Black-eyed peas and collard greens is a smoky, hearty dish that’s filling & warming. This vegan black-eyed peas recipe can be eaten on its own as a one pot meal. Or enjoy it as a side dish with rice, polenta, or grits.
Many people, especially in the South, eat collard greens and black-eyed peas at New Year’s for good luck.
The story goes that eating those foods will bring you wealth in the year ahead. Leafy collard greens represent paper money, and black-eyed peas are coins.
Whether or not you’re superstitious about such things, I think all of us could use some good luck in the current times. So just in case, I’m sharing this recipe for black-eyed peas and collard greens.
Regardless of its magical powers, you’ll feel pretty lucky once it hits your mouth!
This hearty, smoky dish is filling, warming, and cozy. It’s made with plenty of garlic, onions, seitan bacon, hot sauce for a little bit of heat, and liquid smoke.
The seitan bacon & liquid smoke replace some of the non-vegan ingredients that are often used in this type of dish. They add smokiness and bite without harming any piggies in the process.
What is liquid smoke?
Liquid smoke is literally smoke that’s been condensed into a liquid, as the name suggests.
You can find liquid smoke next to barbecue sauces in most grocery stores, as well as chain stores like Target.
Some brands are stronger in potency than others. My preferred choice is Wright’s hickory flavor.
When it comes to liquid smoke, I always recommend starting with a small amount and working up. Like truffle oil or sesame oil, it’s a strong flavor that can overtake a dish if given the opportunity.
So in this recipe, I call for just ¼ teaspoon. If after the dish is finished you’d like even more smoky flavor, you can always add more, but you can’t remove it once it’s there.
Canned or dried black-eyed peas?
This recipe uses canned black-eyed peas. They’re super convenient, because they are ready to just heat and eat.
However, if you’d prefer to make black-eyed peas from dried beans, you can do that. You’ll just need to fully cook them first.
Once they are ready, you’ll need 1 ½ cups of cooked beans for this recipe. (Even though they’re called peas, they are actually beans.)
Step by step instructions
Here’s how to make this recipe at a glance. For complete ingredient amounts & instructions, keep scrolling to the recipe card below.
Bring a pot to a medium heat with oil.
Sauté chopped vegan bacon until it’s brown.
Then remove it from the pot & set aside.
Add a little more oil, plus chopped onions.
Once they are translucent and fragrant, add minced garlic and cook for a couple minutes more.
Add chopped collard greens that have had the center ribs removed, vegetable broth (or water + bouillon), liquid smoke, and a pinch of salt.
Cover, lower heat, and let the greens cook for 20 minutes.
Add black-eyed peas that have been drained, as well as hot sauce. Stir to incorporate and warm for five minutes.
Stir in the browned vegan bacon. Taste for salt & add more, if needed.
Garnish with chopped tomato for color, if you like, as well as a few more splashes of hot sauce, to taste.
Make it your own
You can make this dish your own by varying the ingredients.
Instead of collards, use your favorite bitter green like turnip, Brussels tops (not sprouts), or mustard greens. Or do a combination of half collards/half kale.
If you don’t like spicy food, omit the hot sauce and use apple cider vinegar or lemon juice instead for tang. Start with ½ teaspoon & work up, as desired.
If you don’t like or don’t have access to vegan bacon, you can simply omit it. The liquid smoke offers enough smokiness on its own. Or you can replace it with an equal amount of diced vegan ham, seitan, or veggie sausage.
Not a fan of liquid smoke? Use smoked paprika instead. Start with ¼ teaspoon, and add more as desired.
Black-eyed peas not available where you live? Any bean will do. Red beans or white beans like cannellini would be especially good here.
What to serve with it
You could easily eat black-eyed peas & greens all on their own, straight out of the bowl, as a one pot meal.
Or you could make it a side dish to a larger meal. Here are some good options for dishes to go along with it:
- Creamy polenta, vegan grits, or brown rice
- Vegan fried chicken or chick’n strips
- BBQ Soy Curls
- BBQ jackfruit
- Beer-battered fried green tomatoes with sauce
- Vegan mac & cheese
- Vegan polenta stacks with squash & cashew cream
- Vegan BBQ sandwich
- Buffalo chickpea sandwich
- Cornbread (from Connoisseurus Veg)
How to store
Store any leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator.
It will keep for 3 to 4 days.
Reheat in a pot on the stove or in the microwave.
Black-eyed peas and collard greens
- 2 teaspoons organic canola oil divided
- ⅓ cup chopped vegan bacon
- ½ medium yellow onion chopped
- 4 to 5 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 large bunch collard greens chopped & with ribs removed (about 1 pound)
- ½ cup vegetable broth or water + bouillon
- ¼ teaspoon liquid smoke
- Pinch of salt
- 1 can (15-ounce) black-eyed peas drained (1 ½ cups)
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce plus more to taste
- ¼ cup chopped tomatoes optional garnish
- Bring a medium to large pot to a medium heat with one teaspoon of oil. Add chopped vegan bacon and sauté for two or three minutes, until brown. Remove it from the pot to a small plate & set aside.
- Add the remaining teaspoon of oil, plus chopped onions. Sauté for about three minutes, until translucent and fragrant.
- Add minced garlic and cook for a couple minutes more, stirring frequently.
- Add chopped collard greens, vegetable broth (or ½ cup of water + ¼ teaspoon Better Than Bouillon no chicken flavor), liquid smoke, and a pinch of salt. Cover, turn heat to low, and let the greens cook for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally & make sure that it's not running out of liquid. Add a splash more of broth or water, if it looks dry on the bottom of the pot. Then cover & continue cooking.
- Add canned (or fully cooked) black-eyed peas that have been drained & hot sauce. Stir to incorporate. Bring the heat back up to medium. Allow everything to warm with the beans for five minutes.
- Stir in the browned vegan bacon. Taste for salt & add more, if needed.
- Garnish with chopped tomato for color, if you like, and a few more splashes of hot sauce, to taste.