Southern Black Eyed Peas and Rice

Southern Black Eyed Peas and Rice Recipe

Rice and beans, in one form or another, are the staple nourishment of much of the world's population. We often eat Indian daal (lentils) and rice, which serves the same purpose of providing protein to the diet of the many vegetarians in our home. I'm always looking to add  some variety to my family's diet, and I discovered a new dish on a recent trip to New Orléans.

At least it was new to me. Black-eyed peas and rice is a very common dish in the American South. Prior to trying this dish, my only experience with black-eyed peas was in the Vietnamese dessert called chè đậu trắng. My husband likes black-eyed peas very much, so I made it for him using the same method for making Indian biryani, but with Southern ingredients.


Yields: 10

3 cups long grain white rice, soaked for at least 30 minutes
1 (16-ounce) package dried black eyed peas
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 white onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons garlic, finely minced
1 sprig oregano
1 sprig red thyme
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 (12-ounce) can diced tomatoes with its juice
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, roasted, seeded, finely diced
1 jalapeño, roasted, seeded, finely diced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika powder
1 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/4 cup cilantro , chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground


For the black eyed peas:

Wash and rinse the black eyed peas thoroughly in several water baths (about three times) and set aside for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight. Drain as much water as possible.

In a medium-sized pot, add a tablespoon of oil with the sprigs of thyme and oregano. Add the garlic, half chopped onion and all the spices except the salt and pepper. Cook until the onions are translucent. Add the diced celery and cook for another minute. Add about 3-1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil without covering then lower to medium heat for about 20 minutes. Season with about 3/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Cover the pot with a lid. Cook for another 20-25 minutes on low. All the liquid should be evaporated. Add about 3 tablespoons of cilantro. Discard the sprigs of thyme and oregano. Set aside.


For the sauce:

In another saucepan, heat up the remaining canola oil. Cook the rest of the onions until nicely golden (may take 5-10 minutes). Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, roasted jalapeño and green bell pepper. Cook for about 5-8 minutes.

Let the sauce cool a bit. In a food processor, pulse the mixture into a smooth sauce. Season with salt and pepper.


For the rice:

Fill about 4 quarts of water in another large pot. Bring to a boil. Add the soaked rice. Bring the liquid back to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle boil. That way the rice is cooked all the way through evenly. Cook for about 7-8 minutes at a bubbly simmer. Add 1 teaspoon of salt half-way through the cooking process (it will bring the natural flavor of the red rice and the rice will be more tender). Keep stirring the rice every now and then so that the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pot. It may take longer than the cooking time written on the instructions of the package but the grain of rice should still be firm. Drain the liquid from the rice using a fine mesh colander. Do NOT rinse. Discard the liquid. Set aside.


Assembly time:

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In the same pot used for the black eyed peas, add about 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce. Stir well. Remove and reserve about half the amount of black eyed peas in a plate.

Evem the remaining black eyes peas in the pot. Add 1/3 of the quantity of the rice. Add another generous layer of reserved black eyed peas. Drizzle some soy sauce. Repeat the process above and finish with rice.

Drizzle about 1/2 cup of water to the rice. Seal the pot with an aluminum sheet and cover the pot with a lid. Place on the stove over high heat for about 4-5 minutes. Steam should escape from the pot. Transfer to the oven and bake for about 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven. Let it cool for about 15 minutes, then gently stir the rice using long chopsticks without breaking the grains of rice or mushing the black eyed peas.

Garnish with some fresh cilantro (optional) and serve with the spicy tomato sauce on the side.

Bon appétit!


You can always serve the black eyed pea rice with salsa if you want to save some time on the sauce. You can also serve with some raita.

Black Eyed Pea Rice Recipe

It's important not to cook the rice all the way through as it will finish cooking with the black eyed peas. If you cook the rice too long, it'll get mushy.

If you're not serving immediately, just leave the pot in the oven at 170°F (the lowest setting) until ready to serve.

Black Eyed Peas and Rice recipe

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on August 30, 2009.


A delicious dish! I love black eyed peas! I love comfort food...



Rosa Website Link
[ Posted at 10:53 PM on 8/30/09 | Reply ]
Jackie, this peas and rice combo is one of my all time favourites.

Cynthia Website Link
[ Posted at 5:48 AM on 8/31/09 | Reply ]
[-] Southern Black Eyed Peas and Rice - Guest-Natasha5StarFoodie
The rice with black-eyed peas sounds absolutely delicious! An excellent fusion of flavors!

Natasha - 5 Star Foodie Website Link
[ Posted at 5:53 AM on 8/31/09 | Reply ]
[-] Southern Black Eyed Peas and Rice - Guest-FearlessKitchen
This looks great... I'm not always a big fan of the Southern preparation, but this way looks better to me. Maybe I'll make it for New Years... :)

Fearless Kitchen Website Link
[ Posted at 7:09 AM on 8/31/09 | Reply ]
[-] Southern Black Eyed Peas and Rice - Guest-Jenofa2eatwrite
I love black-eyed peas and never think to make them. This recipe looks absolutely delicious!

Jen of a2eatwrite Website Link
[ Posted at 9:31 AM on 8/31/09 | Reply ]
[-] Love the creativity! - Guest-Alta
Great idea, and I bet this dish was so yummy!

Alta Website Link
[ Posted at 9:33 AM on 8/31/09 | Reply ]
[-] Southern Black Eyed Peas and Rice - Guest-TheDuoDishes566
A classic side dish of course. Black eyed peas are really delicious, and they have a lot of tradition in the Southern and certain holidays. New Southern cuisine has started to use them in really fun ways as well.

The Duo Dishes Website Link
[ Posted at 11:05 AM on 8/31/09 | Reply ]
Oooh, what a delicious southern dish! I bet the spicy tomato sauce gives it amazing flavor!

Faith Website Link
[ Posted at 12:01 PM on 8/31/09 | Reply ]
This looks divine!!!! Wonderful recipe!

As for your question on my blog...not sure if the Shakespeare festival has started? I will check into it and let you know. Where abouts did your friends movie?

Laini Website Link
[ Posted at 3:09 PM on 8/31/09 | Reply ]
[-] Southern Black Eyed Peas and Rice - Guest-AndreaWellnessNotes
I love rice & black beans as well as rice and lentils. I have never made black eyed peas. This dish sounds delicious!

Andrea@WellnessNotes Website Link
[ Posted at 10:22 PM on 8/31/09 | Reply ]
I grew up eating peas and rice and to this day it's the only way I'll eat it. Funny thing I learned in food science is that they each have the amino acid that's missing from the other i.e. rice has what beans doesn't have - so it's a complete meal in every way :-)

Tanya Website Link
[ Posted at 6:22 PM on 9/1/09 | Reply ]
there is just not enough time in the day to try all the wonderful dishes you propose. this looks amazing

OysterCulture Website Link
[ Posted at 12:04 PM on 9/2/09 | Reply ]
Made this this afternoon for dinner - delicious. Paired the tomato sauce with oven roasted chicken... great balanced flavors, comforting textures. Will definitely make again.
[ Posted at 4:09 AM on 10/13/10 | Reply ]

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