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How to Cook With Black-Eyed Peas

Updated on July 2, 2015

Black-Eyed Peas is a Southern Cooking Recipe Staple

When you hear "Black Eyed Peas," what comes to mind?

Pop music? Peas? If so, its time to change your perception!

This ingredient from the bean family has long been a staple in Southern cooking and soon can be part of your healthy diet, as well!

My Grandpa was born and raised in Texas, so its no surprise that he loved black-eyed peas. Also known as cow peas, these beans are loaded with potassium and fiber, which means they'll fill you up without weighing you down. As an aside, potassium is an essential mineral that helps balance fluid levels in muscles and surrounding tissues. No wonder that bananas are often "prescribed" to help with cramping in athletes.

But getting back to the peas... or beans.... these white colored legumes have a single black spot, or "eye" that gives them their name. Wikipedia notes that they are native to India, but have been spread around the northern Hemisphere over the past 500 years, landing in Virginia in the 1600s.

Let me introduce you to the real black-eyed peas!
Let me introduce you to the real black-eyed peas!

How to cook black-eyed peas

How to Cook Black-Eyed Peas

Black-eyed peas are not only a southern cooking staple, but also a reliable ingredient for vegetarian recipes. The legume probably originated in North Africa hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago. All across Eastern Europe, the dish has been a staple for many years. When black-eyed peas traveled across the Atlantic Ocean in the 1600s, it soon became a favorite part of the diet in the New World.

Black-eyed peas have been a staple in southern diets for hundreds of years, with the legumes long being associated with good luck each New Year. Dried, canned or fresh, you'll find black-eyed peas in soups, casseroles, stews and more.

Black-eyed peas may be most commonly known for their role in the dish called "Hoppin' John", which is a traditional African-American dish served on New Year's day for good luck. As shown in the video below, the dish incorporates collard greens and other popular ingredients associated with Southern cuisine.

In order to cook black eyed-peas, keep in mind that the legumes are actually small, tan beans, instead of "peas." Preparing them for incorporation into your favorite dishes is actually very easy. Here's how to cook black-eyed peas:

  1. Place fresh black-eyed peas in large saucepan. Cover with water; bring to a boil over high heat.

  2. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, until peas are soft when pierced with fork, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain.

Black-Eyed Peas and Collard Greens

Popular Recipes for Black-Eyed Peas

Since this article is primarily about including black-eyed peas in your recipes, we will include links to a number of recipes in which you can include the legumes in your cooking:

Hoppin' John

Deep Fried Black Eyed Peas

Hearty Black Eyed Pea and Tomato Stew

Black Eyed Pea Salad

If you have additional recipes to share, please comment below!

Tips for Black Eyed Peas Cooking

No matter how you choose to incorporate black-eyed peas into your cooking, remember these few simple rules.

First, you'll want to soak the beans (peas) overnight in a warm water bath.

Second, consider the high protein, high-fiber aspects of cooking with black eyed peas. You'll be able to feel more full, faster, which can be a healthier choice for your protein options.

Vegetarian meals that include ingredients like black-eyed peas can be healthier and lower-fat than traditional protein-based options. Trust me in the fact that you probably will not even notice the replacement of meats with hearty beans like black eyed peas in your cooking.

How to use black-eyed peas in your recipes
How to use black-eyed peas in your recipes

Black Eyed Peas with Pork and Greens

Black-Eyed Peas are Part of a Healthy Diet

As a diabetic and health nut, I practically live on legumes. Peanut butter is my "fat" of choice. I snack on almonds and mixed nuts. Black-eyed peas (as well as chickpeas, black beans and lima beans) fill out my other nut/bean cravings.

For a healthy diet, be sure to drink plenty of water. At least 12-24 ounces before a meal will make sure that your cravings are not 100% about thirst.

Black-eyed peas are a simple, easy to use ingredient in southern cooking and plenty of other soups, stews and casseroles. Tasty, filling and low-fat, they provide a good foundation for a healthy diet. As long as you keep away other deep-fried foods!


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    • Patsybell profile image

      Patsy Bell Hobson 

      5 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

      What an informative hub. Voted up and useful. also Pinned. Peace and prosperity to you.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Steph, Thanks for highlighting black-eyed peas. My father brought many Southern dishes back to the Midwest after his childhood years in Florida; black-eyed peas were high on our menus.

      One of my favourite comfort foods is black-eyed peas, served piping hot and drizzled with molasses! M-m-m-m good.

      Thank you for sharing.

      Kind regards, Stessily

    • NP.QUEEN profile image


      7 years ago from Dubai

      I like black-eyed peas too much.Nice recipes.Thank tou for sharing.Try to go through my hubs also.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      black-eyed peas was and is still be my favorite, as long as i live

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      I agree DiamondRN - Black-eyed peas are tasty and healthy!

    • DiamondRN profile image

      Bob Diamond RPh 

      8 years ago from Charlotte, NC USA

      Black-eyed peas are still my favorite, no matter how they are cooked!


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