Black-Eyed Peas with Spinach

Black-Eyed Peas with Spinach

This is a cross between a soup and a salad. I like it best when the beans and spinach are still warm. The tomatoes, onion, and lemons must all be at room temperature.–Tessa Kiros

LC Yes, We Went There Note

We were skeptical, but we wanted to try the traditional Southern good-luck charm of black-eyed peas. But after tasting this soupy salad, we say forget the luck. Just pass more of these peas, please.

Black-Eyed Peas with Spinach

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 2 H
  • Serves 4 to 6
Print RecipeBuy the Falling Cloudberries cookbook

Want it? Click it.


  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 small tomatoes, diced
  • A handful chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • A couple lemons, cut into quarters
  • 1 1/2 cups black-eyed peas, soaked overnight
  • 6 cups firmly packed spinach leaves
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, to serve


  • 1. 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.
  • 2. Meanwhile, rinse the soaked peas and place them in a large saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover them 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. The water level should remain just above the peas; if the water evaporates too quickly, add some extra hot water while the peas are cooking.
  • 3. Season the peas with salt toward the very end of the cooking time. Tear the spinach into bite-size pieces, toss it into the pan, and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, until wilted.
  • 4. Using a slotted spoon, divvy the peas and spinach among individual bowls, including just a trickle 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.


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Recipe Testers Reviews

Being from the South, I’m a huge fan of black-eyed peas and this dish didn’t disappoint! I liked the idea of wilting spinach in the peas; it’s a great way to add color and extra nutrition to the dish. The tomatoes on the side were fantastic as well. I usually add diced tomatoes to the peas when they’re just about cooked, but never had them raw on top of the peas. I liked the freshness of this method. The salted onions were a tasty addition to this recipe as well. My grandmother used to serve whole, raw green onions as a condiment at every dinner and this addition of the diced onions really brought back to mind that fresh onion punch that I loved on her dinner table. The only thing I’d change about the recipe is the cooking time—my peas were ready to eat after only 50 minutes of cooking, not 1 1/2 hours. Also, I did have to add extra water to the pan about halfway through the cooking time; it seemed to absorb pretty quickly.

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 with the recipe as written 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.

I like black-eyed peas but rarely cook them except on New Year’s Day as part of our traditional good-luck Southern meal. It’s nice to have another recipe and reason for serving them anytime. I agree that this is a cross between a soup and a salad, and a nice change for black-eyed peas. Not sure why the author has you presoak and precook, as I’d never heard of using both methods at one time and think it’d only be necessary to do one or the other. But being the dutiful tester that I am, I did both as stated. I did end up with a nice lunch and would make this one again. Next time I’ll probably just use one of the methods stated above.

I served this pea and spinach dish as an accompaniment to oven-roasted chicken; it paired very nicely. We found that the combination of the spinach and peas with the lemon juice, tomatoes, onions, and parsley worked very well. Salting and soaking the raw onions definitely helped remove some of their “bite.” We also liked the fact that diners can choose what they want to dress their spinach and peas with. Be careful not to overcook the spinach—a quick wilting is just the right texture for this dish.

This is a very good make-ahead supper for those nights where you’re busy running here and there. Overall, the recipe as is was a little bland for me. Next time, I’d season the cooking liquid for the beans with maybe a quartered onion, some garlic cloves and a sprig of rosemary or thyme. We ate it warm with a little salsa and some cornbread.


  1. 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.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Send it along. Covet one of those spiffy pictures of yourself to go along with your comment? Get a free Gravatar. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.