black eyed pea soup

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Why I love this black eyed pea soup recipe

Looking for a healthy recipe to ring in the New Year? This lucky soup recipe is exactly what you need. I’ve been making it for a few years now, and I finally decided it was time to pass it along to you. It’s healthy, easy and completely dairy free.

Plus, it’s a great way to use up that little bit of leftover Christmas ham that’s still sitting in your fridge.

I love this version of Hoppin John soup (that’s another fun name for it). It’s so simple to make and has a nice base of chicken broth, tomato paste, and basic soup vegetables. I also add in a little crushed red pepper to kick up the flavors and bring out the natural nuttiness of the black eyed peas.

Want to double your luck? Try this black eyed pea salad, too.

spoon taking a scoop of black eyed pea soup from a bowl

Here’s what you’ll need to make this black eyed soup recipe


This recipe uses frozen black eyed peas because they’re super easy and already prepared. To make this extra budget-friendly, you can use 1 1/3 cups dried black eyed peas, but you’ll need to soak them overnight.

Keep in mind that using dried beans means that you may need to adjust the recipe a little because they’re all different. Some beans require a longer simmer than others.

How to make black eyed soup

Soften the veggies. In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil to medium-high. Add your veggies and sauté until the onions are slightly translucent. 

Add more flavor. Stir in the ham, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes. Continue cooking for about 5 more minutes, stirring as needed to prevent burning.

Next up, some liquids. Add in the tomato paste and stir to coat the vegetables. Then pour in the broth and add the black eyed peas, along with any remaining ingredients. Cover and bring the liquid to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer the soup. Stir occasionally, while the soup simmers for about 20 minutes, or until the black-eyed peas are soft and the soup is creamy.

Stir in the spinach.  When the peas are softened, stir in the spinach and continue simmering until the leaves have wilted. Adjust the seasonings if necessary and remove bay leaves before serving.

FAQS about black eyed pea soup (hoppin John)

Can You Freeze Black Eyed Pea Soup?

Yes, you can store any leftover soup in the freezer for long term storage solutions. Simply place it in an airtight container and freeze for up to a few months. To eat it again, all you’ll need to do is thaw and reheat, making it an easy future meal!

Is A Black Eyed Pea A Vegetable?

Crazily enough, they are not a vegetable. Despite the misleading name, a black-eyed pea is actually a type of bean. Peas also fall into the legumes family but are often considered a vegetable. 

Can You Make This Hoppin John Soup In A Slow Cooker?

You can easily make this recipe in the slow cooker. Simply add everything and cook for 8 hours on low, or 4 hours on high.

black eyed pea soup

More bean recipes 

More dairy free soup recipes

overhead image of black eyed pea soup recipe garnished with fresh thyme

Black Eyed Pea Soup Recipe

This Black Eyed Pea Soup is a delicious and simple recipe that is perfect for New Years. This easy recipe is dairy free, gluten free, and packed full of flavor. #dairyfree

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced ham
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (1/2 tablespoon minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 12-ounce packages frozen black eyed peas
  • 8 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/81/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • Salt & pepper, to taste


  1. In a large stockpot, heat olive oil to medium-high, and add onion, celery, carrot and bell pepper. Sauté until the onions are slightly translucent – about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the ham, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes, and continue cooking for about 5 more minutes. Stir as needed to prevent burning.
  3. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat the vegetables.
  4. Add black eyed peas along with the remaining ingredients. Cover and bring liquid to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until black eyed peas are soft and broth is creamy.
  6. Stir in spinach, and continue to simmer until wilted.
  7. Adjust seasonings if necessary and remove bay leaves before serving.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 210
  • Sugar: 5 g
  • Sodium: 1740 mg
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 25.6 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Protein: 11.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 17.2 mg

Keywords: dairy free, gluten free, healthy, easy, new years

Last Updated on November 11, 2021 by Melissa Belanger

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  1. So are you supposed to eat ONLY that many or AT LEAST that many?! That’d be so complicated.. ha! We’re making this hoppin’ john-inspired dish with chipotle and bacon and a creamy chipotle aioli on top.. yum. But this looks good for ALL year round! By the way.. do you use weathered boards under your dishes for your photos?! I love the vintage look. Gorgeous!

    Hope you both are enjoying Thailand! How could you not?!

    1. No I actually got vinyl photography backdrops from Etsy so that I can travel with them. They were reasonably priced, and they roll up into a mailing tube. It’s perfect for my life. I’ve been dying to make hoppin’ john, but I don’t ever have all the ingredients at one time! That sounds amazing with the chipotle and bacon. I hope you’re having a great NYE. We are having a blast here…heading into town to get some street food and hopefully find a market tonight. So far the food has been NOTHING but amazing! I love it here and I’m so sad we have to leave in a few days.

      1. I actually use placemats! They were at Bed Bath and Beyond and I couldn’t resist. I’m definitely trying some of those vinyl backdrops – that’s my kinda “vintage table” – rolled up in a tube! Hope the rest of your trip is fabulous!

        1. I have a few placemats that I love, but I get so indecisive when I’m picking them out. I can send you the link for the Etsy shop if you want it – just let me know!

          1. Definitely! There are so many on etsy now and yours are so much more realistic than my placemats. I’d love to use your seller!

          2. The seller is on Etsy! I did a package deal for 3 that were 2’x2′. I think I might order more when I get home too. I love them.

  2. Hi! I make black eyed pea soup often, especially around most holidays and I usually use frozen peas. However, to keep from having to simmer your peas for long periods of time to get them soft, do what we do in the south and just soak them over night. That way they will be nice, plump and soft the next day. Boiling is a snap and won’t take all day. And don’t forget to always sift through dry beans before soaking and cooking because they sometimes contain rocks or other debris….btw never used tomato paste in mine, I used heavy cream but this looks delishous!

    1. Thanks for the tips! I’ve never made anything with black eyed peas before, so it’s always nice to hear from someone who knows what they’re doing. Heavy cream would make for a heavenly soup. It’ll have to be in my next batch! Happy New Year!

  3. I love black-eyed peas but I’ve never had them in soup, and this sounds great … but I take exception to referring to a dish as Hoppin’ John if it doesn’t include rice.