Spicy-Smoky Black-Eyed Peas

One dish I hadn’t thought of as a Rosh Hashanah dish? Black-eyed peas. But it turns out that a stew of these creamy legumes with the signature black dot has a long history as a symbol of abundance for Rosh Hashanah, especially in Egypt and Turkey.

In honor of that, I created an updated vegetarian version—completely nonconventional (I’m looking at you, chipotle chile and adobe sauce) but deliciously smoky, spicy, and satisfying. 

Spicy-Smoky Black-Eyed Peas

Traditional flavors of tomatoes, onions, and garlic meet nontraditional smoked salt and chipotle pepper for a spectacular smoky and spicy vegetarian version of black-eyed peas—a symbolic Rosh Hashanah food in some Sephardic Jewish communities. A dollop of labne (optional) nicely unites the flavors and nods to the stew’s Middle Eastern roots. Serve as a side dish, or for a main course, serve over rice or polenta.
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Jewish
Servings 8


  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • Smoked coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 14.5- ounce can no-salt added diced tomatoes with juices, preferably fire-roasted
  • 1 large chipotle chile pepper in adobe sauce, minced, with ½ tablespoon of adobo sauce
  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas, soaked in cold water overnight and drained and rinsed (see note)
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced for garnish (optional)
  • Labne or sour cream (optional)


  • In a large Dutch oven, heat a layer of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and season lightly with smoked salt and black pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and deep golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the vinegar, tomatoes, chipotle chile, ½ tablespoon of reserved adobo sauce, black-eyed peas, 1 1/4 teaspoons smoked salt, and black pepper to taste. Add water to cover by ½ inch.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for about 2 hours until beans are tender, adding water if needed to slightly cover the beans. Remove from heat and taste and adjust seasonings.
  • Garnish servings with a sprinkle of sea salt, and if desired, with scallions and/or a spoonful of labne or sour cream.


Before soaking the black-eyed peas, remove and discard any discolored, shriveled, or broken beans plus any pebbles or other matter. (To soak, put black-eyed peas in a large pot and cover with about 4 inches of cold water. Soak overnight, then drain the water and rinse.)
Keyword black-eye peas, Gluten-Free, Rosh Hashanah, vegetarian


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