Black-Eyed Peas Recipe

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If you’re looking for a black eyed peas recipe, this is one to try! Also known as “Texas caviar”, this recipe is a New Year’s tradition in the South. While we’re not from the South, we’ve always treated it like a dip, and put it out with a big bowl of tortilla chips, while we’re watching the New Year’s Day bowl games. It’s also a delicious side dish, and can slide in right next to all your BBQ dishes.

Black eyed peas in white bowl.

While there’s a fair bit of dicing, once all the prep work is done, just toss everything into a bowl and chill for an hour or two. About 30 years ago we received a holiday gift of black eyed peas and the recipe to make Texas caviar, It was so good, I searched for a recipe to recreate it every year. This recipe is slightly adapted from Emeril Lagasse. It’s also one of the first recipes on my website. (This post was originally published on January 1st, 2012)

top shot black eyed peas.

History of black-eyed peas

There’s more to the Southern tradition of black eyed peas on New Year’s than meets the eye, (pun intended!). For more background on this unique Southern custom, I consulted the Fayette County News based in Fayetteville, Georgia. Adrian Miller, a food historian, writes that black eyed peas are just one part of the this tradition of good fortune. While black eyed peas symbolize coins, collard greens, because they are green, represent paper money, and cornbread represents gold.

black eyed peas with chips.

According to food historian, Alexandra Foster, the tradition of serving black eyed peas dates back to the Civil War. Legend has it if you eat 365 black eyed peas on New Years Day, you’ll have good luck for each day of the year!  Whatever the history, this black-eyed pea recipe is a delicious way to welcome in the new year! They’re also served for the Jewish new year, or Rosh Hashanah, also as a symbol of good luck. Read about the connection between Jewish Sephardic dishes and African-American dishes here.

Canned or dried?

While you can certainly make them from scratch using dried peas and a smoked ham hock, this black-peas recipe uses canned or pre-cooked peas. It takes less than 20 minutes to chop all the veggies and toss it together. But if you’d like to make black eyed peas from scratch, try this recipe for instant pot black-eyed peas. Homemade peas are often cooked with bacon fat or a ham bone, like these Southern-style black-eyed peas. If you use vegetarian canned black-eyed peas, this recipe also works for vegans. 

Ingredients for this black-eyed peas recipe

ingredients for texas caviar.

This recipe will make enough for a side dish. The recipe can easily be doubled (or halved), if you choose to use it as Texas caviar dip. 

  • 3 cups cooked black-eyed peas or 2 15 ounce cans (rinse the beans if using canned)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced small (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1/2 green bell pepper diced small (about 2/3)

Or use a combination of small sweet peppers to add up to 1 1/3 cup. I like this option because it’s less waste and offers a variety of pretty colors.

peppers chopped on cutting board.
  • 1 small jalapeno minced
  • 3 green onions finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
green onions and cilantro on cutting board.

lemon juice, vinegar and olive oil.
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme, chopped (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground oregano
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste.
garlic, seasoning and herbs.

What to serve with Texas caviar or black-eyed peas

We serve Texas caviar on New Year’s Eve, or New Year’s Day as a part of our Game Day dishes with tortilla chips, along with Salsa Fresca and Guacamole. We also serve White Chicken ChiliBuffalo Wingsand Margaritas to round out our New Year’s Day menu.

How to make Texas caviar

This is such an easy recipe, that the most time consuming part is chopping all the peppers. First, let’s talk peppers! I love buying bags of small sweet peppers for recipes like this rather than large bell peppers. Instead of using 1/2 of each color, I use a couple of the tiny peppers. The small peppers are also nice on a vegetable platter with Goat Cheese Dip. They make a beautiful “confetti” when diced very finely in this Spicy Confetti Shrimp recipe.

  • ​Rinse black-eyed peas if using canned.
  • Dice sweet bell peppers, Use all one color or a variety of colors. About 2/3 cup total diced sweet peppers. Dice jalapeno. Chop green onions. Chop cilantro, fresh thyme and garlic cloves.
  • Measure out lemon juice, olive oil and red wine vinegar.
  • Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Check seasoning.
mixing all the ingredients for texas caviar.
  • Chill for an hour so flavors can meld. Adjust seasoing, adding more lemon juice, salt, pepper or olive oil if desired. Serve as a cold side dish or as a dip with tortilla chips.

​Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for several days. 

top shot black eyed peas.

Black Eyed Peas Recipe

This black eyed peas peas recipe is also known as Texas caviar. It's a southern classic served on New Year's Day for luck. Serves 12 as a dip or 6 as a side dish.
4.96 from 24 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 270 kcal


  • 3 cups black eyed peas cooked or (2 15 ounce cans, drained)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1/2 green bell pepper diced (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1 small jalapeno minced
  • 3 green onions finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • juice of half of lemon or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste.


  • Mix everything together. Season to taste. It tastes better if it’s chilled for several hours before serving to let the flavors meld together. You can serve it as a side dish or with tortilla chips.


  • Use a combination of colorful peppers.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 270kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 7gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gSodium: 7mgPotassium: 317mgFiber: 6gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 544IUVitamin C: 26mgCalcium: 32mgIron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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  6. 4 stars
    This is quite an interesting recipe. I thought there could be no delicious recipe combining black-eyed peas. But I have got to say, you have really opened my eyes.

  7. 5 stars
    I love this recipe year round!
    In summer I add chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and chopped basil and parsley. I make it early in the morning and will eat it as a salad as my main meal! It’s nice and easy to make and I don’t even have to heat a pot or KETTLE!!!

    Thanks for all the good recipes!

4.96 from 24 votes (22 ratings without comment)

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