Smoky vegan black eyed pea soup recipe! Easy vegetable soup with black eyed peas soaked in smoked paprika. Not just for New Year’s Day!
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Hi, Rhubarbarians! Hopping on JUST before the new year to give you this fabulous black eyed pea soup recipe!
If you're looking for a simple, brothy, smoky, black eyed pea veggie soup recipe, this is IT.
Smoky vegan black eyed pea soup
Yep. This soup is smoky AND vegan. It's all thanks to how we soak the beans.
A lot of black eyed pea soups are made with ham, but you don't need it to get that smoky flavor! We get a super smoky flavor without any ham by soaking the beans in smoked sweet paprika. The dried beans absorb the flavor of the paprika and carry that over to the soup. So, you get a bit of a smoky bite, but it's not overpowering at all!
It creates a hearty, vegan soup that everyone in your family will love.
Have you tried this vegan vegetable barley soup recipe yet? So good!
Good luck for the new year
Have you ever heard that eating black eyed peas on New Year's Day is good luck? In the Southern United States, it's a tradition to eat Hoppin' John (A Southern black eyed peas and rice dish) on January first to bring prosperity in the new year.
While this is not Hoppin' John, it is fun to think that maybe eating a bowl of this black eyed pea soup on January first might bring us some luck.
Here's a recipe for vegan Hoppin' John that you might like!
Cooking with black eyed peas
Although they are called black eyed peas, they are actually beans! You can usually find them dried or canned along with the other beans at your grocery store.
Black eyed peas are small, pale colored beans with a distinctive black spot on them (hence the black eye name). They taste like, well.. beans! A bit earthy, a bit nutty, a bit starchy. Delicious.
We recommend using black eyed peas that are as freshly dried as possible. We love Rancho Gordo black eyed peas. If your bag of black eyed peas is old (hello that bag in the pantry from years ago), they may never soften when cooking. Check for wrinkled peas or discolored peas and the expiration date on your bag.
Do I have to soak black eyed peas? Technically, No! Black eyed peas cook fairly quickly even without soaking. However, we soak the black eyed peas in this recipe so that they absorb all the smoky flavor of the smoked paprika.
Here's what you'll need
- Dried black eyed peas, smoked paprika, water, and a large bowl. You'll need all of these for soaking the beans.
- A large dutch oven or soup pot along with utensils to stir your ingredients while they cook. We love our Lodge dutch oven and use a wooden spoon!
- Your soup ingredients (see recipe card below).
- A fork for testing the beans.
- A ladle or large spoon for serving.
- Bowls and spoons for serving.
Have you tried this Danish vegetarian split pea soup recipe yet?
How to make it
This soup is very simple and is mostly hands off! Here's hot to make it (full ingredients and instructions are listed in the recipe card below):
- First, soak your black eyed peas in some water and smoked paprika. You'll need at least 4 ½ hours. Soaking overnight works great!
- Saute your onion so that it's nice and brown and then add the beans and the aromatics.
- Cover everything with vegetable broth and then rapid boil the beans until they still hold their shape, but can be mashed with a fork.
- Add the vegetables and simmer everything together until the vegetables are cooked through and soft.
- Season to your liking with salt and pepper.
- Serve and enjoy!
Prepping ahead, storing, and freezing
- Prepping ahead: The beans will need to be soaked for at least 4 ½ hours, but soaking them the night before and letting them sit overnight is great. The vegetables and the herbs can all be chopped ahead of time for easy prep.
- Storing: Store the leftover soup in a container with a tight fitting lid in the refrigerator. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove top.
- Freezing: Freeze the soup in a tightly sealed, freezer safe container for up to 3 months. We recommend defrosting in the refrigerator before reheating, but you can heat from frozen on the stove top.
Cooking this black eyed pea soup in the Instant Pot can cause the vegetables to become mushy. If you want to use the Instant Pot, go through step 2 in the recipe instructions and then cook the beans. Timing will vary depending on your black eyed peas (how long you soaked them, how fresh they are, etc.) Then, when the beans are cooked, add your carrot, celery, and potato and cook that together with the saute function. It may take longer with this method than the stove top method.
Sure! We recommend going through step 2 in the recipe instructions and them simmering the beans in the slow cooker until they are cooked. Don't add the vegetables until the beans are soft enough, as they will become mushy if cooked too long.
Hot paprika is made with spicy peppers rather than sweet, so your beans will be spicy as well as smoky. If that's what you want, then go for it!
We don't recommend it for this soup. Canned black eyed peas will not have the amazing flavor of the soaked ones.
You won't get the smoky flavor absorbed into the beans, but you could try adding smoked paprika to the soup when you add the herbs, covering the pot, and simmering unsoaked beans for much longer than the recipe calls for. We haven't tested this, so we can't say how the smoky flavor will be.
Smoky black eyed pea soup (vegan, vegetarian)
- 1 ½ cup dried black eyed peas
- 1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
- water for soaking
- 2 tablespoon olive oil or grapeseed oil
- 1 ½ cups diced onion (about one medium)
- 1 ½ tablespoon minced garlic
- 4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 10 cups vegetable broth
- 1 ½ cups diced carrot
- 1 ½ cups diced celery
- 2 cups diced golden or red potato
- salt and pepper
- Rinse the beans and inspect for debris. Place them in a large bowl and cover with water by 2 inches. Stir in the smoked paprika and let sit for at least 4 ½ hours or overnight. Drain them from the liquid and rinse with water.
- When the beans are soaked and rinsed, start your soup. Heat 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a dutch oven or soup pot over medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté until it starts to brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add the black eyed peas, garlic, rosemary, and thyme. Sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly, just so the garlic and herbs become fragrant. Add the vegetable broth, stir, and bring to a boil.
- Rapid boil the beans in the liquid for 15 minutes. Remove one from the pot and check to see if it is just soft enough to mash with a fork. You want them to hold their shape, but easily give under a fork. If they do, move on to the next step. If not, continue cooking until they are ready.
- When the beans are just soft enough, add the carrot, celery, and potatoes. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Simmer until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and season to your liking with salt with pepper. Enjoy!
If you make this recipe, please let us know on social media or in the comments below! Leave a star rating in your comment or tag us on Instagram with #Rhubarbarians
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