I like to plan meals for the week in advance so that I have the ingredients on hand for several recipes. Then, I can easily choose one that I’m in the mood for each night. It makes things so much less complicated, and I do a lot less head scratching at 5pm that way. Well, it just so happens that with a baby in the house, I struggle to be that organized and do the grocery shopping weekly. I try very hard to set a time for shopping each week, but things seem to sometimes get in the way, and I push the groceries off to another day.
As I rummaged through my bare cupboard on a recent evening, I was really struggling to come up with something for dinner. Then, my husband’s constant answer for dinner popped into my head…soup! Even if I haven’t made the weekly grocery run, I always have legumes, vegetable stock, and a few veggies around. I could definitely work with this.
I recently went through a vegetarian eating phase, so I’m completely in love with eating beans and legumes. They are staples in our kitchen now, and we cook with them wholeheartedly at every chance we get. I don’t feel slighted in the least with not having animal protein in a dish because these stand-ins are so hearty and good for you at the same time. With this in mind, I knew exactly what I wanted for dinner. A nice large serving of black-eyed pea soup and some leftover crusty bread from a spaghetti dinner would turn this unplanned dinner into a scrumptious meal.
As I made this soup, I basically dumped everything out of my kitchen pantry, veg drawer, and freezer to find some ingredients that would make this come together. I ended up putting everything but the kitchen sink into the pot, but, hey, it came out great!
Kitchen sink black-eyed pea soup.
1 cup dried black-eyed peas
1 1/2 bay leaves
3 cups water
1 can vegetable broth
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 medium carrots, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 large garlic clove, diced
14 oz crushed tomatoes (organic preferred)
10 oz package frozen spinach
8-10 oz package frozen corn
3/4 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp dried cilantro
1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
In a saute pan, heat the olive oil on medium low heat. Add the onion, carrots, pepper, and garlic. Cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Pour the crushed tomatoes into the pan along with the spinach and corn. Add the spices and cook for another five minutes. Take off the heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a medium-sized pot, combine the dried beans, bay leaves, and water. Bring to a boil. Then, reduce heat to simmer for about 20 minutes until the peas are starting to get tender.
Pour the vegetable mixture into the pot with the beans and bring the soup to a simmer. Add the vegetable broth and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove the bay leaves and pour into bowls. Enjoy!
You can use frozen black-eyed peas instead of dried if you prefer. Just cook the peas in the microwave first before adding them to the vegetable mixture. Instead of the 3 cups of water, add as much as needed to make the soup a liquid consistency and cover the ingredients.