Vegan Black-Eyed Peas

Vegetarian black eyed peas recipe

The Spruce / Victoria Heydt 

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 8 to 12 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
121 Calories
3g Fat
21g Carbs
5g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 121
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 110mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Protein 5g
Calcium 65mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Black-eyed peas are a popular food around the globe. While believed to be originally cultivated in West Africa, black-eyed peas are grown in Asia, Africa, and the southern states of the U.S. Also known as buñuelo, ​​lobia, chè đậu trắng, rongi, alsande, kalu, akara, kacang, and tolo, black-eyed peas are actually beans with a misleading name.

Although traditional black-eyed pea recipes call for salt pork to season the nutritious legume, this recipe is vegan. It's a hot dish that's delicious paired with rice or another grain. Add some chopped bacon, pork, or sausage if you're in the mood for a meaty dish.

For an extra lucky new year, eat a helping of black-eyed peas on New Year's Day—especially when paired with collard greens, believed to bring wealth. The tradition has ties to the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation, but it may go back much further. Some accounts say black-eyed peas were the only food available to newly freed enslaved people after the Emancipation Proclamation took effect on New Year's Day in 1863. There's also a story about Union soldiers leaving behind the legume after pillaging a Confederate camp. The blunder allowed the Confederates to survive winter. 

Luck or not, the two dishes taste delicious together and are ultra-nutritious, so you'll start your year off on the right foot. Make your collard greens the traditional way or pair your black-eyed peas with vegan dirty rice and collard greens for a complete meal.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups onion (finely chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can vegetable broth (low-sodium)
  • 4 cups dry black-eyed peas
  • 5 cups water (plus more if needed)
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans whole tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for vegetarian black eyed peas
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over high heat.

    Heat oil
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  3. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until the onions are translucent and fragrant.

    Add onions and garlic
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  4. Add the vegetable broth, black-eyed peas, water, tomatoes, tomato paste, and brown sugar and bring to a boil.

    Add vegetable stock
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  5. Turn down the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 2 hours, or until the peas are tender. Add more water as needed.

    Turn down heat
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    Add salt and pepper
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  7. Serve and enjoy.


  • Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 6 months.
  • Canned vegetable broth is a good option as are vegetable cubes or homemade vegetable stock.

Recipe Variations

  • This black-eyed peas dish can be eaten like a stew or served with couscous, rice, grits, or polenta.
  • While black-eyed peas are classic for this recipe, any legume can be substituted with slight variations in consistency and cooking time.
  • Another dish made popular in the American South called hoppin' John joins black-eyed peas with rice and pork.