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What to Do with Leftover Black-Eyed Peas

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What to Do with Leftover Black-Eyed Peas: A Culinary Guide

We love using black-eyed peas year round. They are a great source of fiber and protein, and often we serve them as a main course alongside some braised greens and cornbread or as a side with grilled chicken. Whether fresh, frozen or dried, these peas are a quick, easy and flavorful meal option. Often you will see these peas around New Year’s eve, touted as good luck. So what do you do with leftover black-eyed peas when you have surplus? So many things! First let’s understand what black-eyed peas are and their characteristics and then we can get creative on how to utilize them.

Understanding Black-Eyed Peas

Black-eyed peas, also known as cowpeas, are a type of legume famous for their creamy texture and nutty flavor. Originating in West Africa, they’ve become a staple in Southern cuisine, symbolizing prosperity and good luck.

Flavor Profile and Cooking Instructions

These peas boast a mild, earthy taste with a slightly creamy texture. When cooked, they take on a soft yet firm consistency, making them versatile for various dishes. To prepare, soak dried peas overnight, then simmer until tender, usually for about 30-45 minutes. Black-eyed peas are flavorful on their own, but we love to throw a carrot, celery, hunk of onion and bay leaf in while they cook. Another way to enhance the broth’s flavor is to sear a piece of bacon before adding the water, beans and aromatics. And finally, if you like a bit of spice in your broth, consider adding in a jalapeno or habanero.

Leftover Black-Eyed Peas: Creative Uses

Given their nutty, earthy, sweet and creamy profile – these peas lend themselves to multiple applications. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

photo of leftover black-eyed peas in a dark salsa negra with a close up of a tablespoon of the dip on a corn tortilla chip
  1. Black-Eyed Pea Salsa: Combine leftover peas with fresh diced tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, cilantro, lime juice, and seasonings for a zesty salsa, or add to a jar of salsa for a quick snack. Serve with tortilla chips or use the fresh salsa as a topping for grilled fish or chicken. You can find our roasted black-eyed pea salsa below.
  2. Texas Caviar: Combine black-eyed peas, bell peppers, onions, corn, and a tangy dressing for a vibrant bean salad. Texas Caviar is another type of salsa that can be used as a dip or to top fish/meats.
  3. Black-Eyed Pea Dip: Mash or blend the peas with garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and a bit of tahini and spices to create a delicious dip. Pair with pita chips or veggies for a wholesome snack. This dip is like a mix between pinto bean dip and hummus.
  4. Nacho Topper: Add them to nachos for an easy snack or meal.
  5. Stirred into Soups: Add them to hearty soups like vegetable or chicken soup for an extra protein boost. Or try them in our Texas style chili recipe.
  6. Vegetarian Patties: Mash the peas and mix with breadcrumbs, chopped veggies/greens, and seasoning. Form into patties and pan-fry for tasty vegetarian black-eyed pea burgers.
  7. Salad or Grain Bowl Ingredient: Toss leftover black-eyed peas into green salads or grain bowls for added texture and protein. They are delicious with vinaigrette. You could even mix them with tuna packed in olive oil for a tuna and bean salad.

Maximize Resourcefulness with Leftover Black-Eyed Peas

Whether it’s a salsa, burgers or a creamy dip, repurposing leftover black-eyed peas offers a fantastic opportunity to create delightful, flavorful and resourceful dishes. Give one of these ideas a try and let us know what you think. Specifically, we’d love you to try rich dark salsa recipe below, so be sure to bookmark or pin it as well.

photo of cooked salsa negra in a cast iron skillet

Salsa Negra with Optional Black-Eyed Peas

Flash fried pasillas and moritas give this salsa a spicy depth of flavor and color as do blackened tomatoes and onions. This salsa is double cooked which also intensifies flavor and color. Leftover or canned black eyed peas can be added to create a savory, hearty dip that's great for tortilla chips. You can also use this salsa as a marinade for seafood or poultry.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: accoutrement, healthy, high fiber, salsa, sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Resting Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 30kcal
Author: juiceofsevenlemons
Cost: $2.50



  • Remove stems and seeds from the dried chiles and cut or rip the chile pasilla into pieces. Set aside.
  • To a dry sauce pan or cast iron pan, add the tomatoes/tomatillos and onion and blacken. Remove from heat and set aside .
  • Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil and heat to medium. Add the dried chiles and fry for about 2 minutes. Cook until the chiles become aromatic and start to deepen/darken in color.
  • Lower heat and add 1/2 cups of water to the sauce pan (CAREFULLY as the oil will splatter and smoke) and raise heat to medium. Add garlic clove. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for about 20 minutes.
  • Transfer all of the ingredients used thus far including the liquid to the blender. Blend (carefully, making sure to vent) until desired thickness is achieved.
  • Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil to medium heat for a few minutes. Add the thick alsa from the blender to the hot oil. Simmer the salsa, stirring often for about 10 minutes.
  • Pour in a bit of water to the blender and swish around. Try to get as much of the remaining salsa off the sides. Pour into pot, along with the vinegar. Stir well to combine and continue cooking for 10 minutes until it reduces. Taste if extra salt is needed.
  • Remove from heat and add black eyed peas if using. Adjust taste to your liking with agave syrup and lime juice.


Extra Water: Use  water as needed  to keep the sauce from getting to pastey.
Bitterness: Sometimes, dried chilis can impart too much bitterness. The sweetness from the agave and lime juice should even out any bitter taste. Add them a little at a time until you find the taste to your liking.
Marinade or Sauce: This salsa (without the peas) could be used as a marinade or sauce for seafood or poultry, or even as a enchilada/enmoladas sauce.


Serving: 50g | Calories: 30kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.5g | Sodium: 75mg | Potassium: 100mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg

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