Black Eyed-Peas

black eyed peas
Featured image

Hearty, tasty black-eyed peas are not to be confused with the pop-music group of the same name — or with actual peas. These “peas” actually belong to the bean family, and feature prominently in stick-to-the-ribs Southern cooking, where they’re typically flavored with bacon or another pork product and served alongside collard greens and cornbread. Southern traditions hold that black-eyed peas bring good luck, and for that reason a dish of them adorn many a New Year’s Day brunch table as a hopeful way to ring in a new year.

Named for the black ring that adorns their whitish skin, black-eyed peas are low in fat and rich in healthy vitamins. One cup of cooked beans provides 89 % of the recommended daily value of folate, 24% of Iron, and 13 grams of protein. The American Institute for Cancer Research reports that foods containing dietary fiber — such as beans — can reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Beans are also strong sources of cancer-fighting phytochemicals such as saponins, protease inhibitors, and phytic acid.

Grown widely in Africa and Asia, black-eyed peas first came to this continent during the African slave trade and were originally used to feed livestock. Now they are a pantry staple across the country and are available in canned, dried, and fresh varieties and can be served hot or cold.

Ann’s Tips

Buy dried beans from a store with a high turnover, as older beans take longer to cook. Look for beans that are whole and not broken. Dried black-eyed peas are a good pantry standby because — unlike other beans — they don’t need to be soaked before cooking. Cook up some extra beans and freeze leftovers for future recipes; they can last up to one year frozen. For best taste, use dried beans within a year of purchasing. Buy canned beans with low sodium and no seasonings where possible. Rinse canned beans before using to remove excess sodium.

Recipe Tips

Black-eyed peas are the main ingredient in Hopping John, a dish eaten on New Year’s Day all over the South to bring good luck. For a delicious vegetable-based recipe and refreshing summer salad, try black-eyed peas with arugula, seasonal tomatoes, feta, and lemon juice. Or simmer beans with homemade chicken broth and seasonal vegetables such as fennel, carrots, and parsnips for a nutritious fall soup that’s easy to prepare and digest.

Registered Dietitian Approved

There are many misconceptions about nutrition and cancer in widespread media. By using current scientific literature, plus recommendations of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Institute for Cancer Research, the National Cancer Institute, and the American Cancer Society, our Registered Dietitian, Kate Ueland, MS, RD, and our team of editors work to help our readers discern truth from myth.

The statements on this blog are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. Always consult your physician or registered dietitian for specific medical advice.


Recipes You Might Also Like...


Leave a Review