The ultimate good luck dish, Black-Eyed Peas and Rice brings prosperity while tasting savory and delicious! This is a tasty Southern-inspired main or side dish you can enjoy on New Year’s Day or year-round.
Rice and beans is a classic side dish that never fails. So hearty and packed with protein, you can serve a scoop with your favorite Mexican dishes, collard greens, salad, bread, and so much more.
When you want to take this classic side up a notch, turn to this Black-Eyed Peas and Rice recipe!
Black-eyed peas with rice is similar to a classic bowl of Hoppin’ John, which is a Southern recipe that features black-eyed peas, rice, pork, and green onions. This vegetarian alternative is really simple, made with pantry-staple seasonings, and deliciously savory.
What are black-eyed peas?
Black-eyed peas are a type of cowpea that were introduced to America by slaves from Africa. Native to West Africa, these beans (they’re not actually peas!) are white with a small black dot and have a savory, earthy flavor when cooked. They come with plenty of health benefits and are a great source of fiber, protein, vitamins, and can contribute to weight loss.
If you’re looking for a little good luck in the year ahead, then black-eyed peas are the legume for you! Black-eyed peas supposedly bring prosperity and luck when eaten on New Year’s Day but you can count on them to be delicious year-round.
Ingredients you’ll need
- Black-eyed peas - Although they’re called peas, black-eyed peas are actually beans! They’re native to Africa and a popular choice in Southern cooking and soul food. Black-eyed peas soften once they’re cooked and have a delectable nutty, earthy, and savory flavor.
- Rice - White rice is the easy choice here but any grain will work. Try it with brown rice, quinoa, farro, or cauliflower rice instead.
- Spices - All you need is onion powder, garlic powder, and salt to flavor this side dish.
- Spinach - Stirring fresh spinach into the rice adds extra nutrients and a pop of green to this otherwise beige meal. If you don’t have spinach, you can use another leafy green (like kale) or collard greens, peas, or steamed broccoli.
How to cook black-eyed peas
Just like other varieties of dried beans and lentils, black-eyed peas are easy to cook in the Instant Pot and on the stovetop. Make a batch during Sunday meal prep or a few hours ahead of making this recipe. Once the beans are ready, use them at a moment’s notice in beans and rice or my Black-Eyed Pea Quinoa and Kale Salad.
How to make black-eyed peas and rice
Make this recipe as easy as possible by cooking the black-eyed peas in the Instant Pot or on the stove ahead of time. From there, this dish is a breeze to put together:
Step 1: Pour the water into a pot and bring it up to a boil.
Step 2: Add the white rice, oil, and seasonings to the boiling water. Give it a stir, then lower the heat and cook (half-covered with a lid) until all of the water is absorbed.
Step 3: Stir the spinach into the rice once it’s done cooking. Cover the pot so the spinach can wilt.
Step 4: Toss the rice and cooked black-eyed peas together, serve with hemp seeds and raisings on top, and enjoy!
Instant Pot Black-Eyed Peas
- 4 oz pork belly fat, cubed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 12 oz smoked kielbasa, sliced and quartered
- 1 cup tomato sauce or puréed
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ tbsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp each, cumin, chili powder and salt
- 2 cups dried black-eyed peas
- 4 cups water or vegetable broth
- 2 cups packed collard greens, thinly sliced
- Turn instant pot on sauté mode. Add the oil and pork belly fat and sauté until the fat starts to break down (about 3 minutes)
- Add the onion, garlic and bell pepper. Stir and cook until it starts to soften (3 minutes)
- Add the tomato sauce, kielbasa, bay leaves and seasonings. Stir well to combine
- Add in the black-eyed peas and water or broth (I use water and it's very flavorful!).
- Turn sauté mode off. Cover the pot and lock venting knob. Cook on HP high pressure for 25 minutes. Allow for 5 min of natural pressure release (NPR) then quickly pressure release (QPR)
- Open the pot and add in collard greens. Stir for a minute or two. Collard greens will wilt easily. Serve
Southern Black Eyed Peas Recipe
- 1 lb dried black eyed peas, soaked overnight
- ½ lb pork belly
- 1 whole head garlic, trimmed 1 inch off the end
- 1 small yellow onion, quartered
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp each, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 7 cups water or broth
- Add all the ingredients to dutch oven or oven safe heavy pot with oven safe lid. Give it a quick stir and bake at 350F degrees for 2 – 2 ½ hours until beans are soft and creamy.
- Remove bay leaf and whole garlic head. Peel off the garlic skin and return cooked garlic back to the pot. Press soft garlic against the pot using the back of a wooden spoon and then stir into the beans.
- Serve hot. Refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months for better flavor.
Tips and variations
- Make sure you rinse the beans and rice before cooking to remove any debris.
- Save a step by cooking the greens in with the beans.
- This meal is naturally vegetarian, but if you prefer the traditional Hoppin’ John recipe, add some crispy bacon, ham hocks, or spicy sausage on top.
- Enjoy a serving of black-eyed peas and rice on its own or add collard greens and cornbread on the side.
Storing and reheating leftovers
To store: Add the leftovers to an airtight container and store in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.
To reheat: Reheat the leftovers in the microwave or in a skillet on the stove until warmed through. If it’s a little dry, you can add a splash of vegetable broth to help loosen it up and add more flavor.
More Southern-inspired recipes to try
Black Eyed Peas and Rice
- 4 cups cooked black eyed peas
- 1 cup white rice* rinsed
- 1 ½ cups water
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon each; salt, onion and garlic powder
- 3 cups fresh spinach
- 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
- ½ cup raisins
- Bring water to a boil. Add rinsed rice, oil and seasonings. Give it a stir and cook on low heat with cover half on for about 15-17 minutes or until all water has been absorbed.
- Stir in the fresh spinach as rice is finishing up cooking. Cover and allow spinach to wilt for about five minutes (see notes)
- Toss the rice with black eyed peas and serve with toppings.
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