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  • Writer's pictureCRAIG BRYAN

Healthy Recipe, Black-eyed Peas and Collards

Even if you don’t buy into the old Southern superstition that eating black-eyed peas and greens on January 1 will bring you prosperity, your body will thank you for welcoming this combo at your dinner table any other time of the year. Like other dark-green, leafy vegetables, collards are chock-full of vitamins A and C, calcium, folate, and other essential nutrients. Black-eyed peas supply energy-boosting complex carbs, fiber, protein, and disease-fighting antioxidants.

Here I’ve combined the two into one great-tasting dish, giving them a Mediterranean twist with a flavor-packed blend of aromatic spices, fresh herbs, and citrus rather than the fatty pork typically used for seasoning these slow-cooking veggies in the South.

Keep it 100 percent plant-based or, for a burst of dairy tartness, crumble some feta over the top. Harissa, a North African sauce or paste made with hot and sweet peppers, is now found in most supermarket condiments sections and adds just the right zing. But Tabasco or any other hot sauce will also do the trick. Serves 4.

— Susan Puckett


· 8 ounces dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight in cold water to cover by 2 inches (see note)

· 1 bay leaf

· 1 large yellow onion, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)

· Kosher salt

· 2 tablespoons tomato paste

· 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

· 3 large cloves garlic, minced

· 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (or regular)

· 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or ½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes)

· ½ teaspoon ground cumin

· ½ teaspoon ground coriander

· 1 (16-ounce) bag chopped collard greens

· ¼-½ cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, dill, cilantro, or combination)

· 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

· Freshly ground black pepper

· Cooked brown or white rice, crumbled feta cheese, lemon wedges, and prepared harissa or hot sauce for serving (optional)


1. Drain the soaked peas, rinse, and place in a large pot, along with the bay leaf and ½ cup of the onion. Add just enough water to cover by 2 inches.

2. Bring to a boil over high heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, then reduce to medium-low. Cover and allow them to gently simmer for 30 minutes or until tender, but not mushy.

3. Set a colander in a large bowl and drain the peas. Measure out 1 ½ cups of the cooking liquid, whisk in the tomato paste and set aside. Reserve the remaining liquid in the bowl as well.

4. Wipe out the pot, set over medium heat, add the olive oil, and heat until shimmering. Add the remaining 1 cup of onion and garlic and sauté until onions are tender and golden, 5 to 7 minutes.

5. Add the paprika, Aleppo or red pepper flakes, cumin, and coriander; cook and stir for about 2 more minutes, until spices are toasty and fragrant.

6. Add the collards to the pot; cook and stir until wilted, about 3 minutes, and add the reserved bean liquid and tomato paste mixture. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to medium-low, cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes or until greens reach desired tenderness, adding a little more of the reserved bean liquid if the pot becomes dry.

7. Fold in the black-eyed peas, season with ½ teaspoon of salt, and let simmer for 5 to 10 more minutes. Stir in the herbs and the lemon juice, season with a few grindings of black pepper, and a little more salt to taste, if needed.

8. Ladle over hot, cooked rice, top with feta, and serve with lemon wedges and harissa or hot sauce, if desired.

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