A California Girl’s Take on Black Eye Peas

Some days are suckey.  Days where everything that could possibly go wrong do go wrong, and you just want to throw your music stand across the room.

But!  Then there are those non-suckey days, where you hang out with your friends all afternoon, cooking, gaming, laughing, and eventually ending up piled on the couch squealing as you watch YouTube videos of adorable baby bunny rabbits eating fruit.  I’m very happy to say that yesterday was one of those non-suckey days.

Now, to black eye peas.  Traditionally, black eye peas are cooked with a couple of ham hocks for flavor.  That’s it?  Yup, that’s it.  Kind of boring, no?  Well, I decided to take those iron- and protein-rich legumes and add a bit of zing and panache to them.

The first thing to do was to take the flavor profile from salty pork to zesty veggie broth, punchy liquid aminos, and rich olive oil.  I then threw in some onions and a bit of garlic for good measure.  To finish it all off, I added some bright broccoli and sweet green peas (unfortunately, the veggies discolour a bit in the black eye pea broth).  You, of course, could add other vegetables, such as green beans, asparagus, or zucchini.

California Black Eye Peas

1 pound black eye peas, picked through and soaked overnight

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion, minced

4 cloves spicy garlic, minced

1 cup sweet green peas, frozen or fresh

1 head of broccoli, trimmed into bite-sized florets

1 tablespoon sodium-free vegetable broth powder*

2 tablespoons liquid aminos**

1 teaspoon dried thyme

freshly ground black pepper

kosher salt

In a large dutch oven, combine the soaked black eye peas with 6 cups of water.  Bring to a boil and simmer covered for 1-2 hours, or until the black eye peas are tender but still retain their shape.  Turn off heat and let sit.

Heat a medium/large skillet over medium heat.  Add the olive oil and onions and saute until caramelized, about 10 minutes.  Add in the peas, garlic, and broccoli and stir around.  Add a few spoonfuls of the black eye peas’ cooking broth and cover.  Allow the vegetables to steam until bright green and tender, 5-10 minutes.

Pour the veggies into the pot with the black eye peas.  Add the vegetable broth powder, liquid aminos, thyme, and black pepper.  Stir and taste.  Adjust seasonings as necessary, adding more liquid aminos, salt, and/or pepper.

Serve hot or completely chilled with vegetable sticks.

*If you have really good homemade vegetable stock, then substitute 2 of the 6 cups of water with homemade vegetable stock instead of using vegetable broth powder.

**Liquid aminos are a soy sauce alternative.  If you can’t find them or don’t want to use them, then you can substitute soy sauce, shoyu, or tamari.

Serves 8-10

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