These southern-style, vegan black-eyed peas are made quick and easy in your pressure cooker. With no soaking necessary, these black-eyed peas are meatless and full of flavor!
These vegan pressure cooker black-eyed peas are ready in 30 minutes from start to finish. No soaking needed! Made with a savory broth, you won’t miss the meat in this southern staple. Add them to your New Year’s Day menu or any day of the week!
What are Black-Eyed Peas?
Native to West Africa, black-eyed peas are one of several types of cowpeas. They are a creamy bean (or pulse) that gets their name from the fact that they have a distinct black mark where the bean was attached to the pod.
Black-eyed peas are high in protein, fiber, and magnesium among other benefits. They are versatile in the kitchen and a staple in West African and southern cuisine in the United States.
New Years Foods for Good Luck
It’s a tradition to eat black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Year’s Day for good luck. I’m sharing my personal recipe for New Year’s Day Black Eyed Peas.
Black-eyed peas are a staple in the south. Vegan black-eyed peas are not. But I get requests for about vegetarian soul food often. I’ve been making the peas this way for years and even my meat-eating family loves them.
How to Make Black-Eyed Peas from Scratch
A key first step in making black-eyed peas from scratch is looking through the peas. Remove any stones or damaged peas. Rinse them.
Can I use frozen black-eyed peas for this recipe?
You could. You would need to adjust the cooking time because frozen peas have been blanched or parboiled – cooked a little bit so they’ll finish quicker.
I do not recommend canned ones. The peas are already too soft. You’ll end up with soup!
This easy recipe requires just a few ingredients. You’ll need black-eyed peas, thyme, broth, oil, and an onion.
TIP: If your supermarkets are anything like mine, buy your black-eyed peas early. Or at least a week before the New Year’s holiday. They fly off the shelves around here.
Cooking black-eyed peas with meat
Traditional southern or soul food style black-eyed pea recipes use meat. I grew up with peas and beans cooked with a ham hock usually. Nowadays, I get lots of questions about making them without. Whatever your preference works!
Black-eyed peas have a natural earthy, meaty flavor that only gets better over time. This recipe is good for your non-meat eating, vegetarian and vegan family and friends. It’s a dish everyone will love.
About the broth…
The broth will infuse flavor into the peas. So it’s really important. I used Pacific brand vegetable broth for testing purposes. Swanson Natural Goodness is another one that works well.
To make this recipe with meat, you can use smoked turkey necks or turkey wings. Or go traditional with a ham hock. For that, let the meat simmer in water (just enough to cover the meat) to pull out the flavor. This creates a savory broth and the traditional flavor you expect from southern dishes.
Use this as your cooking liquid (or broth) for the peas. Follow the stovetop directions below using your cooking liquid instead of the vegetable broth.
You can leave the ham hock in to infuse additional flavor but you might take it out and chop up the meat to add to the pot before serving. Same for the smoked turkey.
Another option is to use bacon. Saute a few slices of center cut bacon in the pot. Remove the back and drain most of the fat – leaving 1-2 tablespoons or enough to saute the onions.
Saute the onions just until translucent and follow the steps for the Instant Pot or stovetop directions. With bacon, again, I like to remove then add the cooked bacon back to the pot before serving.
To make this recipe on the stovetop
Use the same ingredients and the same procedure but with a little less liquid. It will just take twice as long and require a bit more checking in.
Saute the onion in the oil using a 4-6 quart pot. Add the dry peas, 4 cups broth, and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium- low and cook about 45 minutes, until the peas are cooked to your preferred tenderness.
NOTE: If you use frozen black-eyed peas on the stove, it will shave off at least 20 minutes. They work great. Just buy plain black-eyed peas.
TIP: My people don’t like the peas to be too mushy. If you want more of a “gravy” on the peas, here’s a tip.
Take a ½ cup of peas and mash them with the back of a spoon. Stir throughout the peas to create a thicker consistency. If you go too far, the peas will be goopy the next day. So don’t mash too many.
Tips for success
Mind the broth. The type of broth you use can make a difference. If it’s saltier, then you will need to use less salt. Taste the peas before adding the salt so you can determine what else you need.
Feel free to make these ahead. No matter how you cook these peas, they will taste better on day 2. So feel free to cook these a day ahead!
Don’t overcook the peas. Black-eyed peas will cook to mush quickly. If you use canned or frozen ones, that will happen quicker.
What to eat with black-eyed peas?
I eat black-eyed peas with greens and cornbread. Rice is (not really) optional but it helps complete the meal.
Growing up, my family would have field peas and rice with greens. You could cook field peas using this recipe but they are harder to find dried. We usually had them fresh and frozen from the summer. The greens were typically collard greens but sometimes mustard greens or turnip greens.
Recipes with leftover black-eyed peas
If you have leftover black-eyed peas, this recipe freezes well. Or use them to make these other recipes.
- Roasted Black Eyed Peas – Make these for a crunchy snack!
- Hoppin John Patties – Old pictures but really good still!
- Black-Eyed Pea Fritters – So good!
Instant Pot Vegan Black-Eyed Peas
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ onion, chopped
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1 pound dried black-eyed peas (about 2 cups)
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- ½-1 tsp coarse salt (adjust to taste)
- ½ tsp black pepper
- Set the multicooker to saute mode on medium heat. Add the oil to the inner liner. Saute the onion until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
- Switch to manual. Add the black-eyed peas, broth, and thyme.
- Close lid. Turn the vent to sealing and set to high pressure for 15 minutes. (It takes 8-10 minutes to come to pressure.)
- Turn the pot off. Allow natural release for about 15 minutes. Release any remaining pressure.
- Open the lid facing out – allowing the steam to escape away from your face. Taste and add 1/2 or 1 tsp salt based on how they taste. I added a full teaspoon because I used a low sodium broth.
To make this recipe on the stovetop:Use the same ingredients and the same procedure but with a little less liquid. It will just take 2-3 times as long and require a bit more checking in. Saute the onion in the oil using a 4-6 quart pot. Add the dry peas, 4 cups broth, and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook about 45 minutes, or until the peas are cooked to your preferred tenderness.
Tips for the best black-eyed peas
- Mind the broth. The type of broth you use can make a difference. If it’s saltier, then you will need to use less salt. Taste the peas before adding the salt so you can determine what else you need.
- Feel free to make these ahead. No matter how you cook these peas, they will taste better on day 2. So feel free to cook these a day ahead!
- You can double this recipe. Do not double the cooking time. This recipe yields a lot of peas so you probably don’t need to make double. If you do, I recommend using a large pressure cooker to avoid issues with the liquid. This current recipe was tested in the 6 quart Instant Pot.