Bring a little luck to the New Year with this healthier version of a favorite holiday dish.
Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s day is a cultural tradition meant to bring good fortune in the months to come. It’s interesting to note that black-eyed peas are actually beans. Inexpensive, flavorful and packed with nutrients like iron, magnesium and calcium, black-eyed peas are also high in fiber and protein and low in fat.
In this recipe, reduced-sodium lean ham replaces more traditional smoked meats that are often cooked with the beans and significantly higher in fat. No salt-added chicken broth adds extra flavor while helping to keep the sodium down.
For a vegetarian option, skip the ham and use vegetable broth. If your family likes a little heat, add a healthy pinch of cayenne pepper to the other spices. If not everyone is a fan, skip the cayenne and offer hot sauce when serving for those who would like it.
This simple method of cooking black-eyed peas requires no pre-soaking. Cooking times may vary between slow cookers. Check beans at the six-hour mark. If they are not finished cooking, give them a stir, replace the lid and continue to cook until soft.
- 1 lb dried black-eyed peas
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 6-8oz reduced sodium ham steak, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- Optional: a pinch of cayenne pepper
- 32oz (4 cups) no salt-added chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- Optional: Green onions for garnish
- Brown rice for serving
- Pick through the dried beans and remove any debris or beans that are wrinkled or discolored. Add beans and bay leaf to the slow cooker insert.
- Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add diced ham and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove ham from the pan, leaving the oil behind and add it to the slow cooker.
- Return sauté pan to the burner and add onion, garlic, green pepper and celery. Cook vegetables until beginning to soften, about 6-8 minutes, making sure to scrape up any flavorful browned bits from the bottom of the pan as you stir.
- Add spices to the vegetables and continue to cook for another minute. Add chicken broth and water to the pan and bring the liquid to a simmer. Carefully ladle or pour the simmering liquid over the beans in the slow cooker insert. Stir well, cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Serve hot over brown rice. If desired, garnish with green onions.