Increase Your Luck with Kale and Black-Eyed Pea Stew

Increase Your Luck with Kale and Black-Eyed Pea Stew

Black-eyed_pea_pods_on_plant_in_Hong_KongFor years my mother insisted on feeding my father and I black-eyed peas on New Years Day, promoting the Southern folklore that they bring good luck for the year ahead.  This belief dates back to the Civil War, when black-eyed peas were planted for livestock and then later a staple food for slaves in the South.  When Union Army leader,General Sherman invaded the Confederate’s land, his troops completely ignored black-eyed peas and instead stole and destroyed other crops, thus giving the humble and nutritious black-eyed pea an important role as a major food source for the surviving Confederates.  While the belief that black-eyed peas can bring good luck stands on strong historical ground, my mother never found a great way to serve them and typically tossed some ketchup on a plate of these beans.  Needless to say, this experience turned me away from black-eyed peas into my adulthood, until very recently.

It turns out black-eyed peas, which aren’t actually peas at all, but rather a bean and a member of the legume family, are packed with nutrients.  Black-eyed peas contain calcium (41 mg), protein (13.22 g), fiber (11.1 g) and vitamin A (26 IU), among other nutrients, all for less than 200 Calories, in a 171-g, one-cup serving.   Since these are so good for you, surely there are  good recipes out there that make eating them an enjoyable experience.  Recently, I tried Julie Mooris’s Kale and Black-Eyed Pea Stew recipe from her new Superfood Kitchen book and I have to thank her for sharing this, because it’s changed my entire perspective on these beans and are now loving them!  I’d like to take the opportunity to share this delicious, savory and smoky tasting stew with you.  In addition to the powerful nutritious punch coming from the black-eyed peas, kale, coconut oil and other vegetables in this dish, the addition of smoked paprika and chipotle powder add an impressive depth to the stew. Plus, there are 5 superfood ingredients in this dish.  Can you guess which ones they are!?


Kale and Black-Eyed Pea Stew


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 cups white onions, diced (about 1 medium onion)
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle powered
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons wakame flakes, ground/crushed into fine pieces
  • 3 cups cooked black-eyed peas
  • 1 head kale, stems discarded and leaves chopped
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
  • sea salt to taste
  • optional: 1 cup diced smoked tofu (add when you add the black-eyed peas)


In a large pot, melt the coconut oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the celery and bell pepper and cook for a few minutes longer.  Stir in the herbs and spices, cooking for about 30 seconds.  Add the vegetable broth, water, wakame flakes, black-eyed peas, and a pinch of sea salt.  Bring to a gentle simmer, and cook uncovered for 30 minutes, adding more water if needed.  Taste, and adjust salt if desired.  After the soup is fully cooked through, stir in the kale and keep over the heat for a minute longer – just enough to wilt the kale.  Add the lemon juice and turn off the heat.  Top with parsley and serve.