Pot Instructions
Set the Instant Pot to fry on medium heat and add oil.
When the oil is hot, add the onion, bell pepper, jalapeño, celery, and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.
Add the soaked black-eyed peas, just enough veggie broth and bay leaf to cover the beans by about 1 cm.
Place lid on instant pot and lock in place.
Discard the saute and pressure cook the Instant Pot on high for 10 minutes. If you are using unsoaked beans (which are acceptable using the Instant Pot) then pressure cook for 35 minutes.
Leave the Instant Pot to natural pressure for 5 minutes, then drain completely and turn off the machine.
Carefully remove the top of the pot and stir in the smoked paprika, liquid smoke, soy sauce, pepper and cayenne.
Remove from heat and let beans cool slightly before serving with collard greens and rice or cornbread.