Start the New Year Off Right and Eat Black-Eyed Peas

Black eyed peas in a white spoon. Close-up on sack background.

I’ll give you four good reasons to eat black eyed-peas on New Year’s Day — nutrition, versatility, tradition, and luck!

Let’s start with nutrition. If you’re determined to eat healthier in 2017, you can’t go wrong with the black-eyed pea. Also known as the cowpea, the black-eyed pea is an excellent source of iron, potassium and soluble fiber; it also provides a healthy dose of low fat, plant-based protein. A one-cup serving contains 12 grams of fiber, 14 grams of protein and only 1 gram of fat.

The budget-friendly pea, which is named for its distinctive black spot, can be used in everything from soups to salads to party dips.

Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Hamburger and Kale

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Serves: 4-6

Ingredients
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 2 cups beef stock or broth, low sodium or unsalted
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Brown the ground beef and onion in a large pot until the meat is no longer pink. Drain off any fat.
  2. Add the garlic and carrot and cook for one minute.
  3. Add the beef broth, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the kale, tomatoes, black-eyed peas, corn, and seasonings. Cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.

Eating black-eyed peas on the first day of January is a Southern tradition that dates back to the Civil War era. Traditionalists serve Hoppin’ John, a spicy stew made with ham hocks, to promote luck and prosperity in the New Year.

Dried black-eyed peas need to be soaked overnight, so plan ahead, or use the canned variety and throw together this easy-to-make Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Hamburger and Kale instead.

Have you resolved to make 2017 your healthiest year yet? —Karen

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