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The 5 Best Substitutes for Black-Eyed Peas in Recipes

Are you looking to use black-eyed peas in a recipe but can’t find them at the store? Not to worry.

While there’s no denying that black-eyed peas lend unique texture and flavor, there are a few excellent substitutes that can get you close in a pinch.

Whether you’re making chili or side dish for dinner, check out these five best alternatives to help keep your meal from being ruined.

From adzuki beans to chickpeas, discover which substitute is perfect for all types of cooking.

What are Black-Eyed Peas?

Black-eyed peas, also known as cowpeas, have been popular in the southern United States and other parts of the world for generations.

They’re small, creamy white beans with a black dot in the middle that resembles an eye.

Although small in size, black-eyed peas are packed with nutrition, including essential vitamins and minerals like iron and zinc.

Along with being a great source of dietary fiber and protein, they’re also low in fat.

Black-eyed peas have a mild and nutty flavor, making them perfect for use as either a side dish or a main course.

Depending on how they’re cooked and seasoned, they’re just as versatile as any bean or legume.

You can simmer them with seasonings until tender or add them to soup for flavor and heartiness.

You can also add canned black-eyed peas to salads for an added crunch that makes any recipe more filling without adding extra calories or fat.

Plus, their texture makes them ideal for use in veggie burgers as well.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Black-Eyed Peas in Recipes

Fortunately, there are several options available to substitute black-eyed peas when they are unavailable or not desired in the dish.

It is important to keep in mind that some alternatives will closely resemble the texture, taste and nutrition of black-eyed peas while others will be completely different.

The following five substitutions are great alternatives for recipes calling for black-eyed peas:

1 – Purple Hull Peas

These legumes, also known as Southern peas, are one of the best plant-based substitutes for black-eyed peas.

They have a similar nutty flavor and creamy texture, so much so that if you’ve never tried purple hull peas before, you won’t be able to easily tell the difference from black-eyed ones.

They also come in several varieties – both cream-colored and dark purple colored – which allow for flexibility when it comes to matching the ingredients used in your recipe.

Plus, these pea varieties can be found in most grocery stores due to their widespread popularity in Southern cooking.

As with other pulsed replacements for black-eyed peas, the purple hull must be cooked prior to using them in recipes.

When cooking purple hull or any other type of Southern peas, it is important not to overcook them as they can become mushy and lose their nutty flavor due to excessive boiling or stewing time.

2 – Pinto Beans

Pinto beans are an excellent choice for substituting black-eyed peas in recipes.

They have similar nutritional benefits to black-eyed peas, like being high in protein, calcium, complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber.

They also have a mild flavor that takes well to a variety of spice combinations and their soft texture works great for mashed or refried dishes.

Pinto beans are often available in dried or canned form and work well as a substitute for most cooked dishes calling for black-eyed peas.

However, they should not be substituted if used uncooked, as this could alter the flavor and texture of your dish if not cooked properly.

3 – Lima Beans

Lima beans, or butter beans, are an excellent substitute for black-eyed peas in a variety of recipes.

Lima beans, like many legumes, are small and flavorful with a creamy texture and nutty flavor.

They contain an impressive amount of fiber and protein in comparison to many other legumes.

For this reason, many chefs use lima beans as a meat substitute in vegetarian dishes.

Lima beans generally come in two varieties– baby limas and large limas– which have different textures when cooked.

Baby limas tend to be slightly firmer than large limas, but both variants can work wonderfully as substitutes for black-eyed peas in recipes.

4 – Borlotti Beans

Borlotti beans, which are also known as cranberry beans, are the closest substitute for black-eyed peas in terms of culinary application.

The outer pods of Borlotti beans are light brown and red speckles, hence their other name.

The cooked beans retain their shape and feature a creamy texture with a strong flavor like Lima beans or fava beans.

When used in salads and dishes that require little cooking time, opt for canned Borlotti; otherwise purchase dried Borlotti and soak them overnight.

Perfect for soups and stews, they require the same amount of cooking time as black-eyed peas in order to become tender.

5 – Romano Beans

Romano beans, also known as Italian flat beans, are among the most popular substitution options for black-eyed peas.

They have a sweet flavor with hints of nuttiness that make them a great stand-in for black-eyed peas in recipes.

The beans have a narrower shape than black-eyed peas and they are slightly firmer in texture.

Romano beans are also an excellent source of fiber, along with essential nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron.

When cooking with Romano beans, it is important to note that the cooking time typically needs to be increased by about 10 minutes compared to the cooking time for black-eyed peas.


Ultimately, black-eyed peas offer up a complex flavor and texture that can be difficult to match in dishes.

However, there are many suitable substitutes available that can give a similar level of flavor and texture to recipes.

Be sure when choosing your substitute to consider how the alternative ingredient will affect the overall taste of your dish as well as its texture and color.

By keeping these factors in mind when making a substitution for black-eyed peas you can ensure you will have an enjoyable culinary experience with any recipe containing them.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Black-Eyed Peas in Recipes

The 5 Best Substitutes for Black-Eyed Peas in Recipes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1 – Purple Hull Peas
  • 2 – Pinto Beans
  • 3 – Lima Beans
  • 4 – Borlotti Beans
  • 5 – Romano Beans


  1. Choose your preferred substitute from the list of options.
  2. Organize all of your ingredients.
  3. Use the proper substitute to cook your recipes.

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