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Black-eyed peas with wild greens

  • Type: Main Course
  • Difficulty: Low
  • Time: 60 min
  • Serves: 6
Black-eyed peas with wild greens

It is a known fact that most beans are a New World food that came into the European continent after the 15th century discovery of America. However, black-eyed peas, like many other legumes, have been around since antiquity. Ancient Greek texts refer to the black-eyed pea as belonging to the Vigna species of legumes, the same as the family of beans, therefore it is not a pea. Evidence reveals that the black-eyed pea was one of those Old World legumes, originating in Africa and then Asia, which travelled to America in the 17th century with the European settlers. Cultivation was so successful that the American variety was exported and eventually found its way back into the European continent.

Today in Greece black-eyed peas are cultivated in various regions of the country including the prefecture of Messenia where the legume has found a niche in the region's repertoire of traditional foods. They are consumed in numerous ways, especially during fasting periods, but natives have no hesitations about combining black-eyed peas with meat or cheese.

Since the fasting period of Great Lent finds us in the beginning of spring where wild greens abound in the countryside, I suggest trying out one of Messenia's favorite recipes that marries the earthy flavors of both the black-eyed peas and the wild greens. Spinach or other cultivated greens can be substituted for the wild greens.

Main ingredient

Black-eyed peas

Region Of Origin

Messinia, Peloponnese


  • 250 gr dried black-eyed peas soaked in ample water for 1 hour
  • 1 kgr assorted wild greens, sorted and washed
  • 400 gr fresh green onions finely chopped
  • ½ bunch dill finely chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 300 gr peeled chopped tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt, pepper
  • Dried pepper flakes (hot or mild)


  1. Drain and boil beans in 1 ½ liters water until tender, but not too soft. Drain from liquid and keep liquid aside.

  2. Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until softened. Coarsely cut greens and add to pot. Stir in with onions and garlic until wilted and add dill, tomatoes, salt and pepper.

  3. Simmer for 5 minutes and add black-eyed peas. Stir and continue to simmer another 10-15 minutes or until beans and greens are soft. If more water is needed, add liquid saved from boiling black-eyed peas.

  4. Serve warm or at room temperature. Sprinkle with pepper flakes.

  5. This dish can be served with olives or feta cheese. It can also accompany salted fish (sardines, anchovies, herring, etc.) or homemade sausage when not fasting.

Variations: This dish can be made without tomato. In this case, substitute chopped tomatoes with water and, at the end, add lemon juice to taste.

The Chef

From the kitchen of Georgia Kofinas, Food writer and Culinary Arts instructor; Head of Mediterranean Cuisine at Alpine Center.

The opinion of the Nutritionist

The black-eyed beans are an ideal choice for the diet of Great Lent as only a portion gives us as many proteins as a half steak. The black-eyed beans give us thiamine, that is vitamin B1, which contributes in key metabolic reactions to produce energy and is equally important for the function of brain cells, memory retention and cognitive abilities.

A cup of black-eyed beans covers 45% of our daily needs for fiber, 58% of folic acid and 31% of protein. The 200 g. black-eyed beans gives about 250 calories.

Source: HealthPress ( )

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