Unexpectedly Delicious: Black-Eyed Peas

Black-eyed peas are tiny beans in the legume family that have a characteristic black dot on one side. If you look into a bowl of these little round beans, it may seem like hundreds of small eyes are staring up at you! What an intriguing element at mealtime… However, these little fellows are unexpectedly quite delicious!

Originating from West Africa, black-eyed peas were first formally cultivated in Southern United States, becoming popular in Southern soul food cuisine. These beans can thrive in a broad range of conditions and require little moisture to grow. On New Years in the South, it is thought that eating these beans will bring about prosperity for the year to come! The peas are traditionally flavored with ham or bacon, onions, chili and vinegar possibly cooked with collards or turnips alongside.

Why Should You Eat Them?

Black-eyed peas are an excellent source of B vitamins including folic acid and thiamin. Folate is essential to supporting healthy growth all the way from fetal stages in the womb through adolescence. During pregnancy folic acid is needed to prevent neural tube defects, and is essential for the building of healthy red blood cells. Deficiency will result in anemia.

Black-eyed peas also contain a good amount of thiamin, a b vitamin vital for energy production from dietary carbohydrates and fats. Thiamin is essential to support nervous system function with a key role in brain cell integrity and structure.

The black-eyed pea is not only a source of vitamin A and C, powerful nutrient antioxidants, but it also contributes a balance of protein, carbohydrate and fibre all in one! One cup of cooked peas will give you 37g of carbohydrate, 7g of dietary fibre, 15g of protein and only 1g of fat. This is already a balanced meal if paired with some veggies, healthy fat and spices/herbs to flavor your dish!

                                                                                                                                               

 

Nutrition value of 1 cup of cooked black-eyed peas:

  • 68% daily iron for the day
  • About 70% daily folate requirements
  • 54% of your daily copper requirements
  • 25% of your daily vitamin B1 (thiamin)
  • About 15% of your daily potassium

The wonders of how to enjoy them:
Black-eyed peas are traditionally cooked with ham or bacon, onions and tomatoes. Buying black-eyed peas in bulk dried form is the most cost effective way to enjoy their lovely flavor. To prepare them in a slow cooker, throw in 1 lb. of rinsed dried beans with about 6 cups of water. Set the slow cooker to high heat and leave for about 4 hours to cook your beans through. The cooked black-eyed peas can then add flavor, fibre and protein to a multitude of dishes including soups, stews, and salads or even mashed into a hummus like dip! Try mixing them in with one other diced vegetable; such as cucumbers or artichokes, to create a marinated salad that highlights the black-eyed pea!

Recipe Ideas:

    • Black Eyed Peas and Collard Greens (in this month’s newsletter)
  • Marinated Black Eyed Pea Salad
  • Avocado Black Eyed Pea Salsa
  • Spicy Black Eyed Pea Stew
  • Sweet and Sour Black Eyed Beans
  • Roasted Vegetable Black Eyed Pea Soup
  • Black Eyed Pea and Chicken Burritos
  • Black Eyed Pea Dip

Did you know that…
Black-Eyed Peas are also referred to as Cowpeas? This name stems from when this plant was used to feed cattle in the late 1700s, and was considered “poor man’s food.” Little did the rich know that their cattle and the poor were actually eating like kings!

 

March 1, 2015
Revive Wellness