A co-worker shared this easy delicious recipe her sister made. It makes a great side dish, or quick and easy lunch or even a dinner. There are other options you can add to boost the flavor and protein. You can even turn it into a tasty party dip.
I made it with bacon, however, you can keep this vegetarian or vegan by omitting the bacon. I am a meat eater and LOVE bacon. I am not a big fan of black eyed peas, but this is a great dish and has so many options to personalize for your specific tastes.
Thank you to Terri and hope you all enjoy not only this recipe, but variations as well. Here is to good eating in 2012. If you have a recipe you would like to share, please feel free to send me an email.
Simple Garlicky Black Eyed Peas and Spinach
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced (more if desired)
15 o can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed in cold water
1/4 cup water (chicken or vegetable stock can be substituted for more flavor)
1 bag of baby spinach
4 strips of bacon, diced
1 small onion, diced small (optional)
salt and black pepper to taste
- Over medium heat, add the Oil, Bacon, Onions and Garlic. Adding them at the same time will help prevent “frying” the garlic and allow the garlic to cook and release the flavor into the oil. The garlic is done when it is soft then slightly browned and the bacon is slightly crispy. It is important to do this over moderate heat, not high heat to prevent burning. It takes a little longer, but worth the wait.
- If you feel there is too much oil in the pan after the bacon has rendered, not a big deal. Get a small glass bowl and pour off the extra fat. save it in the event you want to add more back in.
- Add the peas and water (or stock) and bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes until the liquid is reduced a bit.
- Add in the spinach and let wilt, stirring as needed so all of the spinach wilts. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper.
That’s it. Serve as a side dish or add a few more enhancers to make a one dish meal. See below for additional options.
Additional Add-ins or Substitutions:
Use any one or a combination of any of the below. In the picture at the top of this post I added the following and it was great. I meant to doe them separately, but I just said what the heck and thew it all in the pot.
1/4 cup shallots, added with the onions and garlic
1 stalk of bok choy, whites and greens separated. The whites are added with the onions, garlic and shallots. The greens are added with the spinach.
2 cups sliced mushrooms, whatever kind you like, added with the garlic and onions
1.5 TBS soy sauce, added with the water/stock. This is not over powering, an provided a great flavor enhancer. No one will know you added it.
I used 1 cup of chicken broth instead of water to simmer it all down until it was reduced in 1/2, then added the spinach and bok choy leaves and let continue to simmer down until almost all of the liquid evaporated.
I toped it with shaved parmasean cheese. I could easily have top it with goat or feta cheese. The sharpness and touch of saltiness of these cheeses goes very well with this dish.
Feta Cheese – Stir in Crumbled Feta cheese (about 1/2 cup) just before serving. This will keep the cheese somewhat in tact but still heat it through to make is soft and yummy as you eat it.
Artichokes – drain 1/2 can of artichoke hearts, and shop them up. If you are an artichoke lover, go ahead and use the whole can. Add the artichokes in Step 1. This will give it a chance to sautee and mix with the flavors.
Ham, Chicken or Turkey – great way to use up those deli meats. Chop them up into a medium dice. Add them after the bacon and garlic has cooked, but before you add the peas and spinach. Let them sauté in the flavorful oil for about 2 minutes. Then proceed to step 3.
Firm Tofu – Cut them up into 1/2 cubes. Add them after the bacon (if using) and garlic has cooked, but before you add the peas and spinach. Let them sauté in the flavorful oil for about 3 minutes. Then proceed to step 3.
Substitute black eyed peas with other legumes you may like
Oven-roasted tomatoes, diced – Heat the oven to 375, cut about 3 roma tomatoes into 3rds, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano or basil. Roast about 45 minutes, or until they shrink, wilt and easily fall apart. Add them in just after step 2. Let them sauté for about 2 minutes, then proceed to step 3.
Sundried tomatoes, diced – About 2 TBS. Add these in step 1 so they open up and soften releasing their flavors.
Mushrooms, any of your favorites – rough dice the mushrooms, about 1.5 – 2 cups. Add them in step one. They will reduce as they cook. This may extend the sauté time, but that is ok. sautéed mushrooms, garlic, onions are beyond delicious.
Bok Choy, in addition or in place of the spinach. Wash and dry about 5 stems of the Bok Choy. Slice it at an angle into 1in strips starting at the base. Add just after step 2 and sauté for about 3 minutes before proceeding to step 3.
Substitute any greens in addition or in place of spinach
MEAT– no reason not to put more meat in. In step 1, add about 1/2 pound of ground pork, or 3 – 4 sausage links, sausage removed from the casings. break it up and brown it by sauteing with the onions, garlic and oil.. and why not keep in the bacon? You could use ground beef, but this is screaming for ground pork or a sweet pork sausage.
You can come up with your own additions and substitutions.
To Turn into a Dip:
This was great as well. I kept eating it. I just dumped the mixture you see at the top of the page into a food processor (or blender), added 1 – 2 TBS of mayo, 2 TBS stock or water, 2 – 3 TBS parm or feta cheese and blended until smooth. Add a little more water, broth, milk or cream if it is too thick. Using about 1/2 cup of silken soft tofu instead of mayo and/or cheese also provides a creamy texture and adds a good bit of protein. Adjust taste as needed. A splash of soy sauce or tsp of toasted sesame oil will also help to boost the flavor.
Serve warm or at room temperature with chips, toasted bread or vegetables.
You can also use this as a stuffing for a filled pasta (with any of the variations above) and serve with a roasted tomato sauce.
To make, you can make your own ravioli dough, or you can purchase wanton wrappers pre-made. They are usually found with in the tofu section.
Simple Roasted tomato sauce (good for a simple dinner, serve with pasta, chicken, fish, etc..)
4 Roma tomatoes, Heat the oven to 375, cut the roma tomatoes into 3rds, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano or basil. Roast about 45 minutes, or until they shrink, wilt and easily fall apart.
4 cloves garlic, rough dice or sliced
.5 TBS olive oil
.5 TBS butter (you can omit, but increase the olive oil to 1 TBS)
1 small onion, small dice
1 Sprig of Thyme (or 1 tsp dried Thyme)
1 Sprig of Oregano (or 1 tsp dried Oregano)
6 large basil leaves, sliced (or 2 tsp dried basil)
1.5 cups chicken or vegetable broth (low sodium and low fat preferred)
1/4 cup dry white wine (you can omit, replace with a splash of lemon juice)
1/4 cup diced assorted Greek Olives (with our without the pimento)
salt and pepper to taste
- In a large sauté pan, add the oil, butter, onion and garlic and sauté over medium heat for about 5 – 7 minutes until the onion is soft and begins to brown.
- Dice the tomatoes and add them with the olives to the pan. Saute for about 2 additional minutes.
- Add in the broth, wine, herbs and let simmer and reduce until the liquid is about 1/2 the amount. If the sauce is too thin, let it simmer a little longer, or add a four slurry (about 1 TBS flour mixed with about 1 TBS water and whisked or shaken to eliminate lumps). Add a iittle at a time and let simmer, stirring unitl your desired consistence is reached.
- Remove any herb stems, taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
That’s it – the sauce is ready and is very tasty.
I hope you experiment and come up with your favorite version. Don’t forget, if you have a great recipe you want to share, please email me and can work with you to put it on.