Black-eyed peas and spinach (Φασόλια μαυρομάτικα με σπανάκι)

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Black-eyed peas and spinach (Φασόλια μαυρομάτικα με σπανάκι)

Black-eyed peas and spinach, a classic vegan meal popular in the Peloponnese region of Greece.

We know, we know, we have probably already told you that some other dish we have previously written about is our absolute favourite…but here we go again!  Black-eyed peas and spinach is our true absolute favourite food (until the next favourite comes along that is).

We believe that black-eyed peas (also called cowpeas) are the Queen of Legumes, and apparently we are not alone.  They are awesome enough to have a music band named after them, to be the conduit with which to poison an abusive husband named Earl in the Dixie Chicks hit, “Goodbye Earl” (we do not condone murder by the way) and to have a franchise restaurant in Texas and Tennessee named after them. The restaurant, of course, serves black-eyed peas.  We don’t think any other legume has received as much popular attention.  There must be something to these little gems.

And there is.  There is actually a LOT to them.  First off, they are adorable.  They really are!  The most common, commercial type of black-eyed pea, the California Black-eye, is a pale beige colour, with a prominent black spot (the eye) right in the middle.  Not only are they adorable, they are also available…almost everywhere.  Black-eyed peas are grown in several parts of the world, which is why they feature so prominently in a variety of cuisines, from American Southern cooking, to Asian specialities, to Mediterranean recipes.  These are hardy legumes, which like the heat and are pretty resistant to drought.  Cultivating them also adds nitrogen to the soil, which a good thing as it keeps soil healthy, and capable of nourishing other plants.  Add to all of this their impressive nutritional profile and you can see why black-eyed peas are popular the world over. They contain significant amounts of iron, are great sources of protein and fiber, and are good sources of calcium and Vitamin A.  All this for less than 200 calories in a one cup serving.  That’s not a lot of calories for a food which will keep you full and satisfied for hours; legumes do that.

Black-eyed peas and spinach (Φασόλια μαυρομάτικα με σπανάκι)

Helpful hints:

There are many varieties of black-eyed peas available throughout the world.  As we mentioned, the most common commercial variety is the California Black-eye, and that is what we use in this recipe.  If you happen to come across another variety of black-eyed pea, give it a try.   Apparently the different varieties, many of which are heirloom, come in various colours!  In this dish, because the black-eyed peas are added to the spinach mixture after they are already cooked, if you do use a different type of black-eyed pea you may need to adjust the cooking time.  Let us know if you make this dish with something other than the California Black-eye!  Send us a picture!


When you purchase your dried black-eyed peas try to buy them in a place with a high bean turnover.  Although dried legumes don’t spoil per se, if they are very old they may take a much longer time to cook.  In a pinch, you can use good quality canned black-eyed peas.  Simply rinse them very well to remove all the excess salt and limit the amount of salt you will add to your meal.  Although we always recommend using dried legumes over canned, truth is, if you use canned here you have cut your cooking time down by at least an hour.  Sometimes, that is essential!


This recipe calls for a total of 30 ounces of spinach.  When you are washing your spinach, make sure to pick out any wilted or yellow leaves.  The water which will cling to the leaves of your spinach after washing it is important, as it will add just the right amount of water to your pot when you combine all of the ingredients.


If you have homemade tomato sauce, you can use that in this recipe.  Otherwise, a good quality canned or bottled tomato juice will do.


Looking for some more vegan recipes? Try these:

Roasted cauliflower with potatoes

Mung bean soup

Prasorizo (Greek leeks and rice)

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Black-eyed peas and spinach (Φασόλια μαυρομάτικα με σπανάκι)

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5 from 2 votes

Black eyed peas and spinach

Black-eyed peas and spinach, a classic vegan meal popular in the Peloponnese region of Greece.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr 20 mins
Soaking time12 hrs
Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: #greeklentenrecipes, black eyed peas,, Greek vegan recipes, spinach,
Servings: 4 people
Author: Mia Kouppa


  • 1 cup dry black-eyed peas
  • 30 ounces fresh spinach
  • 1 cup chopped, flat leaf parsley
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) Greek olive oil
  • 2 cups (500 mL) tomato juice or sauce
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper


  • Rinse the black-eyed peas and pick through them to remove any stones or shrivelled up peas.  Soak in cold water overnight.
    1 cup dry black-eyed peas
  • Drain black-eyed peas.  Bring pot of water to a boil and add the black-eyed peas.  Lower to medium-high heat and boil for one hour.  Check your pot occasionally and remove any foam which may rise to the surface of the water. After one hour, check that the black-eyed peas are fully cooked.  If they are not, allow to cook a little longer until they are edible.  Drain the peas and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, wash the spinach and cut off any thick or course stems.
    30 ounces fresh spinach
  • In a large pot heat the oil and add the onion.  Cook over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the onion does not burn. Add the parsley to the pot and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
    1 cup chopped, flat leaf parsley, 1 yellow onion, chopped finely, 1/2 cup (125 mL) Greek olive oil
  • To the pot add the spinach (the spinach will be wet from having been washed…this is fine), drained peas, tomato juice and salt and pepper.  Mix well. Allow to cook, covered, over medium high heat for approximately 20 minutes.  Stir occasionally.
    2 cups (500 mL) tomato juice or sauce, 1 ¼ teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper
  • Enjoy!

17 thoughts on “Black-eyed peas and spinach (Φασόλια μαυρομάτικα με σπανάκι)

  1. I’d love if you posted the recipe for tomato sauce you use. In this one, the spanakorizo, etc…

    1. Hi Stephanie. Thanks for your interest in our recipes 🙂 We will be posting the recipe and technique for making our parents homemade tomato sauce after they make it again (summer). Stay tuned 🙂 In the meanwhile, you can use a good quality strained tomato or tomato juice, depending on what is called for in the recipe.

      1. Oh yes! That must have been amazing. Swiss chard is delicious and would certainly be great in this meal. Thanks for sharing Steva 🙂

    1. Oh that’s amazing to know!!! Thanks Nicole for the information. We don’t have an Instant Pot…but maybe it’s a good idea for all our bean recipes 🙂

  2. Wow, that was good. Also did it in my pressure cooker. Did the beans first, took them out and drained them, then started over in the pressure cooker for the second part. Used Shakshuka sauce from Aldi for the tomato sauce, added heat, damn it was yummy.

    1. Oh awesome Charles!! Thanks for letting us know that you loved this soup (it is delicious, isn’t it?!) and for your technique and tips. Sounds great – we’re going to try this in our pressure cooker too! A time saver 🙂

    1. Hi Dana!
      Great question! And yes, this dish would work fine with kale too. If you like the idea of kale and black eyed peas, we have a great black eyed pea and kale soup on the blog too. You can find it on the website in our Recipe List or you can use the Search tool.
      Hope this is helpful.
      Helen & Billie

  3. I made this today and it was absolutely delicious. Due to quarantine, I had to make a couple of substitutions but it still turned out great. For the tomato juice, I used 8T tomato paste mixed with 2C of the water left from cooking the beans and I substituted 1/4C dry parsley for the 1C of fresh and rehydrated it in the tomato juice instead of sauteeing it with the onions. Wonderful recipe and I will definitely make it again. Thank you!

    1. Hi Toni!! Love the creativity of adapting the recipe to use what you have on hand. This is one of our absolute favourite meals and so we’re so happy that you gave it a try, and that you loved it too. Happy New Year! and thanks for your comment. Hope you find many more recipes to try and love here 🙂 xoxo Helen & Billie

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