Are you looking for an interesting and tasty substitute for black-eyed peas? With more people turning to vegan or vegetarian diets, finding family recipes without animal-based ingredients can be a challenge.
In this article, I will be providing several non-animal-based alternatives for black-eyed peas that will make meal prep fun and creative.
By taking a fresh approach to traditional dishes, we can explore healthier options for our families without compromising on flavor or texture.
What Are Black-Eyed Peas?
Black Eyed Peas are a type of legume, rich in fiber and protein, widely used in southern cooking.
Originating from West Africa, they have become a staple in American cuisine, particularly in the South, where they are often used in a traditional dish called Hoppin’ John.
These peas are typically sold as dried beans and can be found in most grocery stores. Despite their name, Black Eyed Peas are not peas but are actually beans.
They get their name from the distinctive black spot or “eye” on their creamy exterior. Whether cooked in a savory stew or soaked and boiled for a simple side dish, Black Eyed Peas are a versatile ingredient that adds a hearty touch to any meal.
What Does Black Eyed Peas Taste Like?
Fresh black-eyed peas have a slightly nutty flavor that sets them apart from other beans. This unique taste is more pronounced in fresh beans, which also have a somewhat sweeter profile compared to their dried and canned counterparts.
Dried black-eyed peas, on the other hand, usually require longer cooking times but retain the signature nutty flavor. They may not be as sweet as the fresh beans, but their taste is equally delightful.
A bonus is that they tend to cook faster than most other dried beans, making them a convenient choice for quick meals.
Canned black-eyed peas, while not as sweet as fresh beans, offer the most convenience. The cooked beans are ready to eat right out of the can, and while they may lack some of the nuanced flavors found in fresh or dried beans.
How to Select the Best Substitute for Black-Eyed Peas?
Here’s how you can select the best substitute for black-eyed peas:
- Identify Your Recipe Needs: Different recipes will require different substitutes. For instance, if you are making a soup, choose a bean that holds its shape well during cooking, like pinto beans or fresh lima beans.
- Consider the Flavor Profiles: Black-eyed peas have a distinct, earthy flavor. If you want to keep a similar taste, fresh lima beans or fresh Romano beans are considered to be the closest in flavor.
- Think About the Texture: Black-eyed peas are known for their firm texture. If you want to maintain a similar consistency, beans like purple hull peas or crowder peas could be your best bet.
- Check Availability: Depending on where you live, some substitutes may be easier to find than others. For example, if you live in the southern United States, you may have an easier time finding crowder peas or white acre peas.
- Nutritional Value: If you’re substituting due to dietary restrictions, you’ll also want to consider the nutritional content of the substitute. Pinto beans, for example, are high in protein and fiber, much like black-eyed peas.
- Experiment with Options: You may need to try a few different substitutes to see which one works best for your specific recipe. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little!
13 Best Substitutes for Black-Eyed Peas
If you’re looking for a substitute for black-eyed peas in your recipes, here are some options:
1. Purple Hull Peas
Purple Hull Peas, also known as Southern peas or Pinkeye Purple Hull peas, are a delightful alternative to classic black-eyed peas.
They offer a slightly sweeter and nuttier taste compared to the earthy, smoky flavor of black-eyed peas. The texture of Purple Hull is somewhat creamier as well, making them an excellent choice for those who prefer a smoother consistency in their dishes.
If you’re looking to substitute black-eyed peas in a dish, these peas can seamlessly fit into the role. Whether it’s in a traditional Southern Hoppin’ John, a hearty stew, or a simple side dish, Purple Hull Peas can bring a unique and tasty twist to your table.
2. White Acre Peas
White Acre peas, a variety of Southern field peas, are quite similar to black-eyed peas in many aspects. When cooked, they have a creamy texture and a rich, buttery flavor that is subtly sweet.
Their taste is often described as more refined and delicate compared to black-eyed peas. The texture of White Acre peas is also smoother and creamier, which makes them a great addition to soups and stews.
If you’re looking for a substitute for black-eyed peas in a dish, White Acre peas can be a fantastic option. They can stand in for black-eyed peas in traditional recipes like Hoppin’ John or Texas Caviar, adding their unique flavor and texture to the mix.
3. Green Beans
Green beans, while distinct from black-eyed peas, can serve as a suitable substitute in various dishes. Their taste is mildly sweet and earthy, somewhat less robust than the nutty flavor of black-eyed peas.
The texture of green beans is crisp when fresh, becoming tender and more palatable when cooked, differing from the softer texture of cooked black-eyed peas.
However, this textural difference can provide an interesting contrast in meals typically made with black-eyed peas.
4. Fresh Lima Beans
Lima beans, often known as butter beans, serve as an enjoyable alternative to conventional beans such as black-eyed peas.
When cooked properly, they exhibit a soft, buttery texture that is pleasingly different from the slightly firmer texture of black-eyed peas.
The taste of lima beans is unique, with a sweet taste that offsets its slightly bitter undertones. This complex flavor profile makes them an exciting alternative to the more straightforward taste of black-eyed peas.
5. Cannellini Beans
Cannellini beans, or white kidney beans, offer a distinctly different taste and texture compared to black-eyed peas.
While black-eyed peas have a savory, nutty flavor, cannellini beans are mild and slightly nutty, yet they carry an underlying sweetness that distinguishes them from other bean varieties.
The texture of cannellini beans is dense and creamy, which contrasts with the firmer, grainier texture of black-eyed peas.
Cannellini beans, owing to their comparable protein content and adaptability, can act as a replacement for black-eyed peas in an array of recipes.
For example, in a traditional Southern-style Hoppin’ John dish, the white kidney beans could replace the black-eyed peas to create a unique twist on the classic recipe.
6. Kentucky Wonder Beans
Kentucky Wonder Beans, also known as old homestead beans, are a type of green bean with a robust flavor and a slightly fibrous texture.
When compared to black-eyed peas, Kentucky Wonder Beans have a more pronounced earthy and nutty taste, while black-eyed peas are milder with a sweet, subtle flavor.
The texture of cooked Kentucky Wonder Beans is somewhat meatier and less creamy than that of black-eyed peas. Despite their distinctive qualities, you can replace black-eyed peas with Kentucky Wonder Beans in a range of meals, notably in casseroles, stews, and salads.
7. Fresh Romano Beans
Often known as Italian flat beans, Romano beans serve as an excellent substitute for black-eyed peas in numerous recipes.
They have a mild flavor, subtly sweet, and a texture that is both tender and satisfyingly crisp when cooked correctly.
When compared to black-eyed peas, these beans hold their shape better during the cooking process, making them more suitable for dishes that require a firmer texture.
Their sweet and mild flavor also makes them a versatile ingredient, able to blend seamlessly into a variety of recipes without overpowering other flavors. Just like other traditional beans, Romano beans can be used in salads, stews, or as a side dish.
8. Pinto Beans
Pinto beans, known for their earthy flavor, can be a great substitute for black-eyed peas in many dishes. Both beans have a similar texture, offering a meaty bite that holds up well in soups, stews, and salads.
Cooked pinto beans have a rich, slightly sweet taste that contrasts the nutty, savory flavor of black-eyed peas. Yet, their earthiness can complement many of the same ingredients.
For those who enjoy Southwest American cuisine, substituting black-eyed peas with pinto beans in traditional dishes like Hoppin’ John can bring a new twist to the table, infusing the meal with a unique blend of flavors that is both familiar and exciting.
9. White Navy Beans
White Navy Beans, with their small, oval shape and mild flavor, can be an excellent alternative to Black Eyed Peas.
They are known for their creamy texture when cooked, which differs from the slightly firmer texture of black-eyed peas.
As for taste, white navy beans have a distinctive nutty taste that is subtly different from the earthy flavor of black-eyed peas yet just as satisfying.
If you need a substitute for black-eyed peas in your recipe, consider using white navy beans. They are versatile and can be used in numerous dishes, including soups, stews, and salads.
10. Fava Beans
Fava beans, alternatively known as broad beans, carry a distinctive taste and texture profile that can be compared to black-eyed peas.
Where black-eyed peas offer a somewhat nutty and earthy flavor, fava beans bring forth a slightly sweet and creamy taste. The texture of cooked fava beans is dense yet buttery, which is comparable to the soft and smooth texture of black-eyed peas when they are well-cooked.
This makes fava beans an excellent substitute for black-eyed peas in various dishes. For instance, a traditional southern dish that typically uses black-eyed peas and ham hocks could easily be reinvented by replacing the peas with fava beans.
11. Southern Pink Lady Peas
Southern Pink Lady Peas, a cherished variety of field peas, offer a unique taste and texture that sets them apart from the more common black-eyed peas.
They have a delicate flavor that is slightly nutty and subtly sweet, a delightful contrast to the earthy and robust taste of black-eyed peas.
Pink Lady Peas are smooth and creamy when cooked, unlike black-eyed peas, which tend to have a firmer bite.
While both varieties can be used interchangeably in many recipes, the Pink Lady Peas’ mild flavor makes them an excellent alternative in dishes like Hoppin’ John or Texas caviar, where they can subtly enhance the overall taste without overpowering the other ingredients.
12. Borlotti Beans
Borlotti beans, with their light brown hue and speckled appearance, offer an excellent substitute for black-eyed peas.
These Italian beans have a slightly sweet, nutty flavor that is similar to, but somewhat richer than, black-eyed peas. The texture of cooked borlotti beans is smooth and creamy, akin to the firm yet tender bite of black-eyed peas.
This makes them a versatile ingredient in many dishes where black-eyed peas are traditionally used. For instance, in Southern-style Hoppin’ John, borlotti beans can easily replace black-eyed peas.
13. Crowder Peas
Crowder peas, a variety of cowpeas like black-eyed peas, are tasty legumes with a very similar flavor to their more recognized cousin.
They possess a hearty and slightly nutty taste that works well in a multitude of dishes, making them a great substitute for black-eyed peas.
When it comes to texture, crowder peas have a denser, meatier feel than black-eyed peas, which tend to be softer and creamier. This difference in texture adds an interesting twist to dishes traditionally made with black-eyed peas, such as Hoppin’ John or Texas caviar.
Can You Substitute Black-Eyed Peas for Chickpeas?
Yes, you can substitute black-eyed peas for chickpeas. While they have slightly different flavors and textures, both are legumes and can be used interchangeably in many recipes. However, the end result may taste slightly different due to these differences.
Can I Substitute Lentils for Black Eye Beas?
Yes, you can substitute lentils for black-eyed peas in most recipes. However, bear in mind that the taste and texture might be slightly different. Lentils generally have a more earthy flavor and softer texture when cooked, while black-eyed peas are sweeter and firmer.
How Do You Put Black-Eyed Peas in the Freezer?
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to best preserve black-eyed peas, including how to freeze black-eyed peas:
- Rinse and Sort: Start by rinsing your black-eyed peas thoroughly under cold water. While rinsing, sort through the peas and remove any that are damaged or discolored.
- Soak: After rinsing, soak the peas in a large bowl of water for at least 6-8 hours or overnight. This technique will soften the peas and reduce the cooking duration.
- Cook: Drain the soaked peas and transfer them to a large pot. Add enough water so that it’s about an inch above the peas. Heat the water until it starts boiling, then slow the heat and allow it to gently simmer until it reaches a tender state.This should take about 1-1.5 hours.
- Cool: Once the peas are cooked, drain them and let them cool completely. It’s important to let them cool before freezing to prevent the formation of ice crystals.
- Portion: Divide the cooled black-eyed peas into portion-sized amounts. This will make it easier to defrost only what you need later.
- Freeze Black-Eyed Peas: Transfer the portioned peas into freezer-safe bags or containers. Make sure to squeeze out any excess air before sealing the bags to prevent freezer burn.
- Label and Store: Lastly, mark your bags or containers with the date and what’s inside, then place them in the freezer for storage. Properly stored, they should maintain the best quality for about 6 months to a year.
What Goes Well With Black-Eyed Peas?
Black-eyed peas are a versatile ingredient that can be paired with many dishes to create a satisfying meal. Here are some dishes and ingredients that go well with black-eyed peas:
- Cuban Mojo Criollo Roast Pork: This rich, garlicky, and citrusy dish complements the earthiness of cooked black-eyed peas.
- Collard Stew: A hearty stew made with collard greens pairs well with black-eyed peas, providing a balance of flavors.
- Cabbage Crumbs: The crunch of cabbage crumbs adds textural contrast to the softness of black-eyed peas.
- Southern Pork: A traditional Southern dish that pairs perfectly with black-eyed peas for a comforting meal.
- Cowboy Caviar: This mixture of beans, bell peppers, fresh corn, and other ingredients provides a flavorful side dish to black-eyed peas.
- Spicy Black-Eyed Peas With Sausage: The spice from the sausage and the creaminess of the black-eyed peas create a delicious combination.
- Tomato Sauce: Cooking black-eyed peas in a rich tomato sauce enhances their flavor and makes a satisfying main or side dish.
Benefits of Black Eyed Peas
Black-eyed peas are a nutritional powerhouse filled with essential nutrients. These legumes are packed with approximately 7 grams of protein per serving, which is vital for muscle growth and repair.
They’re also rich in dietary fiber, with around 6 grams per serving, promoting a healthy digestive system and aiding in weight management.
Despite their low fat and calorie content, they keep you full and satisfied. These black-eyed beans are a good source of vital minerals and vitamins such as Vitamins A, C, B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
In short, black-eyed peas are a versatile, nourishing food choice.
Substitute for Black Eyed Peas
Black-eyed peas have been a staple in many cuisines for centuries. However, various substitutes can be used in their place without sacrificing taste or texture. Otti beans, crowder peas, and lentils are just some of the options available to use as replacements for black-eyed peas.
Knowing how to preserve and freeze black-eyed peas properly can ensure that you always have this nutritious ingredient on hand.
Black peas go well with a variety of dishes and ingredients, making them a versatile addition to any meal. And let’s remember the numerous health benefits they provide, making them an excellent choice for those looking to maintain a balanced and nourishing diet.
The next time you’re preparing a dish with black-eyed peas, keep in mind that there are numerous alternatives and innovative methods to include this tasty legume in your recipes.