Black-Eyed Peas with Spinach

These black-eyed peas with spinach are considered to be a good luck food and are a New Year’s tradition in the South. The combination of beans onion, tomato, and spinach is so surprisingly delicious that any additional good fortune seems like an added bonus.

A white plate with black-eyed peas, spinach, red onion, and red pepper

We were skeptical about this health-sounding, if not quite traditional approach, to the South’s New Year’s good-luck charm of black-eyed peas. But after one taste of this warm soupy salad of sorts, we say forget the luck. Just pass more of these peas, please. Originally published December 25, 2012.Renee Schettler Rossi

Black-Eyed Peas with Spinach

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 20 M
  • 2 H
  • Serves 4 to 6
4/5 - 1 reviews
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Place the onion in a small bowl, add enough cold water to cover, and sprinkle with the salt. Let stand for about 30 minutes or so. Rinse and drain well, squeezing out the excess water with your hands, and place the onion in a small serving dish. Place the tomatoes, parsley, and lemons in separate small dishes.

Meanwhile, rinse the soaked peas and place them in a large saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover by an inch or two and bring to a boil. Skim any scum from the surface with a slotted spoon. Drain the peas, return them to the pan, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil again, decrease the heat slightly, and cook, uncovered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the peas are soft but not mushy. You want the water level to always remain just above the peas; if the water evaporates, add extra hot water as necessary.

Toward the very end of the cooking time, season the peas with salt. Tear the spinach into bite-size pieces, toss them into the pan, and cook just until the spinach wilts, another 3 to 5 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, divvy the peas and spinach among individual bowls, including just a spoonful or so of the cooking liquid. Place the onion, tomatoes, parsley, and lemons, along with the salt, pepper, and the olive oil, on the table and pass them separately so each person can dress their peas and spinach as desired.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

I have to admit that I’ve never cooked black-eyed peas before. After this, I’ll cook them again. This was a very easy and satisfying dish. I appreciated the smoothness of the peas and then the olive oil and lemon dressing.

Next time I make this, I might lightly sauté the onions before dressing the peas only because I don’t care for raw onions.

I think this makes a simple, rustic dinner for almost anytime of year. The barely cooked spinach and soft, rich black-eyed peas come together with the bright lemon juice and acidic tomatoes perfectly. My only problem is that I’d rather not have raw onions. In the future, I’ll sauté or caramelize them before serving.

I’m also glad that I checked the peas about 15 minutes early because they were done enough by then, but that may have more to do with the freshness of the local peas than anything else. If I was going to make this all my own, I’d probably cook a garlic clove with the peas and add hot sauce at the table to go with the other condiments.


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  1. Saw this recipe for black-eyed peas, and wanted to try something different. This was perfect! Love that it had spinach and tomatoes, who would have thought!? Found a new dish for New Year’s Day. Thank you.

  2. This looks wonderful. I started eating black-eye peas after my husband and I got married as they are a staple food in West Africa. I am going to have to try this. I never have soaked by peas before hand and they always turn out good.

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