These vegan black eyed peas and collard greens are cooked easily in the Instant Pot! Filled with vegetables, protein, and fiber, this dish is gluten free, oil free, and plant based. Enjoy this wonderful recipe along with some rice or cornbread for the New Year’s Day, or for any day you want a delicious comfort food meal!
This vegan black eyed peas recipe is a plant based variation on the traditional southern dish served on New Year’s Day. While the traditional recipe is flavored with ham or a ham hock, I was able to create an amazing black eyed peas recipe that gets its smoky flavor from smoked paprika and liquid smoke.
This dish is so easy and delicious, you won’t want to just consume it on New Year’s. Enjoy it any time you want a tasty, comforting dish! It’s full of protein and vegetables, making it a perfect complete meal.
What are black eyed peas?
Black eyed peas are actually a medium sized bean and are in the family of cowpeas. Both beans and peas are types of legumes. Black eyed peas are native to Africa, and are high in potassium, iron, protein, and fiber. They cook quickly with the aid of an Instant Pot.
Why do people eat black eyed peas and greens on New Year’s day?
According to southern food lore, eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Day brings good fortune. The black eyed peas are said to bring good luck, and the collard greens represent dollar bills and brings a year of financial prosperity. The cornbread that is often served with this dish symbolizes gold, and when the beans are stewed with tomatoes, it is said to bring wealth and health.
You can read more about the history of eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Day on this Southern Living page and in this article from Modern Farmer.
What is the Cajun “Holy Trinity”?
Unlike a traditional mirepoix which is a ratio of 1:2:1 of carrots, onion, and celery, many of the recipes in Cajun and Creole cooking begins with an equal mixture of onion, bell peppers, and garlic. This is referred to as the Holy Trinity of Cajun/Creole cooking.
Ingredients in Southern black eyed peas
- Onion – I used a medium yellow onion.
- Bell pepper – green bell pepper is traditional in Cajun cuisine, but you can use a red bell pepper if you prefer
- Garlic – Lots! I used 5 cloves in this recipe.
- Dry black eyed peas
- Vegetable broth – you can use homemade vegetable stock, purchased broth, or use water and vegetable bouillon. If you’re avoiding salt, use a sodium free broth.
- Smoked paprika and liquid smoke to give this black eyed peas recipe the smokiness that comes from ham in traditional southern black eyed peas.
- Bay leaf, oregano, and thyme
- Canned diced tomatoes
- Tomato paste
- Collard greens – in place of collards, you can use kale, mustard greens, chard, or even spinach. If you choose to use spinach, add it at the end of cooking and let it just wilt in the pot of hot beans.
- Hot sauce – add more or less to taste
- Salt and black pepper
- Optional: cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to add an additional kick of flavor.
How to make this Instant Pot black eyed peas recipe
Step 1: Rinse and sort the dried beans. Remove any shriveled or discolored beans and make sure there are no pebbles. Set them aside.
Step 2: Press the sauté button on the Instant Pot. Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery, and sauté until the onion is translucent. If the vegetables begin to stick, add a small amount of water to deglaze the pot.
Step 3: Add the garlic and sauté for another two minutes, until the garlic is fragrant. Watch it closely to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Step 4: Add the black eyed peas, vegetable broth, smoked paprika, oregano, thyme, black pepper, and bay leaves. Close the pot, make sure the vent is turned to “seal”, and pressure cook the beans on high pressure for 10 minutes. After the cooking time, allow the pot to sit for 10 minutes and then open the vent to release the remaining pressure.
Step 5: Open the pot, remove the bay leaves, and add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, collards, liquid smoke, and hot sauce. Stir, and return to pressure for 2 minutes. Carefully open the vent to manually release the pressure.
Step 6: Add salt and additional hot sauce to taste.
What if I don’t have an Instant Pot or pressure cooker?
No problem! You can cook these black eyed peas on the stove top in a large pot or dutch oven. If you’re cooking on the stove top, soak the black eyed peas overnight before cooking them. Or use this quick soak method:
Place the dried beans in a large pot and add water to a level of two inches above the beans. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Then remove the pot from the heat, and allow it to sit for one hour. Drain the beans and proceed with the recipe.
Follow the above instructions for sautéing the vegetables. Then add the beans, broth, smoked paprika, and herbs. Bring the mixture to a boil. Then lower heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
At this point the beans should be almost tender. Add the collards, tomatoes, tomato paste, black pepper, liquid smoke, and hot sauce. Continue simmering for another 15 minutes, or until the beans are tender. Add salt, additional hot sauce or liquid smoke to taste.
Serve hot with rice or other grains, or over a potato or sweet potato.
What to serve with vegan black eyed peas and greens
I love to serve these vegan black eyed peas over some brown rice or other grains. Some vegan cornbread is absolutely delicious with this recipe! It’s also great served with some crusty bread, or over a baked potato or sweet potato.
Frequently asked questions
Place the leftover black eyed peas in a jar or airtight container and refrigerate for up to a week. For longer storage, freeze them for up to 3 months. Reheat the left overs in a bowl in the microwave, or in a pot on the stove over low heat.
There is no soaking required when pressure cooking your dried black eyed peas in the Instant Pot. If you plan to cook this recipe on the stove top, they should be soaked overnight or with a quick soak method.
One tradition in Southern USA is to leave 3 black eyed peas on their plate to bring luck, fortune, and romance in the new year.
Want more recipes featuring beans?
- Vegan Chili
- Veggie Chili in the Instant Pot
- Vegan Black Bean Soup
- Quinoa & Black Bean Enchiladas
- Easy Black Bean Dip
- Quinoa & Black Bean Burgers
- Mexican Vegetable Sauté
And for more easy pressure cooker recipes, check out my roundup of 25+ Vegan Instant Pot Recipes!
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Used in this recipe:
Vegan Black Eyed Peas & Collard Greens
- Instant Pot
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 celery ribs diced
- 1 green or red bell pepper diced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pound black eyed peas rinsed
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- 2 bay leafs
- 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 bunch collard greens thick stems removed, then chopped
- ½ teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon salt optional, to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Sauté the onion, celery, and bell pepper until the onion begins to brown. When the vegetables start to stick to the pot, add a couple of teaspoons of water to deglaze the surface of the pot.
- Add the garlic and sauté for another minute or two, until the garlic is fragrant.
- Add the black eyed peas, vegetable broth, smoked paprika, oregano, thyme, and bay leafs to the pot. Cook the black eyed peas on the manual setting for 10 minutes with a natural pressure release. If the beans are still firm after 10 minutes, bring the pot to pressure again for 2 minutes with a quick pressure release. Repeat until the beans are tender.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and return the pot to pressure for 2 minutes. Carefully release the pressure and remove the lid.
- Stir and add additional salt, hot sauce, or liquid smoke to taste.
Nutrition calculations are approximate.