This Vegan Black-Eyed Peas recipe will be a welcome addition to your meal plan. It comes together quickly, is low in fat, and fills you up all the way to your happy place.

Whether you’re from the South, love southern cooking, or are just looking for a new dish to try, these southern black eyed peas will be a hit.

Overlay southern-style black-eyed peas with a wooden spoon, garnished with thyme in a white bowl with cornbread on a white background

Black-eyed peas are a Southern staple and actually originated in Africa. The history of the dish is said to date back to early colonists who cultivated black-eyed peas as a reliable source of nutrition for themselves and their slaves.

Another version of their historical claims is that the dish was actually a traditional meal served on the first of January for New Year’s Day celebration, which is why it has turned into a tradition among Southerners. 

This southern style vegetarian black eyed peas recipe is my favorite; it has bold flavors. And it’s really so simple to make. You don’t need much to prepare them other than a few ingredients.

Since moving to Florida, I noticed that fresh peas are very popular in grocery stores. These fresh peas, like field peas, butter peas, and black-eyed peas, can be prepared quickly, and they taste buttery when done. For the purpose of this recipe, I will use dry black-eyed peas instead.

Check out my, Black-Eyed Pea Falafel, Black Eyed Pea Salad,  and Curry Black-Eyed Peas Recipes.

Why Should You Try This Vegan Black-Eyed Peas Recipe

I’m sure you’ll love this recipe because it is:

  • Easy to prepare! Whether you are using dried black-eyed peas or canned ones, this recipe comes together quickly and can be made in one pot.
  • Nourishing and healthy! This plant-based black-eyed pea stew is made with healthy ingredients and is high in protein and fiber to help keep you fuller for longer. Additionally, it is a good source of important vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients.
  • A great way to eat more beans! This recipe is an excellent way to add more plant-based goodness into your diet, and it’s a great option for meal prep because it stores well. You can reheat it as needed.
  • Good luck! Black-eyed peas are a common ingredient for several Southern meals and religious dishes. The beans are believed to bring good luck to those who eat them on New Year’s Day. Some believe they represent coins. Whether or not you are a believer in this folklore, this recipe is worth adding to your holiday meal collection.
  • Budget-friendly! It’s a common saying that peas are commonly termed “poor man’s meat” as they’re a low-cost, wholesome, and nutrient-dense substitute for meat. The remaining ingredients are also inexpensive and easily available.

Health Benefits of Black Eyed Peas

Boost Energy Level

Black-eyed peas are enriched with magnesium and will provide you with over 21% of your daily magnesium needs with just 1 cup of cooked peas.

Manganese is a powerful antioxidant that helps shield your cells, especially those in your energy production units. Black-eyed peas’ protein content also contributes to boosting your energy levels.

Promote Optimal Digestion

Due to their high fiber content, black-eyed peas can improve digestion by facilitating regular bowel movements. This may be especially beneficial for individuals who suffer from occasional constipation. Additionally, black-eyed peas include prebiotic fiber, which provides food for good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.

Enhance Cardiovascular Health

Eating black-eyed peas as part of a healthy diet is a great way to keep your heart strong and healthy, as they may help in reducing various risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.

Evidence shows that frequently eating legumes may be beneficial for lowering LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Lowering high cholesterol levels can help lessen your chance of developing heart disease.

Eating legumes on a regular basis has also been associated with decreased inflammation markers, which may help lessen the chance of heart disease.

Prevent From Chronic Diseases

It is a rich source of antioxidants like Thiamine and Riboflavin. Antioxidants remove the free radicals from the body, protecting the body against chronic diseases.

Good For Eyes And Skin Health

Black-eyed peas contain a good amount of vitamin A. Black-eyed peas provide one-fourth of an adult’s daily vitamin A requirement in one serving.

Vitamin A contributes to the eyes and skin by lubricating and protecting the mucous membranes surrounding them.

Helps In Weight Loss

Black-eyed peas contain complex carbs that digest more slowly than simple carbohydrates. As a result, those who use them may have longer feelings of fullness, which may help in weight loss.

ingredients for vegan southern black-eyed peas on a white background

Southern Black-Eyed Peas (Vegan) Ingredients

  • Dried Black-Eyed Peas – If you can’t get dried black eyed peas, you can substitute dry pigeon peas or cowpeas. You can also use canned black eyed peas, skip the first instruction. 
  • Vegetable brothuse an organic vegetable broth that’s also gluten-free. I love Swanson Organic Vegetable Broth. If you don’t have it, you can use water instead.
  • Onion – white or yellow onions work great.
  • Garlic – gives a great flavor to this dish; if you like garlic, add extra.
  • Bell Pepper – I used red bell pepper, but you can use any color you choose.
  • Thyme – is my herb of choice for this dish, but you can substitute it with your favorite herbs.
  • Cayenne Pepperadds a little kick to your peas, add to taste.
  • Sea Salt – add salt to suit your own taste.
  • Tofu pups hot dog / Smoked Paprika or Vegan Sausage – add the smoky flavors.
  • Olive OilI love olive oil; it gives a nice flavor to the dishes. However, you can substitute it with avocado, canola, and grapeseed oil.

How To Cook Vegan Black-Eyed Peas

  1. Soaking is not a must for your black-eyed peas, but it helps to shorten cooking times and increase digestibility. Sort a pound dried black eyed peas, remove debris, and wash and soak them in water in a large bowl.
  2. Allow the water to be at least 2-3 inches above the peas because peas will swell. Soak peas overnight, discard water, rinse, and add 6 cups of water, bring to a boil, and cook until tender. If they dry out before being tender, add extra water or vegetable broth.
  3. For a Southern flavor, I substituted the traditional ham hock with tofu pups hot dog to add a smoky flavor, but you don’t have to at all; other options include liquid smoke, smoked paprika, even chipotle pepper, or whatever you desire.
  4. Heat oil over medium heat in a small skillet.  cut each hot dog into coins, and sauté until golden brown. Set aside.
  5. Stir in onion, garlic, bell pepper, thyme, ground black pepper (I used cayenne pepper), hot dog coins, or smoked paprika and salt into the peas, and continue to cook until the sauce is thickened. Serve with your favorite pairing, and enjoy.

Recipe Tips

  • Make sure you’re using a good, flavorful vegetable broth, as this will have a significant impact on the flavor of your dish. I usually prepare my own vegetable broth at home by simmering saved vegetable scraps and herbs for around 5-10 minutes. I prefer to use vegan low-sodium vegetable broth or cubes instead in a hurry.
  • Don’t skip onion and garlic; they’ll bring out and boost the flavor of your dish!
  • The saltiness in your southern black eyed peas will be determined by the quantity of salt in the vegetable broth, so add the definitive amounts of salt at the end to avoid over-salting.

Variations And Substitutions

You can change the recipe’s ingredients to your taste if necessary, depending on what you have on hand in the refrigerator or pantry.

  • Black-eyed peas: Although I prefer black-eyed peas that are freshly cooked from dried beans, canned beans can be used for convenience if you don’t mind the extra sodium and less fresh taste.

Don’t like or can’t find black-eyed peas? Not to worry, you may substitute black, red, or any other variety of beans for these. Adjust seasonings and cooking times as necessary.

  • Add more veggies: You may love to add carrots, potatoes, or mushrooms. Add in some greens, such as kale or baby spinach. Cabbage would also work well. Last-minute cooking is a good time to add leafy greens.
  • Vegetable broth: To make this recipe vegan and vegetarian, I used vegetable broth, but you can use chicken or beef broth. You can also use water if you don’t have any broth on hand.
  • Play around with the spices: You can simply alter the flavor profile of this stew by adding cinnamon, paprika, or a pinch of chopped ginger or cumin! Add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes to the pot or to each serving of this stew for an extra kick.
  • Top Tip! If you can, don’t leave out the vegetable broth and high-quality olive oil. For me, they truly elevated the taste. Plus, the fresh thyme, certainly, it’ll do the magic! However, if you don’t have fresh thyme, you can use dried as well.
Bowl of vegan black-eyed peas recipe being held with one hand and the other with a. spoon in the bowl on a white bowl on a white background

Tips For Storing And Freezing

Let the stew cool completely before storing. You can store it in airtight containers for 4-5 days in the fridge. Use the microwave or stovetop to reheat it when you want to have it!

To freeze these vegan black eyed peas, transfer them to a freezer-safe container.   For meal prep purposes, I recommend using multiple containers. You can keep it frozen for up to two months. Allow the stew to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving. Reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave.

If it thickens while chilled, you can add some vegetable broth or water while reheating.

Serving Suggestions

Make a big pot of this vegan black-eyed peas recipe for your next gathering! It is delicious, served with Cornbread and Southern-Style Green Beans And Potatoes.

I enjoyed my vegetarian black eyed peas with Vegan Southern-Style Collard Greens, and it was so delicious, comforting, and hearty. The perfect dish to enjoy during these wintry days!

You can also serve it with my Cornbread Casserole.

overlay southern black eyed peas in a white bowl with a wooden spoon, being held with hands on a white background

Recipe FAQs

Are black-eyed peas a southern food?

Southern Black Eyed Peas is a delicious, comforting, and soulful dish. This dish for black-eyed peas is smoky and spicy, with a rich but not overpowering ham flavor. Southerners prepare this dish on New Year’s Day to ring in the New Year with good fortune.

What are black-eyed peas?

Black-eyed peas or beans are a variety of cowpea in the legume family. Despite being called peas, they’re actually beans. You will recognize them by the characteristic black spot on a cream-colored bean. They are filling and have an excellent texture and a slightly nutty flavor.

Can I use canned black-eyed peas?

Yes. But I prefer to use dried peas; I find the flavor to be bolder. You get to control the amount of salt that is added because canned peas contain lots of added salt. I do use canned beans at times for convenience.

Can I make this vegan black-eyed peas recipe ahead?

Yes. This is my go-to recipe for making ahead. I like to make a large batch of it over the weekend so that I have quick and easy meals on hand anytime I need them!

As always, in the end, I’d like to say make this Southern Black-Eyed Peas recipe, and let me know how it turned out by leaving a comment on this post! I’d love to hear your feedback…  Have fun cooking!

Other Black-Eyed Peas Recipes

  1. Vegan Instant Pot Black-Eyed Peas
  2. Black-Eyed Peas Hummus
  3. Black-Eyed Pea Fritters

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Vegan Black-Eyed Peas Recipe

Enjoy this flavorful and classic Southern black-eyed peas dish, seasoned with onions, garlic, peppers, and thyme. This recipe is so comforting on cold winter nights or all year long.
4.97 from 58 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Entrée, Main Course
Cuisine: Soul, Southern
Keyword: vegan black eyed peas recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 34 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 245kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried black eyed peas sorted and soaked overnight or for 8 hours
  • 6-8 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper chopped (I used both red and green)
  • 2 aprigs thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 Tofu pups hot dog or 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Instructions

  • Add peas to 6 cups of water in a large bowl and soak overnight. Drain peas and rinse. Place peas in a large pot with 6 cups of water and bring to boil on medium-high. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer for about 45 minutes or until peas are tender. If they are drying out before being tender then add extra water or vegetable broth.
  • Meanwhile, heat a small skillet over medium, cut each hot dogs into coins and saute until golden brown. Set aside.
  • Stir in onion, garlic, bell pepper, thyme, cayenne, hot dog coins or smoked paprika and salt into the peas and continue to cook until sauce is thickened. Delicious served with cornbread and collards greens.

Nutrition

Calories: 245kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 96mg | Potassium: 697mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 384IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 5mg