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New Year’s Day Black Eyed Peas Soup

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New Year’s Day Black-Eyed Peas Soup, hearty comfort food with ancient traditions, is packed with vegetables, robust in flavor and offers a healthy start to the new year.

Top view of brown and white bowl of Black Eyed Peas Soup

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While we think of New Year’s Day soup as a southern, comfort food tradition, eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Day has ancient roots.

“According to a portion of the Talmud written around 500 A.D., it was Jewish custom at the time to eat black-eyed peas in celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.”

The tradition may have arrived with the Sephardic Jews arriving in Georgia in the late 1730s.

Jewish Immigration in America

A Healthy Start for a New Year

Black Eyed Peas: SF Gate says “Just 1 cup delivers 20 percent of the daily value of magnesium, calcium, and iron, and that’s just the beginning of the nutrition black-eyed peas provide.”

Collards: The Washingtonian says collards are low in calories (35 calories per 1/2 cup of cooked greens) and are rich in folate, calcium, dietary fiber, and vitamins E, A, K, and C.

“Thanks to their many nutrients, collard greens have been associated with cancer prevention, detox support, anti-inflammatory properties, heart health, and digestive support.”

For more healthy recipes to begin the year, New Year Healthy Recipes and Tips to Welcome a New Season is a great resource!

Uncooked Black Eyed Peas in a Pot

Legend of New Year’s Day Black Eyed Peas Soup

Long a tradition in the South, it’s been said that New Year’s Day Black Eyed Peas Soup will bring good luck, health, and prosperity in the coming year.

It’s also been said that consuming these legumes demonstrate humility and a lack of vanity. “The humble nature of the black-eyed pea is echoed by the old expression, ‘Eat poor on New Year’s, and eat fat the rest of the year.’

Top View of Black Eyed Peas Soup in Bowls

Still, others say these dried beans resemble coins. Others say that because the peas expand during cooking, it symbolizes expanding wealth. 

I’m not sure about luck or prosperity, but how can you go wrong with delicious black-eyed peas and collards or other greens?

Ingredients for New Year’s Day Black Eyed Peas Soup

Specific ingredient measurements are listed in the recipe card at the bottom of this post. Here’s what you’ll need to make this soup:

  • Frozen black-eyed peas (or 1lb dry beans, soaked)
  • Bacon
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Canned tomatoes with green chilis
  • Chicken broth
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh greens (spinach, kale, collards)
  • Parsley and bacon for garnish

Black Eyed Peas

In this recipe, I’m using frozen black-eyed peas found in the freezer section of most markets. However, if you want to use dried beans or canned beans, there are instructions in the recipe card below. 

I like frozen peas because it cuts the cooking time in half.


While collards are the traditional green used in comfort food soup, you can easily substitute fresh spinach or kale too.


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Side view of Black Eyed Peas Soup
Top view of brown and white bowl of Black Eyed Peas Soup

New Year's Day Black Eyed Peas Soup

Yield: 10 to 12 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

For a healthy New Year's start, this New Year's Day Black-Eyed Peas Soup is a hearty soup with ancient traditions, packed with vegetables and flavor.


  • 24 ounces of frozen black-eyed peas (or 1lb dry beans, soaked)
  • ½ pound slab of lean bacon, cut into 1/4-inch cubes, about 2 cups
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery (about 4 stalks)
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomatoes with green chilis
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups chopped fresh greens (spinach, kale, collards)
  • fresh chopped parsley for garnish and crumbled bacon


  1. Put the bacon in a heavy kettle and cook, stirring, until browned. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the fat. Add the chopped onion, celery, and carrots; cook, stirring, until softened.
  2. Add the frozen peas (or soaked beans), broth, water, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer for about 40 minutes to 1 hour, or until the peas are soft.
  3. Stir in additional water as needed for soup consistency and return to a boil. Then add the chopped fresh greens and cook until wilted and soft, time will depend on which greens you add. Spinach cooks quickly. Serve garnished with fresh chopped parsley and cooked, crumbled bacon.


If Using Dried Black Eyed Peas: Use 2 lbs of dried peas, rinsed and drained. Add to the pot with the broth, seasoning, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer about 1 hour. Then add 6 cups of water, return to a boil, and simmer for another hour, or until the peas are soft. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Total cooking time should be 2 1/2 hours or longer.

If Using Frozen Black Eyed Peas: Use 2 12-ounce bags of frozen peas. Add the frozen peas to the pot along with the broth, seasoning, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer about 45 minutes. Remove the cover and add water as needed for consistency along with chopped spinach. Heat through and serve.

For Canned Black Eyed Peas: Use 3 to 4 cans of drained and rinsed black eyed peas. Add to the pot with the broth, seasoning, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook until the vegetables are soft; about 15 to 20 minutes. Add the water as necessary for consistency. Just before serving, add the spinach and cook until wilted.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 278Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 1056mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 6gSugar: 5gProtein: 19g

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