No, we don’t mean the band – we mean the legume. Also known as a black-eyed bean or a goat pea, the most common commercial variety of this bean is actually pale-coloured with a black spot featured prominently on one side (thus its name). Depending on the variety of the bean, however, this spot isn’t always black, and it can also come in pink, red, brown, or even green hues. In terms of growth, these beans grow well in warmer temperature typically hail from West Africa, across Asia, and in the Southern USA, where it also features heavily in the cooking.
Nutritionally, these peas are a powerhouse. They’re low in fat and calories, packed with fibre, potassium, protein, iron, anti-oxidants, and vitamin A and B, and can help in everything from improving eyesight, muscle growth, cell repair, metabolism, energy levels, and balancing blood sugar levels. They’re also great for developing healthier skin and nails.
How do you use it?
These creamy-textured beans can be used in a number of ways, and in bean form, are excellent when used in stews, curries, hotpots, and chili. They’re also delicious when cooked to be eaten on their own or with other veggies, in Indian- and South Asian-inspired recipes such as daal. Throw them (cooked) into cold dishes such as salads, or pop them into a slow cooker along with some meats to give the dish an extra oomph. For those following a plant-based diet, these beans also make the foundation for a great veggie burger patty.
In the Southern United States, it’s considered to be good luck to eat black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Year’s Day, since the beans symbolize coins. Back in the day, the black “eye” on them used to be called a “mogette” – which means “nun” in French – thanks to its resemblance to a nun’s head wrap.