Black-eyed Peas & Leeks Recipe

From a recipe in Put A Egg On It magazine, issue #2 - Black-eyed peas with lots of caramelized leeks, melted butter, marjoram, and tarragon.

Black-eyed Peas & Leeks

I have some cool friends. Friends who are far, far cooler than I'll ever be. One example? Sarah Keough. I met Sarah in San Francisco shortly after I graduated from college. I must have been 22, and she was a just a wee teen. Fifteen? Maybe. In addition to being one of the coolest people I know, she's also one of the nicest. As far as I'm concerned, nice beats out cool any day, and a genuine combination of the two is rare. Sarah lives in New York City now, but we've kept in touch over the years. She's one half of the art direction and design studio R&S MEDIA, along with Ralph McGinnis. In addition to that, her photography is always inspiring - this Dinners series is a favorite of mine. Today's recipe actually comes from a new print project from Sarah and Ralph. They've created a digest-sized magazine focused on food and cooking, Put A Egg On It.

Black-eyed Pea Recipe

You can see a couple of the spreads up above. All in all, the little booklet is a mash-up of stories, photo essays, cooking tips, illustrations, funky fonts...a pet pic or two, all compiled from a quirk-tastic range of contributors. This is the second issue, summer 2010. It is 30-ish pages, and printed on pale green paper. The back section of the magazine is the recipe section, and in this issue, the theme was beans. My understanding is that each new issue will have a recipe section with a new theme. This time around Miriam Bale's black-eyed peas jumped out at me, so I thought I'd share them here.

Black-eyed Pea Recipe

Miriam notes, "Black-eyed peas are often served with smoky-sweet ham, piquant red pepper and onions, but the best way to emphasize the peas own earthy sweet qualities is to serve them with leeks and tarragon. I first had something like this at the Organic Cafe in Oakland. This dish reminds me of a song by Marlena Shaw, "California Soul."

We really loved the salad. A perfect picnic or potluck salad for sure. The butter added at the end? Don't skimp. It melds everything together. And to be honest, this is one of those cases when more would be even better. Special occasion? Double up.

I made a few tweaks to Miriam's recipe, nothing major. I like caramelized leeks, so I let mine cook longer than she probably would. I also gave ballpark amounts of herbs in the recipe, her instructions where a bit looser and free-form than what I wrote up down below. Just know, if you feel like you want more tarragon or marjoram flavor, add more. Alternately, adding some chopped fresh tarragon and marjoram, might be pretty great. In a sense, doubling and layering flavors by using both dried and fresh forms of the same herb.

If you're interested in a video that flips through the pages of the magazine, you can click here. Put A Egg On It #2 is available here for $7. Congrats R&S, can't wait to see #3.

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Black-eyed Peas & Leeks

Couple things...After slicing the leeks, you want to make sure you wash them well. Rinse and swish in a big bowl of water, to shake out any grit, then drain completely. Miriam also notes the importance of sourcing dried herbs that aren't past their prime, "please take a sniff of the dried tarragon to make sure it doesn't smell like twigs." If your dried herbs are sawdust, and a trip to the store isn't in order, swap in a mix of whatever chopped fresh herbs you have on hand. And/or a bit of lemon zest.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons+ unsalted butter
fine grain sea salt

4 good-sized leeks, dark green parts trimmed, quartered lengthwise, then sliced every 1/2-inch

3 cups cooked black-eyed peas*
heaping 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried tarragon

Heat the olive oil over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of the butter in your largest skillet. When hot, add a couple big pinches of salt, and stir in the leeks. Cook gently, stirring regularly until the leeks get nice and golden.

Add the drained beans to the skillet. Cook until heated through, then stir in the marjoram, tarragon, a couple big pinches of salt, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir well, taste, and adjust seasoning to your liking. You can add more salt, herbs, or butter at this point until it is to your liking. Serve family style in a medium bowl or platter.

Serves 6.

*To cook dried black-eyed peas. Start with 8 ounces / 225 g of black-eyed peas. Pick over well, looking for any dirt clots or pebbles. Cover with water and soak overnight, or for at least four hours. Drain, place in a large pot, and cover with water by about 3 inches. Simmer until the peas are cooked through, salting generously in the last ten minutes of cooking. Drain and you're ready to go.

Recipe slightly adapted from Miriam Bale's Black-eyed Peas with Leeks and Tarragon in Put a Egg on It #2.

Prep time: 5 minutes - Cook time: 15 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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I am going to do this with my newly purchased purple hull peas. It will be just as good. Of course, I love black eyed peas too.


I am excited about this recipe and am making it right now (over rice, with a side of chard). The only thing I question is the bean soaking. One of the things I love about black-eyed peas is the fact that they don't have to soak like regular beans. I put the dry beans in the pot with water, cook covered for about 45 minutes, and they are cooked up just fine. Perhaps your readers might be more inclined to whip this up as a short-notice recipe if they knew they could skip the soak!


So yummy! Just finished this for dinner. I actually like dried tarragon better than fresh, and adore leeks. Sounds so simple, but perfectly matched flavors. Thanks.


This recipe is DELICIOUS!!!!


This turned out SO well! I made it with smoked salt instead of regular salt but everything else was the same. Yummmy! It's a keeper. I'm sitting here eating the leftovers cold for breakfast, it's that good.

Becky Miller

Fantastic! I'm making this recipe tomorrow. I love all beans, but I have always eyed black-eyed peas warily due to not-so-positive experiences with them in my school cafeteria in Georgia. Finally, a redemptive black-eyed peas experience! Thank you!


OMG it had never come to my mind black eyed peas was the word for this!:)


Thank you for the yummy recipe. I only had half the amount of leeks needed and threw in some shallot. Nor marjoram, so I substituted oregano. I'll make it again...this time with all the leeks!


Every time I think "this is the best post she's ever done," you one up me. This is the best post so far. Love the zine. Love the recipe. Can't thank you enough.


black eyed peas are one of my favorite ingredients to use for one of my all time favorite vietnamese desserts. looking forward to incorporating them into something savory. thank you!!


I love black eyed peas, I make it with little bit of Indian curry spices and sometimes Italian spices, this looks amazing too. Thanks for introducing Sarah Keogh to me, I was not aware of her much.

Pam @ kitchen cookware

Any other ideas for a vegi version of black eyed peas? I am a member of a CSA in nashville and we've gotten lots of purple hull peas, which are similar to black eyed peas, but most of the recipes out there call for meat. This sounds great, but I've got A LOT of them. Thanks!


Looks like something I must bookmark!! Thank you for always wow-ing me with your tasteful recipes :) xoxo Maggie


I actually wanted to leave a comment on the potato and vinegar recipe. I just made the dish as a side dish and my husband absolutely adored it. The fennel salt sprinkled over it tasted ten times better than I initially thought. I am a Martha Stewart subscriber but I missed this recipe. I think the picture you had of the vinegared potato was very appealing and I had no hesitation in making it! Thanks for the recipe and the modification from Martha's recipe!


Un plato estupendo, me gusta la combinación de sabores. Saludos

jose manuel

I already have Put A Egg on It and I must say... it's really awesome. Thanks a bunch!

Gabrielle Jacobs

Love these pictures!!! and the dish looks so scrumptious and nomlicious. Simplicity rules. Bridget Davis ~ The Internet Chef Sydney [AUstralia]

Bridget Davis

I fixed this for dinner on Sunday and finished leftovers for lunch today....carmelized leeks on anything, I say! Thanks again for inspiring me to cook and find the pleasure in vegetarian cuisine.


I agree- caramelize those leeks until they are nice an gooey - YUM! I did some cooking this weekend with Chef Joe DiMaggio Jr., and he caramelized some peas and onions until they had a lot of color, and it was divine.

Julie Anne Rhdoes

Easy enough! Love recipes like that. And really love leeks :-)

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

That magazine reminds me very viscerally of the hippie food culture when I was growing up in the 70's. Such a nice combo of underground and family affection. Thank you for sharing this!!


I recently made something with leeks, and realized how much I adore them. This sounds like a lovely recipe.


Would also be yum with Field Peas or Crowder Peas or one of the other southern summer peas.


I don't come across many recipes for black-eyed peas. This one sounds really fresh and savory. I will definitely try it. Thanks for sharing!


I always enjoy finding new ways to use the same old legumes...thanks for this!

The Rowdy Chowgirl

Beautiful photo! This looks wonderful.

Caitlin @ Amuse-bouche

I'm with Nathalie, the recipe looks great, but please, the title of the 'zine should be put AN egg on it....

Lowcountry Gal

The other recipe of salad of black eyed peas from Turkish cuisine is green black eyed pea salad. While they are still in their green dresse (so when they are fresh like green haricot) ..You prepare like princesse haricots .Boil for a while .Then when they are soft add the lemon,garlic,olive oil mizture .It's godd as a hot summer days dishe:))..


The Sephardic-Jewish meal for the New Year needs to include (among other things) both leeks and black eyed peas... It's a symbolic thing, to do with wishes for the coming year. The 'peas' are usually fresh and in their shells, as they are in season in fall. But this is a great way to combine the two! Y


Hi Heidi, I sometimes send your recipes on to friends who are vegetarians and your 101 Cookbook recipes have benefited me greatly since I started eating vegetarian! This looks delicious, will just have to look in the health shop for black eyed beans, as I live in Spain and ingredients are not so easy to find! I love leeks and do a lot with them! You are an inspiration and I look forward to your recipes each and every time! Kobie


Superb sounding recipe. I love the combination of ingredients. :-) Mandy

Mandy - The Complete Cook Book

What a beautiful book! The cover type is joyful! I love it! This recipe looks great. I don't use enough tarragon. Must remedy that. Thank you for the recipe!

Heather @ Whisk Flip Stir

I love this simple, delicious-sounding version of blackeyed peas. I tend to be stuck on the onion-jalapeno-garlic-bacon route, and this is decidedly different. Yum.


I love any excuse to cook with leeks. I'm adding this to the long list of "must try" recipes from your blog.

Maria (pictures&postcards)

I love any excuse to cook with leeks. I'm adding this to the long list of "must try" recipes from your blog.

Maria (pictures&postcards)

This sounds delicious! I've never cooked black eyed peas and am always intrigued. What's stopped me in the past has been the typical recipe with ham, my husband won't eat it. Looking forward to trying this!

The Cookbook Apprentice

The peas look delicious. Now, if only I could cure myself of the angst I get every time I look at the title of your friend's magazine and want to correct it to 'Put AN Egg On It'. aaaaaaaaaaaa


Today I made this salad and I really loved it. The flavours meld into a special one and it makes you want to eat more. I combined it with two other recipes: "Spanish Rice" and "Chicken in Cilantro Sauce". Both from the cookbook "Los Barrios", a tex-mex family cookbook from the restaurant Los Barrios in San Antonio, TX.

Tatjana Fischer-Driessen

Love this simple looking recipe. I would never have thought of combining leeks and black eyed peas but it sounds great.


This is surely going to be my lunch today; thanks Heidi!!!!

The Healthy Apple

Good grief! Peas and Leeks!! Did you do that on purpose? Great recipe in spite of the humour of the title.


Heidi! This looks amazing, I will definitely give it a try this week!


gosh, heidi...we've never met, yet i think you're endlessly cool because of what you cook, photograph, and share. then, you go and "talk up" a friend in the nicest way. plus, you live in my hometown. wow! aaaand, i love black-eye peas. i'm now speechless :) HS: Thanks Tav, I have to say, I feel like the lucky one. I get to work on projects I love, my readers are the nicest people ever, and living in SF is pretty great too. I feel very fortunate. Hope you are having a great weekend.


This looks like real comfort food--leeks are so luxurious and since I love all kinds of beans but have NOT tried the black-eyed kind yet, this should be fun! You must have fun choosing dishes for each photo the because platter you used to photograph the beans goes perfcetly with the blond and brown beans!


This sounds subtle, understated, absolutely lovely. My most favorite sort of food.


Looks and sounds lovely. I not very fond of the ham and bean thing as a rule--too much earth for my earthy constitution. The leeks and herbs would definitely lighten the load. And Primordial Soup is right about the recipe photo--the green of the stems, the green of the leeks, fresh for the eyes--delightful. Thanks!

Amanda at Enchanted Fig

I've only used black eyed peas for soup. On New Year's Day. Not sure it's ever delivered on the luck part, and though I like the tradition I've also wanted something a bit lighter and different. This looks delicious and a must try in it's stead this year. Love the story too.

Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle

Heidi, next time try fresh black eyed peas-they cook in a small amount of water in 15 minutes. I grow them in my garden (in Texas)-they are so good. Will try them with the leeks-thanks for the recipe.


hi. my names marjan &im iranian & i want say you that very beautiful . im sorry i speak english but not verry well. thank you& bye


I have a ton of black eyed peas at my house -- this looks like a great recipe to use them and the leeks that I'm growing!


I love Black Eyed Peas - we always have them on New Year's for good luck (My husband is Southern). The rest of the year, they're great as a side or in a soup - tasty and very high in iron too. Trader Joe's actually carries them pre-cooked, which makes it easy to toss with tomatoes, feta, herbs, lemon & olive oil, etc as a quick salad. The texture is always a little better when you cook them yourself, but there's no beating a 5-minute effortless dish, especially in the summer. Lovely photo too as usual!

Deana (Cooking with Trader Joe's)

Wow that looks delicious and so simple, simple meals are my favorite.

Magda @ Be Nutritious

Will try this! I've gotten it in my mind that leeks are unique, and reserved for those special occasions - once or twice per year - when I make Vichysoisse. I remind myself that leeks are just a uniquely flavored mild onion, and hope that will inspire me to create with it more often. Black-eyed peas with sauteed onion? I wouldn't bat an eyelash... Heidi, your recipe illustration is my favorite photo of yours to date! Love how the green stems of the cut flowers in the vase peek into the frame to play off and emphasize the green of the leeks in the dish!

Primordial Soup

Great! I havn't cooked with black eyed peas yet, so this is a brilliant chance. In fact I hadn't cooked with leeks before a year ago when I went vegetarian and suddenly found all these wonderful vegetables which can be cooked in such exciting new ways! Thanks again Heidi!


Leeks are such a beautiful ingredient. :) I have a recipe for creamed leeks that is excellent with anything! Looks great Heidi.

A Teenage Gourmet

I agree with you. It is nice to be able to find both in a friendship. I like to cook with my best friend and he has the same qualities. Your idea on the leeks was a good one. I would not have tried it without your suggestion. Thanks.


Black-eyed peas are far too neglected in my kitchen. For some reason I so rarely think of them, perhaps it's the ham association. I love leeks, so I'm putting this recipe in the queue!


Finally an intriguing take on Black-eyed peas! I lived in the south for five years, and let me tell you, black-eyed peas got dull pretty quickly. But this recipe sounds delightful! Thanks for sharing!

Dina Avila

Black Eyed Peas always seem a little scary to me -- silly, I know, since I am a beanhead. I love them when someone else makes them for me though. This dish seems doable enough (easier than making cheese, surely!) so maybe i can start here. Leeks are finally rolling in from the garden too, so perhaps it's fate! Thanks for sharing Sarah's artwork too -- lovely!

becky and the beanstock

thanks, heidi. the zine looks great, but i tried the link to the shop and it didn't work. HS: It should be fixed now Lila. Let me know if you're still getting an error.


I absolutely adore black eyed peas. A vegetarian version without ham is refreshing. Thanks for sharing! :)


I LOVE blackeyed peas! I always make them with the smoky ham and usually served with greens. I am definitely trying them this way as soon as possible. In fact, now I want blackeyed peas for breakfast! Thanks for sharing.


Black-eyed peas are my culinary Achilles heel. One plateful, and I have childhood flashbacks of my staring down the the wicked little legumes. I never won that battle with peas and/or parents, but then again they were never prepared like this. So Heidi, in the name of personal growth and maturity, I shall try this recipe. And if 101 Cookbooks history repeats itself, no doubt I will love it. Thank you, Tom

tom @ tall clover farm

I would love to make this for todays lunch. I have everything for it except for the black-eyed peas. I do have some adzuki beans which I cooked yesterday. I suppose I could use them instead.Thank you for sharing!


This is a great and simple idea! I have a bag of black eyed peas waiting in my pantry to experiment with, cannot wait. Also, what a neat magazine too! I'd love to check it out!


oh that salad looks great!

Simply Life

What amazing friends you have, indeed! This magazine is such a fun idea. I wish I could get my hands on it.

Shaheen {The Purple Foodie}

Lovely simple recipe Heidi, thanks for sharing. That's a good reminder about the dried herbs. This would be a perfect dish for making in the winter when leeks are available but fresh herbs are hard to come by but not so good with fusty old herbs that just taste of cupboard.


I love the simplicity of this recipe. Very few ingredients but a tasty dish I am sure. Can't wait to give it a whirl, but with a vegan butter. I have fresh tarragon right now in the garden which will be delish! MIght need to find some fresh marjoram too!

Julie the Alkaline Sister

That was a lovely tribute to your talented friend. I enjoy your recipes, but posts like this (sharing little personal 'tidbits' and influences/inspirations) are what really keep me coming back.

Torrie @ a place to share...

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