Black-eyed peas and greens are the traditional New Year’s Day meal in the South. Supposedly, the peas bring you good luck and the greens bring you money in the coming year. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, I think it’s a great tradition because beans and greens are about the healthiest thing you can eat, and what better way to start your year off right. But don’t settle for plain old peas and greens! Here are some of my favorite ways to kick off the new year with lots of flavor.
One of my favorite dishes, Creole Black-eyed Peas are full of flavor without being spicy–unless you want them to be. Do start with dried peas–they taste 10 times better than canned.
You don’t have to prepare black-eyed peas in a Southern style to reap all the benefits they bring. This Black-eyed Pea Masala is an adaptation of a traditional Indian dish, full of the flavors of cumin, cinnamon, and ginger. It’s amazing!
Black-eyed Pea Gumbo is a great way to warm up your chilly new year. It’s also an easy dish to make using canned black-eyed peas and frozen okra. Add some greens if you like and get your luck and money taken care of in one dish!
One of my favorite soups, Spicy Collards and Black-eyed Pea Soup is another great way to combine your greens and peas into one dish. If you have a pressure cooker, you can cook this from dried peas in under an hour.
Substitute cooked black-eyed peas for the red beans, and Collards Stuffed with Red Beans and Rice will be the hit of your New Year’s Day dinner.
If you like the idea of getting in your black-eyed peas right at the stroke of midnight, serve up some Texas Caviar and tortilla chips at your New Year’s Eve party. Your guests will love it and leftovers make a great salad the next day.
Blackeyed Pea Hummus is another non-traditional dish that makes a great party food or appetizer.
Get out your pressure cooker and make Quick and Delicious Collards using any green you like.
Traditionally, Southerners cook greens by simmering them in ham-seasoned water until very tender, often an hour or more, and with older greens, I do a similar, vegan version using caramelized onions and hickory salt. But fresh greens of any kind from kale to turnip can be quick-cooked in a skillet like these New Southern Greens with cranberries and smoked paprika.
Finally, if you’re looking for something a little different, you have to try Moin-Moin, a savory Nigerian cake that can be eaten as part of a meal or as a snack. I’m told that you can make Moin-Moin much more easily if you use black-eyed pea flour instead of dried beans. It’s definitely worth looking for!
Happy, healthy New Year, y’all!