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. The recipe came about as part of my article “For a New Year, New Traditions” for Jewish Food Experience, where you can also discover new foods and symbols to add meaning and fun to your celebrations.


Spicy-Smoky Black-Eyed Peas

Prep Time:

Cook Time:

Yield: About 8 cups, or 8 side-dish servings (Pareve without the labne)

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.


  • 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*
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced for garnish (optional)
  • Labne or sour cream (optional)


  1. 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.
  2. 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.)




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.