A quick and easy meal for busy evenings, this collard greens and black eyed peas recipe is simple to pull together. Making Slow Cooked Black Eyed Peas ahead means dinner is ready in about 30 minutes! This recipe is vegetarian or vegan and easily gluten free. [ recipe VIDEO on recipe card ]
This recipe was first published Jan. 2016 and has been updated with new photography and recipe notes Dec. 2020. The recipe remains unchanged.
Collard Greens and Black Eyed Peas
This recipe is inspired by the new year with hope of taking the hard and challenging lessons 2020 has taught and turning them into something better. I remain hopeful and optimistic, but with no expectations.
Black Eyed Peas are on the menu year round in our home, but especially as we transition into the new year because they’re a tradition and it’s said they good luck!
Black eyed peas with smoky collard and cheesy grits has Southern roots I adore and takes me back to my days growing up in Texas. Ma always made black eyed peas to ring in the new year. However collard greens are a green I discovered later in life.
New to Collard Greens?
They’re a powerhouse of nutrition and are delicious to incorporate into your food rotation. Raw, they’re a sturdy thick green with a texture similar to kale but even heftier. Cooked, they become tender yet still hold their structure.
Collard greens typically call for some sort of meat to flavor them. But for this vegetarian and vegan collard green recipe, I use liquid smoke, garlic and Tamari to bring out their best flavor!
How to Make Vegetarian or Vegan Black Eyed Peas and Collard Greens
With a make ahead option for the black eyed peas, this recipe comes together in about 30 minutes. Here’s how to make the recipe (see recipe card below for full details):
- First, either make the Vegetarian Slow Cooker Back Eyed Peas or prepare with the greens and grits stove top.
- Next, chop, wash and cook the collard greens with a bit of veggie broth, garlic, Tamari and liquid smoke.
- Last, cook the grits finishing them with cheese, or for vegan grits, nutritional yeast (optional).
Share with jalapeños and/or Bourbon BBQ Sauce for a sweet and spicy finish!
A Few Recipe Notes
- Slow Cooked Black Eyed Peas can be made the day of or the day prior to when they are needed for quicker prep. If not making the black eyed peas ahead, the recipe comes together in about an hour.
- Grits or Polenta (or Both?!): I grew up eating white hominy corn grits (often quick cook). They’re hard to find and I’ve read that some are bleached to obtain the white color. I opt for Bob’s Red Mill corn grits, also known as polenta. However, other brands labeled as Polenta can be used instead with delicious results, although polenta does take longer to cook. If using polenta instead of grits, cook as indicated on the package rather than the shorter time indicated in the recipe.
- Easily Vegan: For this recipe, the black eyed peas and collard greens are vegan. The grits call for either cheese or nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is somewhat of an acquired taste, so if it’s not preferred as a dairy free option, leave it out and enjoy with your favorite vegan cheese or season the grits with additional salt to taste.
I love reading your takes on this recipe! Thank you for sharing your tips and adaptations. Here are a few maker’s notes:
- Christina said: “I made the BEP in the instant pot. I had 2 cups of peas and used 6 c of water 17 mins on high pressure with a 30 min NPR. Turned out great!”
- Joan commented: “I cooked my collards a bit longer as hubby likes his softer. I love tomatoes with black eyed peas and corn bread with collards so we added those to our meal. I didn’t use the optional BBQ sauce. I used your slow cooker recipe to cook the BEP.”
- DJ said: “I made this with vegan cheese. It was perfect!”
More Black Eyed Pea Recipes to Love
- Black Eyed Pea Sweet Potato Cornbread Pot Pie
- Harissa Stewed Black Eyed Peas with Okra and Collard Greens
- Cajun Stewed Black Eyed Peas with Okra and Greens
- BBQ Black Eyed Peas Collard Rolls
- Hoppin John Stew
Black Eyed Peas with Smoky Collards and Cheesy Grits Recipe
For the Black Eyed Peas:
- 2 1/2 C (670g) Slow Cooked Black Eyed Peas*
- 1 C (165g) Dry Black Eyed Peas soaked overnight, rinsed.
- 2 C (472g) Vegetable Broth
- 1 C (210g) Yellow Onion small dice, about one onion
- 1 C (150g) Green Bell Pepper small dice, about one or a mix of green and red
- 2 Cloves of Garlic
- 1 Bayleaf
- 1 tsp Vegan Worcestershire Sauce gluten free if needed
- 1/2 tsp Liquid Smoke
- A few dashes of Tabasco optional but recommended!
For the Collard Greens:
- 1/2 C (130g) Vegetable Broth
- 1/2 tsp Liquid Smoke
- 1/2 tsp Tamari
- 4 Cloves of Garlic minced
- 1 lb (565g) Collard Greens cut into ribbons and washed thoroughly
- 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes optional but recommended!
For the Grits:
- 3 C (710g) Water
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
- 1 C (150g) White or Yellow Corn Grits**
- 1/2 C (50g) Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese shredded, OR 1 1/2 TBS Nutritional Yeast*** for dairy free
- Serve with Fresh Sliced Jalapeños
- Smoky Bourbon Homemade BBQ Sauce (optional)
- If using Slow Cooked Black Eyed Peas, skip #2 and move right into cooking the collards.
- In a medium saucepot, add the soaked black eyed peas, vegetable broth, onion, bell pepper, garlic, bayleaf, and optional tabasco. Bring to a boil, turn down to low or to a low simmer and cook for 45 minutes to one hour, uncovered. The peas should be tender with just a slight tooth, not mushy. Add the worcestershire, and liquid smoke. Taste for seasoning adjustment.
For the Collard Greens:
- In a large stockpot, bring the broth, liquid smoke, tamari sauce, and garlic to a boil. Add the collard greens, stir thoroughly using tongs, lid the pot and cook on med-low for between 10-15 minutes. Stir the greens at least twice while they cook down and become tender. Their color will darken a bit too. Add the apple cider vinegar and pinch of red pepper flakes. Taste for seasoning adjustment (add salt if needed).
For the Grits:
- In a medium saucepot bring water and salt to a boil. Turn down to low and whisk in the grits. Cook on low, covered, for 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste. Stir in the cheese OR the nutritional yeast***. Grits can dry out pretty quick, so if needed, add a TBS of water at a time and stir after they're done cooking. Lid to keep warm.
- To an individual serving bowl, add the peas, greens and grits arranged separately. Serve with jalapeños and/or tabasco and plenty of BBQ sauce for slathering
- Store in individual lidded containers, refrigerated for up to two days.
I just made this last night so I have a comment about the collard greens. After 15 minutes of cooking they were slightly tough and bitter. The addition of apple cider vinegar made them even more bitter. I looked at a different collard green recipe and they say to cook them for almost an hour and to add lemon juice to lessen the bitter taste.. the grits and peas were delicious but I think the collard greens need tweaking next time I make this. I will try cooking them a lot longer.
Hi Jade! Thank you for your note. Collards can be bitter depending on when and how they’re grown. Large older leaves can be quite bitter and tough, whereas younger smaller leaves tend to be more tender without bitterness, and so tasty. Collards are at their peak, and best tasting, during winter and early spring after they’ve been frost ‘kissed.’ Cooking the collards longer will result in a softer tooth, so tasting/cooking to preference is a good idea. Whatever acid you use whether it’s lemon/cider vinegar/white vinegar will have the same effect when using in small quantities – like in this recipe. It’s not used for flavor here, rather acid competes with bitter flavor compounds in foods, reducing the taste of bitterness and brightening other ingredients in the recipe. But if the greens are already very bitter, I’m not sure an acid is going to fix it. I hope this helps, Jade! Let us know if you try the collards again, and how they cook up for you!
Since finding this recipe, it has become almost a weekly staple! Easily modified to make vegan, and so, so tasty. I’ve got the entire family eating black eyed peas!
Hooray, HOORAY! SO happy to hear you and fam are enjoying the BEPs! Thank you for your note, Rachel!
I have made and eaten black-eyed peas for New Year’s for over 50 years, and this is the best recipe I’ve ever found!! It was amazing, and I’m not reserving it for once a year!
I have never had BEP and collards before. This recipe was delicious. I made the BEP in the instant pot. I had 2 cups of peas and used 6 c of water 17 mins on high pressure with a 30 min NPR. Turned out great!
Hi Christina! SO happy to hear you’re enjoying the BEP…. thank you for your note, giving the recipe a go and sharing your tips about making the BEP in the IP! Aren’t collards soooo delish!?
Made this tonight for supper and it was so delicious. Only things I did different was to use stone ground grits so I had a longer cooking tim. I also cooked my collards a bit longer as hubby likes his softer. I love tomatoes with black eyed pease and corn bread with collards so we added those to our meal. I didn’t use the optional BBQ sauce. I used your slow cooker recipe to cook the BEP. Thank you for helping me make a delicious fall supper.
Hi Joan! Thank you for your note and giving the recipe a go. SO happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe and adjusted as needed. I’ll look for stone ground grits! They sound delicious!
I made this with vegan cheese. It was perfect!
Hooray! Thank you for your note, Dj and giving the recipe a go :D
It’s still little bit cold here where I am (Monterey, California). I have not heard from You for a couple of weeks now… But Your Wild Rice Mushroom Soup looks good. I also make this soup with Barley and Nutritional Yeast (for more taste). I cook wild rice twice a week and eat it just like white and brown rice… Good 2 Hear From You… Nathan
Katherine | Love In My Oven
This looks wonderful, Traci. So hearty and healthy. Those cheesy grits, yum! I need a break from all of the sweets and this has to happen soon!
Hi Katherine! LMK if you give the recipe a go! Those cheesy grits are so yum!
I’ve just discovered your blog and I’m so excited that you’re a West Aussie like me!
Your recipes are so filled with love and nurturing aND as a new vegetarian and absolute godsend. Thank you!
I feel like a bit of a nerd about collard greens. Where would I find them? Do they have a different name here?
Oh no! I just realized that WA means Washington! Not Western Australia! Double nerd!
Hehe… no worries, Amber! I’m so happy you made it here! Welcome! Thank you for your kind words too. I hope you enjoy the recipes! Collards… I get mine from our local co-op or farm. Many grocery stores carry them too. They’re so good this time of year, because like kale, the cold sweetens them up. They are soooo good for you too! I don’t know if they have a different name.. I’ve never heard them called anything else. I hope you’re able to find them. Ask your produce person at the store or if you have a farmers market, someone there should know! I hope this helps! :D
Thank you Shelby!
So Beautiful! Seems entrancing for sure.
Also yum! But my ability to make grits is sub-par, usually ends up with gooey, overcooked glop.
Thank you Diana! I think with grits, it’s a texture, consistency thing. I find people either love em or not so much. They can get/be gooey, but I find that can be adjusted to taste with the addition of more water, and/or leaving the lid on while cooking. I hope this helps! Also, you can always use polenta if that is preferred. I’ve made this dish with both and love them the same!
Annie @ Natural Sweet Recipes
This looks so beautiful! I’m always on the lookout for unique/new vegetarian dishes. This one looks healthful and delicious!
Hooray! Thank you Annie! :D