Whether or not you believe eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day will bring you good luck, they are an undeniably underrated bean. Kidney, black, red, and pinto beans all tend to get their fair share of love. But black-eyed peas—which despite their name, are actually beans—are cooked with some bacon on January 1 and then often forgotten about the rest of the year.
What makes black-eyed peas so special? First, their taste, which is a combination of nutty and savory earthiness; it’s not like any other bean. Then there’s its rich nutrient density. “Black-eyed peas are nutritionally dense, with fiber, protein, folate, magnesium, copper, thiamine, and iron,” says registered dietitian Melissa Rifkin, RD. “In fact, one cup delivers 20 percent of the daily value of magnesium, calcium, and iron.” She adds that that same one-cup serving has five grams of protein, which is 11 percent recommended daily value for women. “This is one heck of a food!” she says.
Like other beans, black-eyed peas are also good for your gut. A one-cup serving has a whopping 16 grams of fiber, which is more than half of the recommended 25 grams the average person should aim for each day. And all that fiber serves both as food for your gut bacteria as well as material to keep things moving smoothly throughout your digestive tract.
Watch the video below for more intel on what to eat to support a healthy gut:
Okay, sold that this food shouldn’t just be relegated to New Year’s Day? Here are 10 black-eyed peas recipes to make on January 1 and beyond.
10 Black-eyed peas recipes
This hearty black-eyed peas dish has a slightly smoky taste with an underlying bit of heat. A classic Southern-style recipe, it’s made with bacon and turkey, but the other ingredients are flavorful enough that if you want to omit them that it will still taste delicious.
Get the recipe: Black-eyed peas with collard greens
Pair your black-eyed peas with citrus and Greek spices (like bay leaves, oregano, and paprika) and your meal will take on a completely different flavor profile. This dish is also full of carrots, bell pepper, tomato, and onion, which boost the fiber even more.
Get the recipe: Greek-style black-eyed peas
The slight honeyed taste of sweet potatoes pairs perfectly with black-eyed peas’ savory earthiness. Here, they mingle together in this hearty soup, which is also made with bell peppers, salsa, garlic, cumin, and paprika.
Get the recipe: Smoky sweet black-eyed pea soup
These fritters use cornmeal to create a crispy outer shell around the soft black-eyed peas. Be generous with the garlic, onion, thyme, and pepper to amp up the flavor.
Get the recipe: Black-eyed pea fritters
Think you need chicken to make a tasty pot pie? This recipe proves black-eyed peas work just as well. Besides the BEPs, vegetable broth, onions, red bell peppers, sweet potato, and garlic make up the filling while cornbread serves as the topping.
Get the recipe: Black-eyed pea sweet potato cornbread pie
This recipe also combines black-eyed peas and sweet potato, but the end result is a completely different dish. The spices are what truly transform it: curry powder, Garam masala, cumin, coriander, and ginger are all used. The curry is made with a coconut milk base, which makes the texture rich and creamy.
Get the recipe: Sweet potato black-eyed pea curry
Classic Southern-style black-eyed peas are often served with a thick slice of cornbread on the side. This recipe builds up on that idea and turns the cornbread into dumplings that are placed right on top of the BEPs themselves. Smart, right?
Get the recipe: Black-eyed peas with cornbread dumplings
BEPs are high in both fiber and iron on their own, but one way to multiply their superpowers is to combine them with spinach, which is high in both nutrients. Use your Instant Pot to make this stew starring both ingredients, which is also full of plenty of spice.
Get the recipe: Black-eyed pea spinach stew
Another way to combine your greens and black-eyed peas is with this easy dish that just takes 15 minutes to make. It also includes tempeh for added plant-based protein.
Get the recipe: Black-eyed peas with tomatoes and greens
Made with an onion-tomato base, this curry is full of fiber, protein, and when if you have an Instant Pot on hand cooks in just 20 minutes. Vary the amount of green chilis you add based on how much heat you want.
Get the recipe: Instant Pot black-eyed peas curry
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