This is one of those recipes that just comes together so beautifully and tastes so good! It is common practice to cook beans and greens together, not only in the Mediterranean but in many parts of the world. And what a delicious and healthy combination it is! Black-eyed peas and spinach, stewed together with tomato sauce, bright red pepper and carrots, resulting in a thick and rich stew.
How to Stew Beans Correctly
One of the most important aspects of cooking beans in the Greek kitchen, is getting them thick. For stews you don’t want a bean that has a “bite” to it. They should be soft and so should the rest of the ingredients. The tasting experience should be smooth, and all the flavors should meld together. To get this combination of flavors you need to cook your ingredients together for at least some part of the recipe and not just dump a can of beans in the stew
You also don’t want a “watery” bean soup, but a thick one. To get this type of texture you need to be a little careful with the water that is added to the stew. To avoid the watery effect, I suggest starting with less water because you can always add more later. On the other hand, if you add too much water and then pour out the excess liquid, you end up losing a lot of flavor. Another little secret of getting a thicker sauce is to add a bit of breadcrumbs at the end.
Beans and Greens: A Powerful Combination
Obviously, this type of dish delivers when it comes to both flavor and nutrition. The tomato sauce along with the olive oil make this dish rich and luscious. Plus, it is flavorful and filling. Nutritionally, the beans will give you protein, and you will also get plenty of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Most importantly, you will receive a good dose of antioxidants from all the ingredients in this dish. These antioxidants have various protective qualities such as fighting inflammation and free radicals, keeping away chronic diseases.
Greek Black-Eyed Peas and Spinach Recipe
- ½ pound dry black-eyed peas
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ onion chopped
- 1 carrot sliced
- ½ red bell pepper chopped
- 1 pound fresh spinach washed
- 8 ounces canned crushed tomatoes or 2 small tomatoes crushed in a food processor
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 2 teaspoons breadcrumbs
- Lemon for serving
- Ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- In a large pot cook the black-eyed peas with a bay leaf for about 30-35 minutes, until they are almost done. Drain and set aside.
- In a medium pot, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion, carrot and pepper for about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and continue heating for another 2-3 minutes until spinach wilts.
- Add the beans, the crushed tomatoes and ¾ cup hot water and ½ teaspoon salt and mix. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes until sauce is thick. Make sure to check the water levels while simmering, adding more hot water as needed. Right before removing from the heat add 2 teaspoons breadcrumbs and mix well, to thicken the sauce even more.
- Let it cool for 5 minutes and serve with a squeeze of lemon, parsley, fresh ground pepper and feta.
SAVE FOR LATER AND PIN IT!
Photos by Elena Paravantes © All Rights Reserved
Amazingly simple and soo delicious, thank you
Are all these recipes in your Med Diet Cookbook for beginners?
I’m going to make this with collard greens in place of spinach for the New Year. Black-eyed peas and collard greens is a traditional New Years meal in the American South.
Can you freeze this type of bean and vegetable stew? We are eating a lot of your recipes for this type of meal now and I’d love to be able to cook them in batches and freeze but I’m not sure if they would be good after defrosting? Thanks.
Yes, this particular one you can freeze. Re-heat in a pot under low heat.
I used chickpeas instead of black-eyed peas because one of the kids doesn’t like beans. We liked this dish a lot and I will definately make this again!
This recipe was absolutely delicious. I did not have the right size can of crushed tomatoes, so I used tomato sauce. Additionally, instead of hot water, i used the cooking liquid that resulted from the black eyed peas and bay leaves. It was nice and thick and very flavorful. Excellent recipe! Thank you
Hi Elena! I’m new to the Mediterranean way of eating. Thank you for the history and menus supplied on your blog. This is the first recipe of yours I have tried. It turned out well. Intending to have leftovers, I doubled the recipe. This leads me to the question, can this recipe be frozen? I didn’t see any info about freezing in the article or in any of the comments.
Hi Heather! Yes, you can freeze it.
I didn’t have exactly the right tomatoes and I used canned black eyes which I gently simmered for half an hour before mixing in the other ingredients and simmering some more. I also used frozen spinach. I don’t know if giving the canned beans an extra bit of cooking helped, but the dish was delicious and seemed like a thick and hearty entree. Mine was even better the next day, too.
This was my first time having black eyed peas – this dish was amazing – so full of flavor my husband and even my picky 16 year old loved it!!!
Delicious! I did soak my peas before I left for work in the morning, so I could dinner done faster.
Thanks Judi! And thanks for your tip.
Can you use the water that was used to cook the bean in the beginning, for the water that is to be added when combining all the ingredients? I would think that there may be some nutrients/flavor in that water that would enhance the stew even more?
Can I use frozen spinach?
I used frozen Cut Leaf Spinach and it still came out delicious. I took the spinach out ahead of time so it was thawed and already at the “wilted” stage. Then I added it at the same time as the crushed tomato.
SO easy and delicious! Pantry ingredients, minimal prep – this is going in the regular rotation. Thank you!
Thank you Julianne!
How long will leftovers keep in the fridge? (This looks like it would be even better the next day.) Thank you!
Keep it in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Yes it does taste better the next day 🙂
One question, can frozen spinach be used?
Hi Elena, great recipe I make them all the time.
The only comment I have is that they are beans not peas.
Thanks Kiki. Yes they are beans, but are typically called and known as black eyed *peas rather than beans.
Are your dry black-eyed peas pre-soaked?
Black-eyed peas do not need to be pre-soaked.