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If you didn’t grow up in the south, you might not know The Black Eyed Peas are more than just a great band that sings “Rock Your Body,” black-eyed peas are a lean, mean bean that can make it happen!

One cup of cooked black-eyed peas has 16 grams of protein. They’re also high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and cancer fighting phyto-chemicals… but have only 1 gram of fat.

Still, even though black-eyed peas—and any beans or legumes—are so good for us, they still have about 220 calories a cup. Which means, if you’re trying to lose weight, you want to mitigate the calorie load where you can.

By simply adding other fresh vegetables to your almost cooked (or already cooked) beans, you get their satisfying texture, flavor and nutrition without breaking the calorie bank.  They’re also tastier and way more beautiful this way.

(Use dried beans for this, not canned or frozen. If you’ve never done that before, I’ll walk you through it. Cooking the beans from scratch is not only cheaper, it makes a super flavorful broth and, once you have it, you’ll never make them any other way!)


1 cup dried black-eyed peas

2 t. dried oregano

1-2 T. minced garlic (matter of taste here, if you like garlic, go for 2)

1 t. black pepper

¼ cup chopped onion

2 tsp salt (do not add until near the end or beans get weird)

1 pound frozen haricot verts (skinny green beans) or one package fresh whole green beans in microwavable bag.

1 red bell pepper, already grilled or oven roasted, sliced into strips

Rinse your dried black-eyed peas, put them in a pot and cover with 4 inches of water. You can soak them overnight (or at least 4 hours) or do what I do most of the time, which is use the “quick soak” method. That just means you put the beans and water on a high flame and boil them for a minute or two. Turn the heat off and let them soak for just one hour. I do not dump out that water, I just add more to it—enough to get back to 4 inches covering the beans—and then turn them back on to cook.

Once the beans just begin to boil, turn them down to a simmer and add the dried oregano, minced garlic and pepper.

Let them cook for about 20 minutes and toss in the onion and the salt.

Cook another 10 minutes and taste a few beans and the broth. (You want the beans to still have a little al dente quality because they’ll continue to soften after you add the green beans and soften even further after you turn off the flame. You want them to end up tender but don’t want them to turn to mush.)

Now add the green beans.

If using frozen green beans or haricot verts, just toss them into the pot, stir, and cook for another few of minutes–until they are tender but still bright green–and turn off the heat.

If using the microwavable fresh green beans, nuke them according to package directions (usually about 5 minutes on high) and just add them to the black eyed peas right in the serving dish.

Add your sliced strips of grilled or roasted red pepper, taste for seasonings and enjoy!


If you don’t have fresh red bell peppers, use sliced cherry or grape tomatoes to add color, taste and texture.

About Lisa McRee

After 25 years as a local and network anchor, Lisa was just another American mother struggling, and failing, to lose weight. Finally, she cracked the code, and lost 30 pounds, quickly and for good, by doing what she loves: reporting, cooking and eating! The Skinny is the inside story on how she did it, and how you can, too!
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  1. Denise says:

    2 tsp salt (do not add until near the end or beans get weird)

    what do you mean by get weird?

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