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Savory Tweaks: 5 BEST Black-eyed Peas Substitutes

Do you feel like you’ve been cooking with the same ingredients forever?

Are you tired of using black-eyed peas in your creations but don’t know any other alternatives that can offer the same flavors and textures?

We’ve got just the solution for you – a selection of five options that can be used as replacements for black-eyed peas, giving your meals new life.

Whether it’s beans, legumes or vegetables lurking from the back of your cupboard that could give your soups and stews an earthy depth; nuts providing an extra crunch to salads; or grains that lend themselves perfectly to Chinese fried rice dishes, they all are potential solutions.

Read on to find out more about these surprising substitutes!

What are Black-Eyed Peas?

Black-Eyed Peas, also known as cowpeas or iron peas, has a long history of being a staple food in the United States and elsewhere.

The beans are believed to have originated in Africa but spread throughout the world due to colonial trading networks.

They’re popular among African Americans, so they sometimes end up being referred to as “black-eyed peas.


Nutritionally, black-eyed peas are an excellent source of protein and fiber; they are often used as a side dish similar to beans or lentils.

They can be cooked simply, boiled and seasoned with salt and other ingredients.

Or, they can be combined with vegetables such as okra and onions for creole recipes like Hoppin’ John or Gumbo Garden Salad.

This makes them incredibly versatile and adaptable to an array of tasty dishes.

How to Cook and Use Black-eyed Peas?

In many cuisines, black-eyed peas are a crucial ingredient.

Also known as cowpeas or simply “peas,” these legumes are creamy and packed full of flavor.

They can be cooked in a variety of styles, from soups to salads to vegetarian dishes.

As with any legume, they must be soaked before cooking in order to remove potential toxins and make them easier to digest.

After soaking, black-eyed peas can be cooked right away by boiling or steaming until they are tender.

Cooking times will vary based on the age and size of the peas, but longer cooking times create a softer texture that is preferable for use in many recipes.

Alternatively, they can be blended while still dry and mixed into either wet or dry ingredients like baked goods or sauces — perfect for vegan dishes that aren’t cooked at high temperatures.

5 Black-eyed Peas Substitutes You Should Try

No matter how you cook them, black-eyed peas are incredibly versatile and flavorful — making them the perfect filler for any recipe that calls for beans.

But what if the recipe doesn’t call for black-eyed peas? Not to worry — there are plenty of other substitutes available from your local grocery store; here’s a list of some great alternatives:

1 – Purple Hull Peas

Purple Hull Peas are the closest type of legume to black-eyed peas in terms of flavor, texture, and nutrition; however, they require a slightly different approach and time allotted for cooking.

They are a variety of cowpea with small black eyes – hence the name – and a pink/purple hull with a small point at one end.

Because of their small shape and large amount of protein, nutritional benefits include vitamin A, potassium, iron, fiber, and much more.

Additionally, these peas have a delicious flavor reminiscent of black-eyed peas when seasoned appropriately.

When cooking with Purple Hull Peas use about 30 minutes simmering time before adding any extra seasonings.

The combination of salty depth from ham hocks or bacon infused into the broth make this a must try substitute in recipes calling for black eyed peas.

2 – Pinto Beans

Pinto beans are a variety of the common bean, with a mild flavor and creamy texture.

They are most frequently used in Mexican and southwestern cuisine, but can be found in many recipes, including soups and salads.

Since they have a similar flavor profile to black-eyed peas, they can be substituted in a 1:1 ratio.

Be sure to pre-soak them overnight for optimal texture and taste.

Their cooked use is most commonly seen when mashed or refried into classic dishes like chili or burritos.

3 – Lima Beans

As a great and widely available substitute for black-eyed peas, lima beans are starchy enough to act and look similarly when cooked.

While they don’t have the same flavor profile as black-eyed peas, their earthiness and slightly nutty taste pair well with many other ingredients.

Additionally, when simmered for long enough that the skin separates from the seed, some of the earthy starch is released from the seed into the cooking liquid resulting in an intensely flavorful broth.

4 – Borlotti Beans

Borlotti beans (also known as cranberry beans) make an excellent substitute for black-eyed peas in any recipe.

This Italian legume has a creamy texture due to its thin, creamy skin and rich, nutty flavor.

It also has more protein than most other beans, clocking in at 11 grams per cup of cooked beans.

They can be served cold in salads or used as a side dish like rice and are extremely versatile, so you can use them to create all sorts of dishes from soups to casseroles.

If you’re looking for a traditional replacement for black-eyed peas, the borlotti bean is your best bet.

5 – Romano Beans

Romano beans are an Italian variety of flat-skinned, white beans that have a mild, savory flavor.

They can be used as a substitution for black-eyed peas in recipes and add an extra crunch to dishes.

These beans are rich in dietary fiber, protein and vitamins C and B6.

They also contain minerals such as iron, zinc and magnesium.

Romano beans pair well with a number of ingredients such as sausage, garlic, onion, tomatoes, spinach and other herbs.

As with black-eyed peas, they can be cooked on the stovetop or in a slow cooker for delicious soups to flavored sides dishes.


In summary, black-eyed peas are an extremely versatile and delicious pulse (% protein-rich legume) that can be used as a main or side dish.

A great source of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, black-eyed peas also contain several cooking substitutes to prepare recipe favorites without missing out on the nutrition.

The five best substitutes for black-eyed peas are edamame beans, fava beans, chickpeas, lentils and navy beans.

Ultimately, athletes or people following a vegan diet may not be able to consume black-eyed peas due to allergies or health restrictions; however these five alternatives will make sure they won’t miss out on their favorite recipes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Black-eyed Peas?

Black-eyed peas, also known as cowpeas, are a type of legume that are popular in southern cuisine.

They have a mild, earthy flavor and are creamy when cooked.

They are high in protein, fiber and other nutrients making them a nutritious and versatile ingredient.

What are the 5 best substitutes for Black-Eyed Peas in recipes?

The 5 best substitutes for Black-Eyed Peas in recipes are navy beans, cannellini beans, lima beans, pigeon peas, and kidney beans.

All of these substitutes are similar in taste and texture to black-eyed peas and can be used in the same types of recipes.

Are black-eyed peas high in protein?

Yes, black-eyed peas are high in protein. One cup of cooked black-eyed peas provides over 13 grams of protein.

They are also a good source of fiber, iron, magnesium, and other important vitamins and minerals.

5 Black-eyed Peas Substitutes You Should Try

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes


  • 1 – Purple Hull Peas
  • 2 – Pinto Beans
  • 3 – Lima Beans
  • 4 – Borlotti Beans
  • 5 – Romano Beans


  • Choose your preferred substitute from the list of options.
  • Organize all of your ingredients.
  • Use the proper substitute to cook your recipes.
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