It is quick, easy, and inexpensive to make vegan black-eyed peas in the Instant Pot. This recipe is perfect as a side and is easy to double and freeze! No soaking is required.
Black-eyed peas, AKA cowpeas, are very popular on New Year's Eve because they are said to bring good luck in the new year, especially when eaten with collard greens!
My recipe for vegan Instant Pot collard greens is a reader favorite, so what better recipe to pair it with than Instant Pot black-eyed peas?
Making black-eyed peas from dry is pretty quick and easy in the Instant Pot. I add Cajun seasoning, bell pepper, and a few other simple ingredients to create extra flavorful black-eyed peas that stand out without any meat.
- Quick & easy: Making black-eyed peas in the Instant Pot is quick, easy, and inexpensive.
- Flavorful without meat: While classic black-eyed peas use ham hock or bacon for much of their flavor, this vegan version relies on Cajun seasonings, onion, peppers, and good ole' salt and pepper.
- Easy to customize: Adjust seasonings to taste for extra spice or smokiness. You can also double this recipe and it is easy to freeze.
- Plant-based protein: While black-eyed peas are most often enjoyed on New Years, they are also a great plant-based protein option at meals year-round. Use Instant Pot black-eyed peas anywhere you would serve black beans or even chickpeas.
About black-eyed peas
Before we jump into how to cook black-eyed peas, they have an important history to consider.
Black eyed-peas are closely connected with the African diaspora and the American South. Originally cultivated in Africa 5000 years ago and seen commonly in West African cuisine, black-eyed peas were brought to the United States by enslaved Africans several hundred years ago.
They have a rich and complex history and are much more than just an ingredient. Learn more in this article about The True Story of New Year's Lucky Foods.
Nutritionally, black-eyed peas are a good source of protein and non-heme iron, which is the kind of iron provided by plants.
Beans and greens go well together in flavor and tradition, but did you know that the Vitamin C in collard greens actually helps increase the absorption of non-heme iron in black-eyed peas? There are so many reasons to enjoy these two ingredients together!
In short, black-eyed peas are a healthy and inexpensive way to add fiber, protein, and iron to your diet.
- Dry black-eyed peas: This recipe does not work with fresh, frozen, or canned black-eyed peas.
- Bell pepper and yellow onion create a flavorful base. You can also use white onion, or even red onion in a pinch. Yellow or red bell pepper can be used for a sweeter result.
- Cajun seasoning adds a medley of flavors like thyme and paprika. If using a Cajun seasoning that contains salt, I recommend salting the black-eyed peas to taste.
- Vegetable broth: While black-eyed peas can be cooked in water instead of broth, the addition of a flavorful vegetable broth really takes this dish to the next level. I love using Better than Bouillon vegetable base here.
- Cook time: The older your beans are, the longer they will take to cook. If your black-eyed peas aren't done after 25 minutes on high pressure, cook on high pressure for an additional 2-3 minutes. When the time is up you can do a quick pressure release (careful! hot steam will come out).
- To double the recipe: Double all ingredients, including the liquid. Cook for the same amount of time. You can even triple this recipe if your Instant Pot is big enough.
- For a smokey flavor: Want that classic smokey flavor? Smoked paprika is already included in the recipe, but you can also add ¼ teaspoon liquid smoke. I left it out of the recipe because I personally do not like the flavor of liquid smoke, but I know that many do!
No, black-eyed peas do not need to be soaked. Unlike kidney beans or black beans, they cook quickly without soaking.
I don't recommend using frozen or canned peas because they cook so quickly and don't require nearly as much liquid in the Instant Pot.
Yes, but it will take longer. Bring everything to a boil in a large stockpot. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer. Simmer until tender, about 1-2 hours. Start testing the peas around 45 minutes and adjust cook time as needed.
Storage and freezing
- Leftovers: Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
- Reheating: Reheat individual servings in the microwave or on the stovetop. If reheating on the stovetop, add a splash of water and cover the dish. Reheat over medium heat, stirring as needed until warmed through.
- Freezing: Let leftover black-eyed peas cool to room temperature before freezing. Freeze in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the fridge or cover and reheat over medium heat with a splash of vegetable broth.
- For a traditional Southern-style meal: Pair with Vegan Collard Greens (you can make these on the stove or Instant Pot) and my favorite panko tofu nuggets and vegan macaroni and cheese.
- Bowls: Use in place of canned or frozen black-eyed peas in black-eyed pea veggie bowls.
- Jambalaya: I also love adding these to vegan jambalaya for extra protein.
- Soup: Make a Southern produce-inspired soup with this black-eyed pea and sweet potato stew.
- Hummus: For a less traditional appetizer, try using black-eyed peas instead of chickpeas in this black-eyed pea hummus.
- Add a serving of black-eyed peas to any dish that needs extra protein.
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Vegan Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas
- Select "saute" mode on your Instant Pot and adjust timer to 7 minutes. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once hot, add diced onions and bell pepper. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally for even cooking.
- Add garlic and optional jalapeno. Saute until garlic is lightly browned, about 1 minute.
- Add Cajun seasoning, salt, smoked paprika, black pepper, black-eyed peas and vegetable broth. Stir to combine.
- Lock Instant Pot lid in place and set vent to "sealing". Select "high pressure". Adjust timer to 25 minutes. It will take 10-15 minutes for the pot to come to pressure.
- When the 25 minutes timer is up allow pressure to release naturally. This will take about 15 minutes.
- When all pressure is released (the silver float valve will drop), remove Instant Pot lid and taste for salt, Cajun seasoning and pepper. Enjoy!