You have heard that ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’. Well, this yummy soup was a brainchild of a recent severe rainstorm, on a day we lost power for 4 or 5 hours due to heavy rain and high winds. Our lights came back on around 6:30pm so I went around blowing out candles and then had to come up with something for dinner, now that I had no excuse not to cook. I found a bag of frozen black eyed peas and a few veggies in my refrigerator. Threw in a few canned items from my pantry and I ended up with a big pot of some pretty tasty hot soup. I didn’t take any photos because I didn’t think those humble ingredients would amount to much. Boy was I wrong! The fire roasted tomatoes and peppers combined with cumin and enriched with a splash of Worcestershire sauce (or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos) add a savory and slightly spicy backdrop for the veggies. Luckily for my family, I had to make it again just to take photos – such a hardship…
Black eyed peas are not peas (which are actually seeds in a pod). They are legumes (beans) and the seed we eat is called a pulse. There you go, that was the vocabulary lesson for the day. Black Eyed Peas are a good source of protein (at 6.7 grams per half cup), fiber and a host of vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc, potassium, Vitamin A and Folate. They are also low in fat and have zero cholesterol, making them an ideal food. They also have a mild flavor and firm texture which makes them a popular choice in soups and stews.
Frozen black eyed peas are just fresh peas that have been frozen with no additives, so they are my preference if you can find them. Occasionally, I am lucky enough to find them fresh in the produce section and consider it a great find. For those that live in areas where you can’t get good fresh produce year around, I recommend stocking your freezer with fresh frozen beans, dark leafy greens and pre-cut veggies. You won’t regret it, especially on nights where you are searching the kitchen for dinner ideas. Add whatever veggies you have on hand. I used kale, zucchini, carrots and celery.
TIPS: If you are using canned black eyed peas, drain and rinse them before adding them to the soup. Just in case you’re wondering about that slimy liquid with them in the can, it is mostly water and salt and/or calcium chloride (both of which are preservatives ) along with natural starch given off by the beans. Some recipes call for the starchy liquid to thicken dishes but I usually rinse because I don’t care for the texture or the flavor which is sometimes metallic from being in the can. Those watching sodium in their diets will also benefit from rinsing the extra salt from the beans.
If you are using dried beans, I would recommend soaking one and a half cups of them overnight in cold water. Drain and follow the recipe but increase cooking time to about an hour, or until beans are soft.
SPICY BLACK EYED PEA SOUP
- 32 oz bag frozen black eyed peas (or 2 14 oz cans)
- 1 Tbsn olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, scrubbed and chopped
- 1 large stalk celery, trimmed and chopped
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 1 16 oz can fire roasted chopped tomatoes
- 1-2 4 oz can fire roasted green peppers
- 1-2 tsp cumin
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1-2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce or liquid aminos (GF)
- 1 small zucchini, chopped
- 1 cup lacinato kale, stems removed and thinly sliced
- Saute onion, carrots and celery in olive oil until softened (about 5 minutes)
- Pour in vegetable broth and add all remaining ingredients, except zucchini and kale. I recommend adding 1 can of peppers, 1 teaspoon cumin and 1 teaspoon of your chosen sauce to begin. Simmer about 30 minutes. Add more broth or water, if necessary.
- Taste broth and add cumin, soy sauce, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste. If you want more zing, add another can of fire roasted peppers. Stir in zucchini and kale and cook another 5 minutes.
- Serve with crusty bread or a fresh green salad.
Spicy Black Eyed Pea Soup