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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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

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Lindsay @ The Reluctant Runner January 8, 2011 at 4:27 pm

I’ve never tried black eyed peas. I imagine this recipe would be really good with garbanzo beans, too!


Angela (Oh She Glows) January 8, 2011 at 4:31 pm

mmm yes it would, what a great idea!


Lisa @Thrive Style January 8, 2011 at 4:28 pm

I’ve never actually had black eyed peas! Can’t wait to try this—it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for (without knowing it)!


Erika @ FoodFitnessFun January 8, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Nice twist on a classic. I LOVE black-eyed peas! :-D


Katie January 8, 2011 at 4:35 pm

I am a huge ginger fan, so much so that I bet I’d add more.

I’ve been wanting to try a recipe for a black-eyed peas soul burger I got years ago here:

Maybe you can be the guinea pig and try it first? ;)


Kristy @ KristyRuns January 8, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Bringing the laptop into the kitchen when following a recipe is essential for me! I had you and your banana-cherry-coconut butter bread recipe propped up on my counter last weekend! :)

Mmmmm! That recipe looks great! Especially with the ginger!


jen @ taste life January 8, 2011 at 4:43 pm

I love beans and peas, but I also seemed to have an aversion to black eyed peas! I don’t think I’ve ever rung in the new year with them. We’re having a cold and snowy day here, too, and I had yummy veggie soup that hit the spot.


Tiffany @ Conor & Bella January 8, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Why don’t you really like black eyed peas? I’ve never had them, so I don’t know what they taste like.


Angela (Oh She Glows) January 8, 2011 at 5:12 pm

I find that other beans taste a lot better…like chickpeas or black beans for example. They don’t taste ‘bad’ to me, just not ‘amazing’


thefruitpursuit (Sabine) January 8, 2011 at 4:47 pm

I miss your personal updates Angela! How are you doing :)?

x sabine


Jenn L January 8, 2011 at 5:01 pm

This is such a fabulous idea! I love it with chickpeas so the black eyed peas is a great take on it!!!! =) Good idea! <3

Jenn @ Peas & Crayons


Cathy Breit January 8, 2011 at 5:06 pm

this looks great…I’m a big fan of Channa Masala(chickpeas) so I could see this being a great riff on that…same flavors, different beans.
Thanks for the great tip on ginger/sugar too!
cathy b. @ brightbakes


Faith @ lovelyascharged January 8, 2011 at 5:10 pm

I had my hoppin’ John the day after New Years @ a football party. I wasn’t feeling them on NYE either!


Jaya January 8, 2011 at 5:10 pm

In hindi, “masala” means aggregate of spices or spices and other stuff added in. So garam masala (for instance) means hot spice. Fitting, because it really is a blend of the most potent spices! Every few months, we make a batch of basic masala with onion, garlic, ginger and tomato and spices and then freeze it as use it as a base for many different dishes. But your dish here looks like a great foray into masala dishes!


Laura @ Backstage Pass to Health & Happinesslaura January 8, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Oh, I just love the Black Eyed Peas! In concert, that is :-D The whole time I read this post, I’ve had ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’ playing in my head. Too funny!


Allison @ Food For Healing January 8, 2011 at 5:17 pm

the weather is about the same in Saskatoon, Sask. lots of snow comin across canada i guess, most people seem to be gettin hit


Mel January 8, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Yum! I’m all about beans and soups lately! I can’t wait to try this.


Gina January 8, 2011 at 5:34 pm

I just tried Black eye peas for the first time a few days ago. I love their nutty flavor! Great recipe, as always, Angela :)


Gina January 8, 2011 at 5:34 pm

whoops *black eyed peas


Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen January 8, 2011 at 5:35 pm

That looks fantastic!!


Picky Nicky January 8, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Black eyed peas are my least favourite bean also :( I’m thinking chickpeas would be yummy in here, or lentils!


Jennifer Merschel January 8, 2011 at 5:40 pm

I wish I would have had this recipe last week when I was looking for a way to use up the black-eyed peas I bought for new years. Instead, I whipped up a version of Texas Caviar.

Also, I thought I was the only one stuck with a husband who doesn’t like beans! How can you not like chickpeas? He says its a texture thing. The only ones I’ve been able to turn him on are lentils and edamame.


emma January 8, 2011 at 5:58 pm

I know what you mean about black eyed peas….I also have an on-off relationship with them. This recipe looks great though. I really don’t know where to start with Indian cuisine. I’ve only tried Indian food once in my life! I know – shocking! I think that can be one of my goals for 2011 – to learn how to cook with a greater variety of spices! x x


Elli @ 16 and Losing It January 8, 2011 at 5:59 pm

This looks so good! I looove beans but surprisingly have never tried black eyed peas. I think i might have to make this and and end this neglect :P


Lindsey January 8, 2011 at 6:06 pm

I love black eyed peas! My family is from the south and always makes black eyed peas, turnip greens, and cornbread on New Years day :) Unfortunately, I don’t have my Mom’s recipe. Your recipe looks great!


Rachel January 8, 2011 at 6:07 pm

I recently discovered my FAVORITE black eyed pea recipe ever. I actually crave it. Black Eye Pea Croquettes, the recipe is in The Hip Chicks Guide to Macrobiotics and The Kind Diet. The Peas are soaked, then ground up in a processor with spices, then you simply shape them into balls or patties and fry them. If they are drained properly they have ver little oil in them. Im sure you could probably bake them as well. But paired with honey mustard (or my own mix of dijon and brown rice syrup) they are to die for! Its a great way to satisfy my fast food cravings in a healthy way!


Shannon January 11, 2011 at 12:28 am

This is also my favorite way to eat BEP’s! So simple yet totally delicious. I usually add zuchini and portobello mushrooms for extra flavour. My husband can’t get enough of them!


Stephanie January 8, 2011 at 6:11 pm

This looks sooo so good. I’ve been wanting to make some kind of black eyed pea dish with soyrizo as the nice fatty salty base with the veggies :)


Lisa January 8, 2011 at 6:12 pm

I’ve never tried Black Eyed Peas before but this recipe looks great!


chelsey @ clean eating chelsey January 8, 2011 at 6:14 pm

I’ve never had black eyed peas – is there a reason why you’re not a fan?


Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} January 8, 2011 at 6:24 pm

I make a Hoppin’ John salad with black-eyed peas, but that’s about it. They look really good in your dish!


Fi @ sparklingsnowflake January 8, 2011 at 6:24 pm

I have to admit, I’m a HUGE fan of black eyed peas! Not a huge fan of the music though :P
I buy them canned and often just eat them as they are, I love that nutty taste. I also use them in place of black beans in Mexican recipes, purely because black beans are harder to come by over here.
Glad to hear you’re on your way to liking the wee peas :)


Traci(faithfulfoodiefashionista) January 8, 2011 at 6:25 pm

I am a definite lover of black-eyed peas or any bean for that matter. These look so good :) I had some great black-eyed peas for the new year mixed with peppers and onion and the were so good. This looks like another winner in my book :)


Amanda (Eating Up) January 8, 2011 at 6:30 pm

I don’t think I have ever had black eyed peas!


Lisa January 8, 2011 at 6:32 pm

I love black-eyed peas, acre peas, field peas; being from Georgia these are a staple. You can make Hopping John with any of them. Also, Southern Caviar. (Not real caviar, but a salsa to eat with tortillas, or as a side dish. I can send u recipes or google them!


Lisa January 8, 2011 at 6:35 pm

I’ve also had burgers out of them served over salad but not sure how to make.


Lola January 8, 2011 at 6:38 pm

I can honestly say I have never had black-eyed peas. Your recipe looks delish as always. I think I may use it to introduce B.E.P to my diet :)


Sarah January 8, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Angela, you MUST try Terry Bryant’s recipe for black-eyed pea fritters! You will love them because they are a lot like falafel…only even better. Here’s a version of the recipe another blogger posted: And while you’re at it, I highly recommend his Vegan Soul Food cookbook where this is from. The food is simply amazing. I have loved every single recipe I’ve made from it, which is a rarity.

For my part, I adore black-eyed peas. mmmm….hoppin’ john. I miss collard greens…why, oh why, can’t we have them in Australia?!?!


Angela (Oh She Glows) January 8, 2011 at 8:49 pm

thank you!


Alex @ Healing Beauty January 8, 2011 at 7:21 pm

I’m not one for Black-Eyed Peas myself, but this indian twist seems promising :)


Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn January 8, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Black-Eyed-Pea Croquettes are my favorite! I have the recipe on my bloggity blog, you MUST try them. It’s a recipe from The Kind Diet that I modified a bit:)


Angela (Oh She Glows) January 8, 2011 at 8:49 pm

mmm thanks I will check it out!


Stefanie January 8, 2011 at 7:30 pm

That dish looks good. I have only had black eyed peas a couple of times but never crave them. I almost bought a bag today but I think I have some sitting in my pantry from last year too. Maybe I will give them another try.


Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) January 8, 2011 at 7:44 pm

My hubs claims he doesnt like beans either, but after 11-12 years together, and a concentrated Bean Effort the past 3-4, I am slowly getting him around to eating them. They have to be IN something, i.e. soup or a casserole type thing, he wont just sit down to a plate of baked beans. But i would :)

Your beans look awesome! Between the lentil loaf and the beans here, you are rocking the savory dishes. This one looks like it came together without the 4 tries you said the lentil loaf took!

Twitter..great for instant help. If only i was more clued in on how to use twitter! haha! :)


Brittany (Eating Bird Food) January 8, 2011 at 7:48 pm

I don’t eat black eyed peas that often but I just recently made a delicious (and vegan) dish for New Year’s Day that has kale, tempeh and black eyed peas:

I also bring my computer into the kitchen with me because almost all my recipes are online. :)


Amalfi Girl (EatRunHaveFun) January 8, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Mmmmm, love masala. Garam, tikka (sp?), whatever!


[email protected] Sweet Life January 8, 2011 at 8:09 pm

What a cozy looking meal! We had black eyed peas in Houston on New Year’s Eve but they were served in a soup with ham so I just took peas-only bite to be polite. This looks much better!


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