Growing up in the South, the New Year’s Day meal was always the same. There would be plenty collard greens, Hoppin’ John (field peas and white rice), meat and cornbread. This traditional meal is still eaten for luck and good fortune in the New Year throughout the South. The greens symbolize economic fortune and the peas are for luck and prosperity. Today, as a registered dietitian, I’ve come to appreciate how these superstar veggies can help keep the heart healthy, fight cancer and keep the waistline trim.
Call it superstition but I haven’t had a New Year’s Day without my greens and peas. However, I have adapted the recipes to be a bit healthier including the Slow Cooker Black-Eyed Peas below.
Akin to field peas, black-eyed peas are a great source of fiber, magnesium and potassium, all key nutrients for keeping blood pressure levels in check. It’s easy to find black-eyed peas in the dried beans or frozen vegetables aisle at the supermarket. Cook the peas low and slow with onion, fresh thyme and chicken broth to develop an amazing depth of flavor.
Save the time standing over the stove to work on your 2014 health goals and strategies with this easy slow cooker recipe. Whether you believe in the superstition of greens and peas on New Year’s Day for good luck and fortune, this recipe will help you start the New Year on a heart healthy note.
RECIPE: Slow Cooker Black-Eyed Peas
As part of a balanced and healthy diet, beans and peas can help lower your blood pressure.
1 lb. dried black-eyed peas, sorted, rinsed and soaked
6 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Sort, clean and soak the black-eyed peas according to the package directions.
Add all ingredients to the slow cooker. Stir to blend. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours until the beans are fork tender. Take care not to cook them to mush.
Add the salt and pepper to taste once the beans reach the desired softness.
Marisa Moore, MBA.RD.LD. is a registered and licensed dietitian in Atlanta, GA. Marisa works with corporations, groups and individuals to improve health outcomes in wellness, weight management, heart health and disease prevention. She also works with the food industry to develop healthy recipes, products and campaigns.
She is a media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and adjunct faculty at Georgia State University. Moore holds a BS in nutrition and dietetics from Georgia State University where she also earned a master’s degree in business administration.