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Basic Black-Eyed Peas


Pressure cooked black-eyed peas (substitute in recipes calling for canned). This recipe for basic black-eyed peas has a nice smoky flavor and just a little spiciness.

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  • 6 cups water
  • 2-1/3 cups dried black-eyed peas (about 14 ounces)
  • 2 medium onions, diced (between 1-1/2 and 2-1/2 cups)
  • 4 inches turmeric root, grated (about 1/4 cup) (or substitute with grated ginger root)
  • 2 inches ginger root, sliced 1/8" thick (about 1/4 cup).
  • 8 cloves garlic, sliced 1/8" thick (about 1/4 cup)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (can substitute with tamari to keep it vegan)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 bay leaves


Servings 14
Preparation time 15mins
Cooking time 75mins


Step 1

*Time Required:*
Most time is just waiting for the pressure cooker to finish and the onions to sweat. Prep time is about 5 minutes to sort through the beans and 10 more to chop vegetables. Active cook time is about 10 minutes. This is a big batch of beans, so you can save some for another night, which will save a lot of time.

*Pressure cook:*
Pick over 2-1/3 cups of dried black-eyed peas to remove the ugly ones (shriveled or discolored ones, stones, etc). Put them in the pressure cooker with 6 cups water, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 3 bay leaves. Lock lid, heat to high pressure (takes about 14 minutes), then reduce to med-high heat and let rock 7 minutes. Remove from heat and let pressure release naturally (takes about 19 minutes).

*Real cooking:*
While the pressure cooker heats up, dice your onion, put into a saute pan with 1 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Put over medium-high heat and stir for a few minutes until they start to soften. Reduce heat to low and adjust until you can barely hear the onions sizzling. Leave it sizzling for the next 20-30 minutes, which will be long enough to sweat them. They might start to caramelize (a good thing). Give them a stir every 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare about 1/4 cup each of turmeric, ginger and garlic: turmeric root should be peeled and grated; ginger root should be peeled and diced into small pieces (batonnet to 1/4" x 1/4" strips, then slice off an 1/8" thick dice); and garlic cloves should be sliced 1/8" thick. Also measure the spices (1 teaspoon smoked paprika and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder).

When the pressure cooker releases, remove the lid (remaining cooking will not be under pressure). Discard the bay leaves and reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Turn on medium heat under the pot so that the black eyed peas will come to a simmer.

Meanwhile, bring the onions to a simmer by increasing heat under the saute pan to medium. Add the grated turmeric and stir for about 2 minutes. Add the spices and stir another 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan with the reserved cooking liquid, 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce. (Note that Worcestershire will add a lot of flavor, but it contains fish if that is a concern. You vegans know your substitutes.)

Combine everything in the pot with the black eyed peas: add the cooked onion mixture, the diced ginger and the sliced garlic. Simmer about 5-10 minutes until the liquid starts to thicken. Keep stirring, because it will want to stick to the pot.

*Freeze and Substitute for Canned:*
You will have about 7 cups of prepared black-eyed peas (about 14 servings), which can be divided among 4 pint-sized freezer containers (about 1-3/4 cups each) and used in any recipe that calls for a 15.5 oz. can of black eyed peas.

Let cool, tighten lids and store in freezer. If you remember in the morning, thaw a container on the counter. Otherwise, you’ll need to thaw frozen beans. Either heat them in a rice cooker for about 20 minutes, or in a saucepan over low heat for about 15 minutes, breaking them apart every few minutes.


(1) Make 3-4 servings of a simple stew by sautéing a diced onion, then adding a couple minced garlic cloves and one container of black eyed peas. (The black eyed peas already have all the smoky spice that you need.) Heat until it simmers. Meanwhile, chiffonade a bunch of kale or other dark greens. Add those to the pot and simmer a few minutes to your liking. Serve it over rice and call it something fancy like "Kale Chiffonade" or lie and call it "Veggie Hoppin' John."

(2) Nutrition data: This food is very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Thiamin, Iron (if you used turmeric) and Manganese, and a very good source of Folate. Each freezer container has about 22 grams of high quality protein.

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