In the South, we eat them on New Year's Day to bring good luck and prosperity in the coming year. But black-eyed peas, also known as cowpeas, deserve year-round attention no matter where you live.
These nutrient-dense, cream-colored legumes with the characteristic black "eye" are naturally low in fat and have fiber, magnesium, iron and zinc. Black-eyed peas contain about 16 grams of complex carbohydrates per ½-cup serving, which means they are digested more slowly, allowing for a steady release of glucose into the bloodstream. Black-eyed peas are also a great vegetarian protein source with 6 grams of protein per ½-cup serving.
Not only are black-eyed peas a nutrition powerhouse, they're also inexpensive in both canned and dry varieties. If you opt for the canned type, remember to rinse them before using to reduce their sodium content or look for no salt-added varieties.
In other parts of the world, people use black-eyed peas in salads, fritters, curries and even desserts! While the traditional Southern way of cooking black-eyed peas often includes a piece of ham hock or jowl to add flavor, you can opt for a more healthful preparation with flavorful vegetables (such as onions and bell peppers) and seasonings (such as cayenne pepper or cumin). If you choose to flavor your black-eyed peas with meat, choose leaner varieties such as turkey bacon.
Ready to put more black-eyed pea dishes on the table? Try this summery recipe!
Black-Eyed Pea and Brown Rice Burgers
Black-Eyed Pea & Brown Rice Burgers
- 1 cup diced green bell pepper
- ¾ cup finely diced onion
- 1 clove minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 15½-ounce can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
- 1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained
- 1 cup roughly chopped button mushrooms
- 1 minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (from a can)
- 3 cups chopped kale
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
Sriracha Cilantro Yogurt Spread
- ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
- In a large skillet, cook onions, bell peppers, garlic, cumin, chili powder and cayenne pepper over medium heat for 3 minutes.
- Add black-eyed peas, tomatoes, mushrooms and chipotle pepper to skillet. Mix together and cook for 5 minutes. Then add kale and cook for an additional 2 minutes, just until kale is softened. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- In a food processor or blender, process the cooked brown rice and black-eyed pea veggie mixture until the peas become chopped and the mixture holds together. Using a spatula, pour mixture into a bowl.
- Heat griddle or skillet over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray. Evenly divide black-eyed pea mixture to form four patties and place on griddle. Cook for about 12 minutes on each side so that the burger patty is golden brown and crisp on the outside.
- While the burgers are cooking, prepare Sriracha Cilantro Yogurt Spread: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
- Serve burgers on buns, on top of a salad, or by themselves. Top with Sriracha Cilantro Yogurt Spread. Makes 4 burgers.