With New Year’s day 2015 right around the corner, everyone is scurrying to get their black eyed peas and collard greens in the house. Why? Because southern tradition mandates that you serve black eyed peas for luck, and collard greens for money on New Year’s day, that’s why!
Eating black eyed peas and long-simmered greens is something my relatives have served for family dinner on the first day of each year since I was a small child. My grand always gave me a cup of the liquid from the greens that she called “pot likkor.” Yum!
Not one to be superstitious, even I had to admit that every year I lagged and DIDN’T eat my peas and greens on New Year day, some horrible event or affliction befell me shortly thereafter. Yup, I’ve had some really rough Januaries. So, um, this year, WE are going all in on tradition mode and WE will be grubbin’ on some peas and greens like WE have some sense!
The part of the New Year’s day meal that I refused to eat were other southern/soul food “delicacies,” and anyone out there who is even thinking about possibly maybe asking me for a substitution for that “slave food” needs to think again. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t play!
My mom, aunts and grandmother (all of whom I speak fondly about in the Why Vegan is the New Black cookbook), made frequent use of a mixture of greens, so we never had JUST collards. My grandmother grew turnip greens, mustard greens, curly kale, Chinese mustard greens, AND collard greens in her backyard, and would always serve a combination of at least two together (sometimes three depending on what was ready for picking).
The black eyed peas were served as a side dish, seasoned with bacon or some kind of smoked pork with a nice bit of thick gravy that developed naturally while the peas cooked; it went superbly over rice. We’d also have corn bread, candied yams, various meats, okra gumbo, and who knows what else (since it was always a pot luck).
Please do not think I am gonna do all THAT. I like things easy and fast, yet tasty and nutritious. This meal is no different.
Nope, I’ve converted my greens and peas to a soup, and streamlined this meal to one pot and one pan for cornbread. Done.
The seniors of my family who all taught me how to cook would be shocked that I was able to achieve such a high level of flavor in a soup without the meats they always used for seasoning. All I can tell you is that this soup is beyond delicious; serve it with your favorite cornbread (muffins, hush puppies, etc) and you have everything you need.
This dish was created as my way to honor a family legacy of good home style cooking and good times around the table, while respecting my desire to eliminate flesh based foods from my diet so popular in southern and African American cuisine.
I think my ancestors would be pleased. Happy New Year to you! May 2015 bring you all the joy you can handle, and all the success you’ve ever dreamed of.
- 1-1/2 cups (dry measure) black eyed peas (previously soaked 8+ hours or overnight)
- 3 Tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 medium white onion, chopped small
- 1 small green bell pepper, chopped small
- 2-3 stalks celery, cut into ¼ diagonal slices
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bunch curly kale
- 1 bunch collard greens
- 1 Not Chicken bouillon cube
- 2 vegetable broth cubes
- 10-12 cups water
- 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (or to taste)
- 1-1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon spicy seasoning salt
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt (or to taste)
- Drain soaked black eyed peas, rinse, then place in your pressure cooker or large pot. Add water to cover peas plus two inches. Add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and both bay leaves. Cover and bring to a boil over high, then reduce heat and simmer peas about 45 minutes (25 in pressure cooker). Beans should be softened, but not tender yet. Drain in colander and set aside. Rinse and wipe out pot and return to stove.
- While beans are cooking, wash and trim the collards and kale. Remove the thick stalks, then chop leaves into 2" squares. Place chopped greens in large bowl and set aside.
- Place remaining olive oil in large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion, cooking until it turns light brown. Add bell pepper and celery and mix in, letting it cook another minute or two. Finally, add in the garlic and stir about 60 seconds (avoid burning it).
- Throw in the chopped greens, paprika, cayenne and black pepper and stir until collards and kale are cooked down (about 3-5 minutes). Reduce heat to low.
- Now add in the remaining ingredients: black eyed peas, tomato sauce, water, bouillon cubes, rosemary, thyme, and seasoning salt. Stir well, cover and simmer until black eyed peas are tender to the touch (usually about another 45 minutes).
- Remove bay leaves. Taste and adjust seasonings to suit your palate.
- Serve immediately with hot corn bread, hush puppies, corn muffins, etc.
Category: Light Meals