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Nutrition Notes: Black-Eyed Peas

Everyday Food, December 2010

This protein-packed legume is easy to love and even easier to cook.

Health Benefits

Southern tradition says that eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day brings good fortune, but eating them year-round brings even greater riches, healthwise. Aside from being an inexpensive source of protein, they are also high in iron, potassium, magnesium, B vitamins, and complex carbohydrates, which help control blood sugar and lower cholesterol.

How to Buy and Store

Look for dried black-eyed peas (which aren't actually peas, but a type of bean) at a store with a high turnover -- the newer the dried beans, the faster they cook. Prepare a big batch when you have time: Soak them in water for an hour or overnight, then simmer until tender (about 45 minutes) and drain. Freeze meal-size portions in zip-top bags. Mix with onion, parsley, and hot sauce for a speedy side, or add to soups or pasta dishes. Canned black-eyed peas work, too, but be sure to rinse them to reduce added sodium.