Delightful Southern Style Black-Eyed Peas Recipe

Welcome to my kitchen! I’m honored to share this delicious and soulful Southern Style Black-Eyed Peas recipe with you, adapted from the Vegetarian Cooking Recipe. This recipe has a special place in my heart because it’s a traditional dish that my family and I enjoy during holidays, especially on New Year’s Day.

Black-eyed peas are a staple food in southern USA, often served with collard greens, cornbread, and smoky ham hock for a hearty meal. They’re also considered to be good luck when eaten on New Year’s Day – a tradition that dates back to the Civil War. Legend has it that when Union soldiers raided southern homes, they left black-eyed peas behind thinking they couldn’t be eaten by humans. Nonetheless, black-eyed peas were then eaten by slaves who considered them to be lucky.

This recipe is 100% plant-based and vegan-friendly – perfect for those who want to indulge in some delicious soul food without any animal products. Don’t worry; this recipe is still as rich and flavorful as its meaty counterpart! Trust me; you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything.

Join me in the kitchen and let’s get cookin’!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Southern Style Black-Eyed Peas (Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking
Southern Style Black-Eyed Peas (Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking

If you’re looking for a dish that will warm your soul and send your taste buds into overdrive, then look no further than this Southern-Style Black-Eyed Peas recipe. Perfect for any occasion, this recipe will quickly become a staple in your household.

First and foremost, these black-eyed peas are bursting with flavor. Infused with aromatic herbs such as bay leaves, allspice, and dried thyme, these peas are sure to delight your senses. Plus, the addition of juicy tomatoes and fresh garlic cloves brings a delightful balance of acidity and sweetness to the dish.

Secondly, this recipe is incredibly versatile. Whether you choose to make them as a side dish for your next family gathering or use them as the main ingredient in Hoppin’ John – a traditional New Year’s Day dish – these black-eyed peas are sure to be a hit.

Thirdly, this recipe is completely vegetarian and vegan-friendly. It’s perfect for those following a plant-based diet and can be easily made entirely plant-based by swapping out butter for an oil substitute.

Lastly, these Southern-Style Black-Eyed Peas are the perfect accompaniment to so many other traditional soul food dishes such as collard greens and cornbread. This combination is sure to take you straight to the heart of the South and leave you feeling satisfied and content.

In conclusion, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give this Southern-Style Black-Eyed Peas recipe a try. Whether you’re new to black-eyed peas or have been cooking them for years, this recipe is sure to impress. So grab your ingredients and get cooking!

Ingredient List

 A southern comfort classic, these black-eyed peas are sure to warm your soul.
A southern comfort classic, these black-eyed peas are sure to warm your soul.

Before we start cooking our Southern Style Black-Eyed Peas, it’s important to gather all the necessary ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:


  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons butter (or olive oil for vegan option)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • sea salt, to taste

To make things even easier, you can also prepare the ingredients beforehand by measuring and chopping everything before starting to cook. This will give you more time to focus on each step of the recipe, which is especially helpful if you’re a beginner.

Make sure to use high-quality ingredients for the best results. I recommend using Camellia Brand black-eyed peas as they are fresh and produce a rich flavor. Lastly, don’t worry if you don’t have all the ingredients in your pantry as there are some substitutions available that will work just fine.

The Recipe How-To

 This vegetarian dish packs a protein punch with every hearty bite.
This vegetarian dish packs a protein punch with every hearty bite.

Let’s get started on making these delicious Southern Style Black-Eyed Peas! First, you’ll want to rinse and sort the dried black-eyed peas to remove any debris or stones. Once done, set them aside.


  • 1 pound of dried black-eyed peas
  • 8 cups of water or broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon of allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of butter (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can of diced or crushed tomatoes, approximately 14.5 oz (optional)

Cooking Process for Stovetop

In a large pot, heat up the olive oil and butter together over medium heat. Once melted, add in the chopped onion and minced garlic. Cook this mixture for about 5 minutes until the onion becomes translucent.

Next up, add the rinsed black-eyed peas into the pot, followed by the water/broth, bay leaves, allspice, and dried thyme. Pro Tip: If you prefer a smoky flavor in your dish, try smoky black-eyed peas from Camellia Brand.

Bring everything to a boil before reducing to a simmer. Cover the pot with a lid and let it cook for about an hour until the peas are tender. Besides stirring occasionally and checking that there is enough water/broth in the pot halfway through cooking.

(Optional) If you want to add more flavors to your black-eyed peas, add in canned diced or crushed tomatoes at this point.

Towards the end of cooking adding salt to taste.

Cooking Process for Instant Pot

Rinse and drain the black-eyed peas and then place them in an Instant Pot with onion, garlic, bay leaves, and allspice. Add 8 cups of water and dried thyme.

Set pressure cooking for 20 minutes at high pressure.

Once done, carefully quick-release the pressure and discard the bay leaves. If the black-eyed peas are not cooked through, turn on the saute function to cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until tender.

(Optional) If you want to add more flavors to your black-eyed peas, you can add canned diced or crushed tomatoes at this point.

Add salt to taste before serving.

Cooking Process for Slow Cooker

In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter together with olive oil. Add onion and garlic continuing to stir until it becomes translucent.

Combine rinsed peas into your slow cooker, followed by the onion-garlic mixture, veg broth/water, bay leaves, allspice or smoked paprika. Stir well.

Cover with a lid and cook on low heat for around 4 hours or on high for

Substitutions and Variations

 Slow-cooked to perfection, these black-eyed peas are tender and full of flavor.
Slow-cooked to perfection, these black-eyed peas are tender and full of flavor.

Now, let’s talk about some substitutions and variations that you can make to this Southern Style Black-Eyed Peas recipe to make it even more versatile and delicious.

– Vegetarian/Vegan: If you’re following a plant-based diet, you can easily adapt this recipe to be vegan by swapping out the butter for a vegan butter substitute or coconut oil. You can also replace the traditional ham hock used in many Southern black-eyed pea recipes with liquid smoke, smoked paprika or smoked sea salt to get that same smoky flavor.

– Greens: You can add your favorite greens to this dish for extra flavor and nutrition. Collard greens, kale, or spinach all work well and can be added in during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

– Tomatoes: Some people like to add tomatoes to their black-eyed peas for an extra flavor boost. You can use fresh tomatoes when they’re in season or canned tomatoes any time of year. If using canned tomatoes, be sure to drain them before adding them to the dish.

– Spices: Feel free to adjust the spices used in this recipe according to your personal taste preferences. You could add a pinch of cayenne pepper for some heat or swap out the dried thyme with oregano for a different flavor profile.

– Instant Pot/Slow Cooker: This recipe works great in both the Instant Pot and Slow Cooker. For the Instant Pot, cook on high pressure for 25 minutes followed by a quick release. For the slow cooker, cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours.

– Hoppin’ John: This variation of Southern black-eyed peas incorporates rice into the dish, making it a complete meal. To make Hoppin’ John, simply add 1 cup of long grain white rice (or brown rice) and 2 cups of vegetable broth to this recipe. Cook the rice and black-eyed peas together for about 20-25 minutes or until the rice is cooked through.

No matter what variations or substitutions you make, this recipe is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at any gathering. Don’t be afraid to get creative and make it your own with your favorite ingredients and spices.

Serving and Pairing

 Serve this dish with some hot cornbread and tangy collard greens for the ultimate southern spread.
Serve this dish with some hot cornbread and tangy collard greens for the ultimate southern spread.

This Southern-style black-eyed peas recipe is a soulful dish that pairs well with a variety of foods. Traditionally, black-eyed peas are served alongside greens like collard greens, mustard greens and turnip greens, as well as cornbread. The combination of these elements creates a true Southern comfort food fan favorite.

To take this dish to the next level, I recommend serving it with some hot sauce for an extra kick or garnishing it with fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, or basil for added freshness.

For a complete vegetarian meal, serve these black-eyed peas over rice or quinoa as it adds protein and fiber to the dish. You can also serve it alongside sautéed vegetables such as bell peppers, okra, and squash for a vegetable-loaded meal.

If you’re in the mood for meat dishes to complement your black-eyed peas recipe, there are many options. Serve it alongside some grilled chicken or fish for a more substantial meal. For those who love pork, slow-cooked pulled pork will serve as a great addition.

This dish is warm and hearty yet light on the stomach – perfect for gathering around with friends and family during festive occasions such as New Year’s Day. Whether you decide to serve these black-eyed peas as the main meal or just a side dish, you won’t be disappointed with how versatile they can be!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The subtle hint of smoked paprika gives these black-eyed peas a smoky, savory taste.
The subtle hint of smoked paprika gives these black-eyed peas a smoky, savory taste.

One of the best things about this Southern Style Black-Eyed Peas recipe is that you can make it ahead of time for stress-free entertaining. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to four days or in the freezer for up to six months.

To store it, let the dish cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. I recommend labeling and dating the container so you know when you made it. It’s important to use a container that is appropriate for freezing, and also make sure to leave some space at the top for expansion during freezing.

When reheating, simply bring it back to a simmer on a stovetop or heat in a microwave-safe dish in the microwave. You may need to add more liquid (water or broth) and adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper, as seasoning can also fade during storage.

This recipe also works well as leftovers because the flavors deepen overnight, making it even more delicious! Just store any leftover servings in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.

Pro Tip: If you’re planning to freeze portions for later use, I suggest dividing your Southern Style Black-Eyed Peas into portions before freezing. This way, you can thaw only what you need for quick and easy meals later. Once thawed, reheat as instructed above.

Tips for Perfect Results

 These black-eyed peas are perfect to make on a lazy Sunday, as they simmer on the stove and fill your home with their delicious aroma.
These black-eyed peas are perfect to make on a lazy Sunday, as they simmer on the stove and fill your home with their delicious aroma.

When it comes to cooking Southern style black-eyed peas, it’s important to keep in mind a few tips to ensure that they come out perfectly. So, here are some pro-tips and recommendations that I swear by:

1. Soak your dried black-eyed peas overnight: This is the most important step in making perfect black-eyed peas. Soaking overnight allows the beans to hydrate and soften, resulting in a creamier texture when cooked.

2. Don’t skip the bay leaves: Bay leaves add a distinctive flavor and aroma that complements the smoky taste of black-eyed peas. I highly recommend using fresh bay leaves for better results.

3. Use vegetable broth instead of water: While water can be used to cook black-eyed peas, using vegetable broth adds more flavor to the dish. You can use instant vegetable broth cubes or make your own from scratch.

4. Add tomatoes towards the end of cooking: Tomatoes tend to break down and dissolve when cooked for too long. So, I suggest adding them during the last 15-20 minutes of cooking to maintain their texture.

5. Season with sea salt towards the end: Adding sea salt at the beginning makes the beans tough, so I suggest seasoning them towards the end of cooking when they are almost done. This ensures that they absorb just enough salt for a delicious taste.

6. Use smoked paprika or liquid smoke for a smoky flavor: If you don’t have smoked ham hocks or bacon, you can use smoked paprika or liquid smoke as an alternative. Both add a smoky and savory flavor that works well with black-eyed peas.

7. Keep an eye on the liquid level: Black-eyed peas tend to absorb a lot of liquids during cooking, so you might need to add more water or broth as needed to prevent them from drying out.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to achieve perfectly cooked southern style black-eyed peas that are creamy, savory, and packed with flavor.


Before you start cooking your Southern-Style Black-Eyed Peas, you may have some questions regarding the recipe. Here, I’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help address concerns and ensure that your dish comes out perfectly. So, let’s dive into the FAQs!

What is the Southern tradition of black-eyed peas and collard greens?

In Southern cuisine, black-eyed peas are believed to possess mystical qualities that bring good fortune. Meanwhile, collard greens are said to resemble money, predicting financial success in the upcoming year. These beliefs have been shared by prominent Southern food researcher, John Egerton.

What are black-eyed peas called in the South?

There exists a unique nomenclature for the Vigna unguiculata, commonly known as the southern pea. The term cowpea is used by non-southerners, while those residing below the lilac-crape myrtle line are familiar with several other names, including black-eyed-pea, pink eye pea, purple hull pea, cream pea, and crowder.

Why do Southerners eat black-eyed peas for New Years?

The tradition of consuming black-eyed peas during the New Year has transformed over time, with variations across different regions. However, the underlying theme of luck and prosperity remains, tracing back to the Civil War era when black-eyed peas were considered an essential source of sustenance to brave the winter months.

What happens if you don t soak black-eyed peas before cooking?

Soaking black eyed peas before cooking is often seen as a necessary step, but in reality, it’s not. Dry black eyed peas can be cooked without soaking, and they will be ready in about an hour. However, if you’re looking for a faster cooking time, the pressure cooker is an excellent choice for cooking black eyed peas quickly.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this Southern Style Black-Eyed Peas recipe is not only delicious and satisfying, but it is also packed with nutrients that your body will love. This dish holds a special place in the hearts of Southern families around the country and is commonly enjoyed on New Year’s Day for good luck. However, you can enjoy it year-round as a tasty and healthy meal option.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different variations and substitutions to customize this dish to fit your personal taste preferences. Whether you’re looking to switch out the butter for olive oil or add collard greens for a little extra nutrition, the possibilities are endless.

Finally, I highly recommend trying out different brands of black-eyed peas to find the perfect fit for your taste buds. Camellia brand has been a true staple in southern cuisine for generations, but don’t hesitate to have some fun with it!

Overall, this Southern Style Black-Eyed Peas recipe is perfect for anyone looking for a hearty and nutritious meal that reminds them of home. I hope you give it a try and share it with loved ones. Happy cooking!

Southern Style Black-Eyed Peas (Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking

Southern Style Black-Eyed Peas (Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking Recipe

Spicy, brothy, and delicious. Leftovers can be incorporated into other dishes
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Southern American
Calories 175.3 kcal


  • 2 cups dried black-eyed peas
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 large new mexico peppers (diced)
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 3 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 2 tomatoes (chopped)
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons allspice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 teaspoons sea salt


  • The night before you want to make these beans, soak the dried beans in 2 quarts water.
  • The next day, rinse the beans in a colander.
  • Heat olive oil and butter.
  • Sauté onions, garlic, peppers for 5 minutes.
  • Add tomato, bay leaf, thyme, allspice and cook for a minute or two.
  • Add peas, stock, red chili flakes, and 2 cups water and bring to boil.
  • Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 40 minutes.
  • Add salt and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Remove bay leaves and serve ladled in bowls with a bit of the juice.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 126gCalories: 175.3kcalCarbohydrates: 23.8gProtein: 8.5gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1.5gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 730mgFiber: 4.7gSugar: 3.5g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Beans, Spicy
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