I am a huge fan of beans. As I've blogged about before, they are a fabulous source of vegan protein, uber-filling, and packed with great minerals and vitamins. We have them at home usually 4-5 times a week, and I love finding easy ways to incorporate them into lunches. (Read more on my stance on power lunches here.)
Recently, I've been getting into black eyed peas as a complement to our usual gamut of chickpeas, lentils, black beans, great northerns and kidney beans. They are proving to be a fabulous find. They cook in about half as much time it takes to cook chickpeas, and they keep well in the fridge for up to a week.
As with all legumes, black-eyed peas are a great source of fiber: this means improved digestion, more stabilized blood sugar (hello fullness), and lowered cholesterol. (A quick explanation: the insoluble fiber in beans - that is, the starchy fiber in the plant which the body cannot break down - acts as a sponge in the gastrointestinal tract, sopping up excess cholesterol as it moves through. As animals, we naturally have cholesterol in our bodies. Eating meat and dairy can cause an excess of cholesterol to accumulate, and as we know, too much cholesterol puts us at risk for a plethora of health conditions. Conveniently, having beans and legumes in place of meat as often as you can reduces cholesterol in two ways: less meat, more sponge-action. Thanks, nature.)
As well, black-eyed peas are a rich source of potassium (essential for muscle contraction, and by design, heart health) and iron (which helps red blood cells carry oxygen around the body). Black-eyed peas also contain Vitamin C, which helps the body absorb iron efficiently. Again, thanks nature.
Perhaps most interestingly, the delicious little orbs are rich in zinc. Over the past couple of months, I have been voraciously researching the connection between food aversions, picky eaters, and disordered eating as a by-product of nutrient deficiency. A number of the clients I work with privately are working through retraining their toddlers' eating habits, and as it turns out, zinc is one of the main culprits of many little ones' eating issues. We can surmise that the same might be true of adults: zinc deficiency is prevalent in over 20% of the population. Considering its role in cellular metabolism (and appetite!), immune function, cell division, and wound-healing, it's an important mineral to monitor our intake of.
Luckily, black-eyed peas are super easy to make, versatile, and delicious.
- soak overnight in 2 parts water to 1 part peas (ie. 2 cups water to 1 cup peas)
- drain and rinse
- place soaked peas in a pot and add another 2 parts water
- cover and bring to a boil (5-7 minutes)
- reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until peas are tender
- drain and store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week
This mash can be used in a number of ways (think stir-fry topper, hummus-like dip, salad mix-in, or just on its own...) and takes about 2 minutes to prepare. Make this. Really. It's delicious.
- 2 cups cooked black eyed peas, divided
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1. Place 1 3/4 cups of the peas in blender along with tahini, olive oil, curry powder, and sea salt. Reserve the other 1/4 peas to the side.
- 2. Blend until smooth.
- 3. Remove mixture from blender and transfer to bowl. Add in remaining whole peas and stir to combine.
- Store in the fridge. Use in a salad, with a stir-fry, as a dip, or simply on its own.