Black eyed peas are a traditional food served on New Year’s Day in Southern States. Eating black eyed peas on January 1st is thought to bring good luck and a prosperous future. You may have also heard of the hip hop band, The Black Eyed Peas, who will entertain during the upcoming Super Bowl XIV halftime show, as well as the New Years Eve Celebration in Times Square.
When it comes to edible black eyed peas, they are a legume which works well in many dishes, especially soups. They provide protein and soluble fiber (helpful with cholesterol reduction). Black eyed peas are one of many legumes considered a foundation of the Mediterranean Diet – a heart healthy eating approach.
Black Eyed Peas & Cilantro Soup
Ingredients:6 oz. (1 c.) black eyed peas or 2 – 16 oz. cans 1 T. olive oil 2 onions, chopped ½ c. celery, minced 4 garlic cloves, chopped 1 med. jalapeno, chopped 1 t. ground cumin ¼ t. ground cardamom 8 oz. fresh or canned tomatoes, diced 2 ½ c. beef, poultry or vegetable stock 1 oz. fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped or parsley Juice of ½ lemon Feta cheese crumbles for garnish Pita bread
If using dried beans, rinse beans and place in a pan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil; Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 2 hrs. Drain the beans, return to the pan, cover with fresh cold water, then simmer for 35-40 minutes or until the beans are tender. Drain and set aside. Heat the oil in a pan, add onions, garlic and jalapenos and cook for 5 minutes or until onion is soft. Add the cumin, cardamom, tomatoes, and stock plus half of the cilantro. Add the beans and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice plus remaining cilantro. Sprinkle with feta cheese and serve with pita bread.
Have a happy, healthy and bountiful new year!