Black-Eyed Pea Masala

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on January 8, 2011


I know I am a little late with my New Year’s Black-eyed pea recipe, but better late than never, right?

And to be fair, I totally wasn’t feeling the Black-eyed peas on January 1st. I just could not bring myself to eat them.

I have what you call an ‘on-again/off-again’ relationship with Black-eyed peas. When I want them, I find them slightly more than tolerable and when I don’t want them, I really don’t want them. I also can’t say I have ever had an actual craving for Black-eyed peas. Typically, I buy a bag at the beginning of the year and they do not resurface in my diet for 11 months.

From February until December, we are officially broken up.

With that being said, I really did enjoy this dish from Susan, despite all the Black-eyed pea relationship troubles of my past.

And Eric, who has been a notorious bean/pea hater all his life, had an awakening at lunch today….

I guess these peas can be lucky after all.



Black-Eyed Pea Masala

Adapted from Fat Free vegan Kitchen.

Yield: approx 6 cups


  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or oil of choice)
  • 2 cups uncooked black-eyed peas
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ginger-root, minced (or more to taste)
  • 3 small cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3 cups canned diced tomato (approx one 28oz can)
  • 1.5-2 teaspoons garam masala, to taste (I use Arvinda’s)
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar, or to taste
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Chopped parsley or cilantro, to garnish
  • Rice or bread, for serving


Directions: Optional: Soak the black-eyed peas overnight for 8 hours. This reduces cooking time, but it is not required and I skipped this step. Rinse the dried black-eyed peas and strain. Place into a medium sized pot with water about two inches above the peas. Bring the water to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let peas stand in the pot while you prep the rest of the meal.

In a large skillet, add 1 tbsp of oil over medium heat and add the chopped onions. Cook, stirring, until onions soften, about 6-8 minutes. Add the cumin, ginger, and garlic and stir for about 1-2 minutes.

Add the drained peas and all remaining ingredients. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a low boil. Cover (if preferred) and simmer until the black-eyed peas are tender about 20-40 minutes, depending on how much your peas were soaked/pre-cooked beforehand. You can keep checking the peas to assess tenderness. They should be tender, but still chewy and slightly firm. Check seasonings and add more salt and garam masala if necessary.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve with brown rice or fresh bread. Makes approx. 6 cups.


You can soak the peas in water overnight, but of course I forgot to, so I skipped this step. It will speed up the cooking time a bit if you soak them, but it is not necessary. I did what Susan calls a ‘quick-soak’ (or pre-cook), where you bring the peas to a boil, turn off the heat, and then let them stand in the pot.


I brought the peas to a boil and let them stand for about 20 minutes while I prepped the rest of the recipe. It worked great.

Gather the ingredients…


This dish packs a ton of healthy spices loaded with antioxidants…love that.

Crushed canned tomatoes…


I only had 1 cup of crushed canned tomatoes, so I pureed 3 tomatoes in my food processor to make 3 cups. It works in a pinch!

I have also moved my laptop into the kitchen. It saves me running back and forth to the office to look up recipes all the time.


Add 1 tbsp of oil into a very large skillet and cook your chopped onion over medium heat for 6-9 minutes.


The onion will be tender and slightly translucent when it is cooked.

Add in the cumin, ginger, and garlic…


(I added all the spices at once but I do not recommend doing this and you will see why below.)

After a couple minutes, add in the drained pre-soaked peas and the rest of the ingredients. I recommend adding the spices slowly so you can adjust to taste.


Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 20-25 minutes or so, until the peas are tender.


The original recipe called for 1 tablespoon of minced ginger and I found that the ginger taste was too strong for my liking. Unless you are a big ginger fan, I would recommend adding the ginger very slowly. I think I would have been fine with 1 teaspoon of ginger instead of a tablespoon.

I asked on Twitter if anyone knew how to counteract too much ginger in a recipe, and @bilbaobab suggested that I add a bit of sugar to balance it. The recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of sugar, so I added another 1.5 teaspoons and I found that it really helped downplay the ginger taste.

A great tip!


Whenever I have a recipe question I can ask it on Twitter and have an answer within minutes. It is a great resource for all kinds of things.

I made this masala in the morning after returning from the gym and I just let it sit in the pot for a couple hours until Eric and I were ready to have lunch. I found that the soup tasted better after sitting for a while, perhaps because the flavours develop a bit more with time. I suspect this dish will be even better the next day too.


My biggest surprise was not the dish however…it was Eric’s revelation…

After his second bite Eric said, ‘This is good.’

and moments later…

‘I think I am slowly but surely getting over my bean fear.’


Only a couple years ago, Eric would not touch beans and now he is eating all types of beans and enjoying unusual dishes. I think he shocked himself too!

As for me, I enjoyed this dish (probably more than I thought I would initially), but I think I have had my      Black-eyed pea fix for a while. I will probably freeze the leftovers and heat some up on a frigid winter day when I am craving some heat.

It was really the perfect lunch on a stormy, cold day like today…


Are you a Black-eyed pea fan? Any good recipes to share?

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

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Angela W January 10, 2011 at 11:58 pm

Yuuuuuum Angela!! I just finished eating this for dinner and wow, so tasty and satisfying!! It was my first black eyed pea experience and thanks to you it was very positive! Will be making this often! Thank-you!!


Rocaille January 11, 2011 at 5:04 pm

The masala is simmering on the stove and judging on the smell and my tasting it’s simply amazing. I’ve substituted black-eyed peas for chickpeas and added zucchini and potatoes to make it more varied and less… beany. Thanks for another great recipe, this one’s going into my personal cookbook!


nico January 12, 2011 at 1:34 am

I loved the spices in this! I just posted my adaptation on my blog :)


Andrea January 17, 2011 at 4:52 am

This looks delicious….yum!


Heidi Roberts January 17, 2011 at 11:05 am

I made this yesterday and it was great! My husband loved it as well. I did make some additions that I wanted to share to make it even more healthy! I added 1 carrot, 1 stalk of celery, 1 zucchini, 1 yellow squash, 1 Mexican zucchini and about ¾ of a bag of spinach. And I found the Masala at Safeway!!


Angela (Oh She Glows) January 17, 2011 at 11:38 am

great changes! :)


Heidi Roberts January 18, 2011 at 8:33 am

Angela – you are such an inspiration. I am very close to making the final step to ‘veganism’ and your journey is helping me along the way! I just love your site and have shared it with so many of my friends and family. I even made several of your recipes from your Thanksgiving feast and to my surprise my family loved them! I am having so much fun making your recipes and finding them so good…and the bonus is that my husband is going along for the ride (even though at times I think he thinks I am crazy for doing all this :) ).


Kathi January 17, 2011 at 9:03 pm


I wanted to let you know I made this yesterday for dinner. It was wonderful my husband even liked and he is not a vegan! As usual another wonderful recipe! I can’t tell you how much I enjoy your blog. Everything I have tried has been wonderful.


Leah February 26, 2014 at 1:09 pm

This was yummy but I added slightly more spice and okra, which made it really good! To make it kind of southern, I ate it with cornbread. Awesome. Thanks!


Shelley March 12, 2014 at 1:00 pm

This is my third day in a row eating this…and it’s amazing! We served it with steamed collard ribbons and jasmine rice. My boyfriend, who is not a very proficient cook yet, made this with ease! (I’m trying to teach him). I can’t wait to make this again, possibly with cornbread next time!


Kristie January 10, 2015 at 12:17 am

I am decidng if a Pressure Cooker should be in my kitchen… any ideas? Thought? So many use the Instant Pot. Is this because of the Stainless pot? So many have non-stick finish. Do you have opinions on that? :)


Debbie January 17, 2015 at 8:06 pm

I just tried this recipe………It’s wonderful! Even my husband liked it! I look forward to trying more of your recipes soon! Thank you, thank you, thank you!


Stef October 7, 2015 at 1:01 am

Made this, and I was surprised at how fast it came together. Oh, and it was delicious!


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