Black Eyed Peas with Spinach and Bacon

Did you know that eating black eyed peas on New Years Day is considered by many to bring wealth and prosperity in the new year? This black eyed peas recipe is a twist on the more traditional southern version (Hoppin’ John), which typically uses ham hocks and collard greens. I’ve tweaked it to include two of my favorite ingredients: spinach and bacon.

Did you know that enjoying black eyed peas on January 1st is considered by some to bring luck and prosperity in the new year? It never hurts, right? This hearty recipe for Black Eyed Peas with Bacon and Spinach is a savory winter treat.

Well folks, another year bites the dust. It’s hard to fathom, as it seems like only yesterday 2016 was coming to a close.

Last year, I learned that eating black eyed peas on January 1st is a southern tradition, one that’s supposed to bring good fortune in the New Year. While I wouldn’t consider myself a superstitious person, I am often a believer in “eh, it can’t hurt, right?”

Especially if it’s tasty.

A photo of a pot of black eyed peas cooking with herbs and a slice of bacon

A photo of the finished black eyed peas with spinach and bacon on a plate to serve.

The Wikipedia article linked above has more information on the symbolic inclusion of each ingredient (the greens represent money, etc), and the history behind the story. It’s interesting (to me anyway!)

Recipe Notes

  • Cornbread is often an accompaniment to Hoppin’ John. It would also work well here.
  • If possible, soak the beans overnight to cut down on the cook time, which is already 1 to 1 1/2 hours. A pressure cooker such as the Instant Pot, is also an option for speeding up the process.

I don’t think the bacon adds too much heaviness to the dish, but I realize we’re all exiting the holiday season, which is full of rich foods. If you’re seeking some lighter New Years options, I recommend this Mediterranean Salad with Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette.

It’s light, but with a nice balance of flavors and textures, plus protein to keep you satiated. Two other options that I love when I’m feeling like I over-indulged are this Quinoa, Apple and Almond Salad with Honey Mint Vinaigrette, and my Sweet Potato, Apple and Avocado Salad.

Happy New Year!

A photo of the finished dish of black eyed peas with spinach and bacon.

A photo of a bowl of black eyed peas with spinach and bacon
Print Pin Recipe

Black Eyed Peas with Spinach and Bacon

5 from 1 vote
Enjoy Black Eyed Peas with Spinach and Bacon on New Years Day to bring good fortune in the new year! 
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword black eyed peas
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 6 (approximately)
Calories 352


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced and divided
  • 1 pound dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and drained
  • 10 strips thick-cut bacon, divided
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 10 cups homemade or low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 - 2 pounds fresh spinach, either baby or regular spinach will work, see notes
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste (optional)
  • Kosher salt to taste


  • In a heavy-bottom saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and half of the minced garlic. Cook for approximately 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add the black eyed peas, 2 strips of bacon, bay leaves, and thyme.
  • Add the stock and black pepper, then turn the heat to high. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the beans are tender but not mushy, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  • Meanwhile, slice the remaining bacon. In a large skillet or saucepan, cook over low heat to render out the fat, then turn the heat to medium and cook until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat, turn the heat to low, and add the remaining garlic. Cook until fragrant, approximately 1 minute. Add the crushed red pepper, if using.
  • Add the spinach to the pan and cover, allowing the steam to wilt the spinach, approximately 2 to 3 minutes (you will likely need to do this in batches). Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the spinach was cooked in batches, combine before seasoning.
  • Using tongs, remove the bacon and thyme sprigs from the black eyed peas, then drain any excess liquid. Serve the peas over the spinach, topped with the bacon.


Cornbread is a common accompaniment to the classic version, and it would pair well here as a side. Soak the beans overnight to cut down on the cook time (a pressure cooker such as the Instant Pot would also speed up the process).


Calories: 352kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 134mg | Potassium: 1223mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2.2% | Vitamin C: 5.3% | Calcium: 11% | Iron: 40.3%

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About Jennifer Farley

Jennifer graduated from the Culinary Arts program at L’Academie de Cuisine, and has worked professionally as a line cook, pastry chef, and cooking instructor. Her cookbook, The Gourmet Kitchen, was published in 2016 by Simon & Schuster.

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