A quick and easy meal for those busy evenings, this collard greens and black eyed peas recipe is simple to pull together. Slow cooking the black eyed peas ahead means dinner is ready in about 30 minutes! This recipe is vegetarian or vegan and easily gluten free.
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 for the New Year
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 black eyed peas ahead in a slow cooker 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 homemade 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 season the grits with additional salt to taste.
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
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:
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.