posted in Casseroles

Tex Mex Black Eyed Pea Casserole

So what’s the story with Black Eyed Peas supposedly bringing good luck to all who eat them in the New Year anyways? I guess Black Eyed Peas are a Southern thing. This southern California girl had never actually (knowingly) tasted a black eyed pea before dinner last night, and I quite liked them. I put them in a Tex Mex Black Eyed Pea Casserole.

It’s one last hurrah of a comfort-food dish before the New Year begins. And it’s family- friendly too.

There they are in all their glory. Black Eyed Peas. They’re purdy little things, aren’t they? I suppose you could speed things up and use canned black eyed peas for this dish, but then it probably wouldn’t be quite as good now, would it?

I read a lot about black eyed peas and how to prepare them before I attempted this dish. Some folks soaked them overnight. Some slow cooked them. I went with the crowd that said that soaking wasn’t needed. I rinsed them, and then I boiled them for about 30 minutes. That gave me a tender black eyed pea, which is what I was hoping for in this recipe. Easy “pea”sy.

I added bacon to this recipe. It’s totally optional, but it totally makes this recipe better. In fact, it makes all recipes better and I wish I had added more. But I understand if you’re vegetarian and you’d like to leave it out. No wait, I don’t really understand that… because how could *anyone* actually survive without bacon?? (but I respect your vegetarian decision in any case 😉 )

This is the 3rd thing you’re going to do: prep the rice. In fact, you’re doing all three of these things at once. The peas are boiling, the bacon is in the oven and the rice is simmering. It sounds like a lot, but it’s not. It’s all going at the same time. Onions and garlic are sautéed in a little olive oil, then add the rice, then broth, then simmer until the rice has (almost) absorbed the liquid.

Then dump the almost-done rice in a bowl.  Add tender- cooked black-eyed peas, a can of ro-tel tomatoes, fresh spinach, BACON and cheese.  Mix it up.

Spread it into a casserole dish and bake for 20 minutes.  Add some more cheese on top and bake for 10 more minutes.

Ta Dah!

There’s good ‘ol down-home comfort right there.

Add a little sour cream, cilantro and sliced avocado, and your dish is complete!

Oh, and about those black-eyed peas… tradition says that the peas– since they swell when they cook– are said to bring prosperity to those who eat them on New Year’s Day.  I guess it’s worth a shot, right?

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 30 min

Cook Time: 1 hr

Tex Mex Black Eyed Pea Casserole

May these black eyed peas bring you prosperity in the New Year!


1 1/2 cups dried black eyed peas, rinsed
5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (or more!)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion (about 1/2 medium)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups rice (your preference)
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
One 10-ounce can Ro-tel (tomatoes + green chilies)
3 cups fresh spinach, cut into strips
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
chopped cilantro, sour cream and sliced avocado (for serving)


1. Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Add the dried peas and boil for 30 minutes, or until tender (as tender as a canned black bean would be). You don't want them to have much of a bite to them, but you don't want them mushy either. Drain the beans when you've got them where you want them.

2. In a deep medium skillet, heat the olive oil at medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in garlic, then rice, broth, cumin, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for about 20 minutes (just until the rice has *almost* absorbed all of the liquid). Time will vary depending on the type of rice you choose to use (20 minutes for white rice, but longer for brown, etc).

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Scrape the rice into a large bowl. Add peas, tomatoes, spinach, 1 cup of the cheese and bacon. Stir it all together and then scoop it into a 9x12-inch (or similarly sized) casserole dish. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and bake for an additional 10 minutes, just until cheese is melted.

4. Serve in bowls topped with sour cream, fresh cilantro and sliced avocado.


*If you are preparing this recipe as gluten free, just be sure to use brands of bacon and broth that are known to be GF.
*Quick and Easy tips: You can certainly try substituting canned black eyed peas for the boiled dried beans in this recipe, and you can purchase the already cooked bacon too.
*If you'd like to oven-fry your bacon-- it's so easy! Just set a rack in a foil-lined rimmed pan. Place your bacon strips on the rack. Place the bacon in a preheated 400 degree F. oven for 20 minutes, or until crisp (time will vary based on thickness of the bacon). Dab the bacon with paper towels to soak up any excess grease, and it's easy clean up too!

Source: (adapted loosely from Tex Mex Chicken & Rice Casserole and Food Network

73 Responses to “Tex Mex Black Eyed Pea Casserole”

  1. postedDec 29, 2011 10:34 AM
    Sara Burnette

    Looks so good! If I did want to use canned black eyed peas, would I use one can or two? Thanks!

    • postedDec 29, 2011 10:57 AM

      TWO! Sorry, should have mentioned that 🙂 Rinse the beans out of the can & you’re good to go.

  2. postedDec 29, 2011 10:34 AM

    OHHHH, why is this not in my mouth this SECOND? I’m making this.

    Set in stone.

  3. postedDec 29, 2011 11:03 AM
    Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

    Looks like a perfect and easy hit..that will make leftovers. Reheating is my friend.

  4. postedDec 29, 2011 12:34 PM

    Wow! This looks like a great dish my family would love! And pretty healthy too!

  5. postedDec 29, 2011 1:34 PM

    Looks yummy!!

  6. postedDec 29, 2011 2:18 PM

    I’m definitely going to be making this. LOVE beans/peas. But one question…the rice 1 1/2 cups uncooked?? 🙂 I’m assuming so, but just to make sure.

    • postedDec 29, 2011 2:20 PM

      Yes, definitely uncooked. You’ll be cooking it in the skillet with the broth!

  7. postedDec 29, 2011 2:30 PM

    I’m a Texan who was definitely raised on that notion and still serve them every single year. We always had black eyed peas every New Years Eve at midnight and again on New Years Day with ham, and greens. Black eyed peas for luck and greens for prosperity.

    It’s supposed to bring even more luck if you count how many peas you eat. (Maybe my parents just told us that to keep us busy?)

    This is a a black eyed pea recipe that I’ve never seen, but it looks awesome!

  8. postedDec 29, 2011 2:58 PM

    I could use some prosperity this year. I need these on my New Year’s menu!

  9. postedDec 29, 2011 10:23 PM

    Bacon…Black Eyed Peas…Cheese…Rotel?! This is definitely a perfect Tex Mex dish!

  10. postedDec 30, 2011 3:38 AM

    The amount of Iron in this dish is great, plus mixing any Iron source (B-E Peas) with a grain (Rice) makes the body’s absorption of the Iron higher than alone. – No wonder it’s lucky – you’re keeping yourself fit for the New Year with each forkful!

    Thanks for such a colorful way to make this.

  11. postedDec 30, 2011 8:59 AM

    I know you say use any rice you desire, but what rice did you use? 🙂 Thanks

    • postedDec 30, 2011 9:16 AM

      I used “Rice Select” Royal Blend rice blend (a mix of white, brown, wild & red). It came in a plastic sort of jar in my market’s rice section. Quick cooking 20 min.

  12. postedDec 30, 2011 11:21 AM

    This looks delicious! Any idea how it would be if chicken was added to it?

    • postedDec 30, 2011 1:12 PM

      I actually thought about adding chicken to it. I think it would be great!

  13. postedDec 31, 2011 11:40 AM
    Amanda L. (Tales from a Kitchen Misfit)

    i love casseroles like this! so easy and so delicious!

  14. postedDec 31, 2011 12:37 PM
    Lori Hensley

    I made it today and everyone loved it! We ate it for lunch – and since we live on a farm – we had our first annual HAY DROP at 12 noon – with all the kids. (imitating the NY ball drop) SO – it made for a great celebration.
    I love the way you did the bacon (from the pictures) I never thought of baking them – over frying them. SO – I copied that step as well. (that step is not in the printed directions – so glad you included it with the pics)

  15. postedDec 31, 2011 2:44 PM
    Sara Burnette

    One more comment – I made this today – it’s awesome! I used quick cooking brown rice (only 10 min. to simmer), and made it into a one-pot meal (I just kept it all in the oven-proof skillet and baked it right in there). Thank you for the healthy recipe!

  16. postedDec 31, 2011 4:00 PM

    black eyed pea recipes abound right now, but this is by far the best one i’ve seen! happy new year, lori!

  17. postedJan 1, 2012 6:18 AM

    I’m not too big on spinach, how would it be if we used a different type of greens. Otherwise it sounds awesome and need all the luck I can get!

    • postedJan 1, 2012 8:05 PM

      Arugula, perhaps?

  18. postedJan 1, 2012 9:19 AM

    This casserole is looking really tasty!

  19. postedJan 1, 2012 11:19 AM

    I can’t wait to try your casserole.

    My Mom was from the South and I grew-up eating Black Eyed Peas every New Year’s day. I was not allowed to leave the house until I had a bowl.

    My Mom’s recipe is very simple.

    Put one bag of black eyed peas in a stock pot with about 8 oz Chicken broth, (add enough water to cover) left-over ham bone from Christmas, handfull of fresh flat leaf parsley, onion, kosher salt and ground pepper to taste. Optional – Chili peppers.

    Cook on medium heat for about 90 minutes. I serve it with a 1/2 teaspoon of butter a little more salt and pepper and corn bread on the side. YUM!!!

  20. postedJan 1, 2012 11:33 AM

    I am currently making this dish and it was super easy. I did make a few small modifications. I used fresh baby spinach, frozen black eyes, and thick cut pre-cooked bacon and a can of broccoli and cheese soup (I needed to get rid of it). This will be my go to New Years recipe. Thanks Lori!

  21. postedJan 1, 2012 12:49 PM

    made this yesterday..soooo good! the peas were perfectly cooked after 30 minutes..i watched them and made sure that they were covered by water the whole time..having to add more now and then. i did fry up the bacon and put in six strips. plus, when assembling the whole thing, i drizzled bacon drippings over the casserole. i also added more spinach than what was called for..probably five large handfuls. i also added a teaspoon of red pepper flakes. i also used a whole onion and used 3 garlic cloves. it was DELICIOUS!! thanks for the recipe! only one serving is leftover over today in the gobbled up pretty fast!

  22. postedJan 1, 2012 3:45 PM

    absolutely delicious!!! I think my family thought I was nuts but boy was this good. I’ll be making it again next new years and maybe even before then. I used turkey bacon and arugula and brown rice but other than that, stuck to the recipe. mmmmmmmmmm

  23. postedJan 1, 2012 7:51 PM

    Made this for dinner tonight and WOW! It looked great from the photos, but I did not expect it to actually taste as good as it looked! My husband is actually excited for leftovers tomorrow 🙂

  24. postedJan 1, 2012 8:12 PM
    Baker Street

    Wow! This looks fabulous Lori! Bacon and cheese! I’m in! Happy New Year! xx

  25. postedJan 1, 2012 10:23 PM

    this WAS delicious – thanks! I feel both healthy AND lucky now – Happy New Year!

  26. postedJan 4, 2012 1:49 PM

    Looks fabulous Lori, will give this a shot.

  27. postedJan 4, 2012 4:37 PM

    This recipe rocks! It was great as is on 1/1. On 1/3, I had it as a wrap with avocado slices. Tonight, 1/4, I took what was left, layered it with tortillas and fresh enchilada sauce and had a whole new … still fantastic … dish. Thank you for sharing this keeper recipe!

  28. postedJan 5, 2012 10:37 AM
    Natalie @ Cooking for My Kids

    This sounds amazingly delicious. We love black-eyed peas, and, of course, we love Tex Mex food. So…I cannot wait to try this.

  29. postedJan 9, 2012 12:22 AM

    This looks scrumptious, and the presentation is lovely! I have a bag of black-eyed peas in the pantry that will now be put to good use. Thank you.

  30. postedJan 11, 2012 8:53 PM

    Made this tonight and it was as yummy as it looks. Even our 12m old was gobbling it up and wanted more. I also made a few changes for time sake and what I had on hand.
    2- cans of Ranch Style Beans- Black eyed Peas with bacon
    1- box of Rice-A-Roni Long Grain & Wild Rice
    2- cups chicken broth
    omitted the cumin as I wasn’t sure how it would play with the Rice-A-Roni season pack
    served on a bed of Tostitos Stone-Ground White Corn Hint of Lime Tortilla Chips

    • postedJan 11, 2012 9:18 PM

      Love your changes! Thanks so much for sharing!

  31. postedJan 11, 2012 9:20 PM

    This looks awesome, Lori!!! How did I miss this? I think it’s perfect for anytime of year!

  32. postedJan 18, 2012 7:46 AM

    I’ve been meaning to leave a comment here for this recipe since I made in on New Years Day. Lori, this dish is fabulous! I don’t think we had ever had black eyed peas before, but we love their nutty flavor. The balance of the seasonings is perfect, although I wouldn’t mind kicking up the heat a bit next time, perhaps with a bit of cayenne pepper. I’m not going to be reserving this dish for New Years; its likely to be served at least once a month around here (maybe just before hubby buys his weekly Lotto ticket – since the black eyed peas are suppose to bring good luck & the greens prosperity).

  33. postedMay 19, 2012 4:32 AM
    Janice Park

    What a fantastic dish! Thanks for all the great ideas!
    I found this recipe when I did a Google search for recipes with black eyed peas…I fell in love with it only to discover it was adzuki beans I had! So I made it with those instead of the black eyed peas! It tasted so yummy! I also used a little more rice (brown rice) then you suggested because I had it left over from another dish the day before. It all tasted yummy and I used corn chips to dunk into it (just for an added spin to things). I will definatley be making this dish again thanks so much!

  34. postedDec 18, 2012 7:55 AM
    Linda Wagster

    This looks great! Will definitely be making it. From a born and raised South Carolina girl, we were taught that on New Year’s Day you eat black-eyed peas (representing pennies) and greens -turnip or collard greens – (representing dollars) for prosperity in the coming year. I have been married 30 years, and still carry on this tradition!

  35. postedDec 28, 2012 6:23 AM

    I’m thinking about making this for New Years Day, it sounds so delicious. I also really like the style of that picture where you incorporated each ingredient. Very clever.

  36. postedDec 30, 2012 10:05 AM

    Oh my gosh, this sounds SOOOO yummy! and I don’t even like black eyed peas, which is kinda a sin, being a 5th generation Texan! My mother always made mashed potatoes on New Years Day so I could mash up my allotted 12 peas (one for each month) into them and not taste them. We did skip it one year, when I was about 5, and my mother fell and broke her leg that January, and I knocked over the cookie jar trying to get her crutches and broke my big toe. I’ve grown out of most of my superstitions, but I’m not tempting fate by offending the black-eyed-pea god ever again!

  37. postedJan 1, 2013 9:33 AM

    So good. Thanks for the recipe!

  38. postedJan 1, 2013 6:54 PM

    I just served this today instead of my typical New Year’s Day black-eyed peas. It is delicious and flavorful, and I am not a fan of black-eyed peas. This one is a keeper.

  39. postedJan 2, 2013 5:21 PM

    Love this dish! Gonna add some ground meat to it next time.

  40. postedJan 5, 2013 3:05 PM

    Wonder why my peas didn’t get tender? I cooked them for longer than one hour! Any ideas?

    • postedJan 6, 2013 7:59 PM

      I’m not sure!

  41. postedJan 12, 2013 7:42 AM

    This was so delicious! A great way to use up left over black eyed peas from New Years. I used a few extra pieces of bacon, brown rice, and for the spinach I used my food processor to finely chop is up!

  42. postedMay 27, 2013 3:47 PM
    Nuclear Nana

    Thanks so much for this recipe! I love black-eyed peas but never thought of putting them in a casserole like this. We always grew black-eyed peas at home in Texas so really enjoy them fresh or home canned. Can’t wait to try this recipe or a variation.

  43. postedDec 30, 2013 11:12 AM
    Diane Reaves

    My Atlanta born husband always insisted on black eyed peas for New Years, though I was not a fan of them. He passed away a few months ago, and I think in his honor I will try this recipe. It sounds like something I would enjoy.

  44. postedDec 31, 2013 10:00 AM

    I usually make Hoppin’ John for the new year but I think I’m the only one that eats it. This year I’m trying this recipe. It has everything required for new years, blackeyed peas and greens.

    Also a fyi – I heard if you add salt to your bean cooking water they don’t cook right.

  45. postedDec 31, 2013 10:11 AM
    Nancy Long

    I have some Swiss Chard in my garden that I might use in place of the spinach in this

  46. postedJan 1, 2014 4:51 AM
    Kayle Goodman

    This recipe looks great and I am trying it today with my New Year’s Day Dinner. However, the greens pictured look like collards to me. I’ve never seen any spinach that looked like that.

  47. postedJan 1, 2014 1:39 PM
    Lucy A

    I am making this right now and so far it looks dee-lish! Used brown rice as that is all I have – also I only had one cup dried peas.

  48. postedJan 1, 2014 3:02 PM

    I just made this tonight for our new years dinner omg so delish!!…I made a couple of modifications though….substituted collard greens for spinach which I cooked in with the rice because they take a little bit longer to cook than spinach…..rice took a lil bit longer to cook I used brown basmati rice…also didnt have yellow cheddar so I used a mixture of colby jack and vermont white ….not sure if beans were cooked all the way because I have never made them before…I did cook them for 2 hrs prior to adding them to recipe and they were soaked overnight. …was wishing they were just a little softer…..but all in all definitely a thumbs up

  49. postedJan 1, 2014 5:44 PM
    Teresa Carlson

    Loved it!! Next time I will use more black eyed peas, as that was the whole point of the recipe. Cooking them for 30 minutes on the stove was just right. I am emailing this recipe to everyone who loves an excellent casserole!

  50. postedJan 1, 2014 6:27 PM
    Lucy A

    The dish turned out great. My husband and daughter loved it. I used a bag if frozen spinach as I didn’t gave fresh.

  51. postedJan 2, 2014 4:56 AM

    We made this for New year’s dinner yesterday, delicious!!

  52. postedJan 5, 2014 9:51 PM
    Chad M

    Made this tonight… was a bit bland for our taste and had WAY more than needed for our family of 4. I liked it though and would make it again and try to modify a few things… used 1.5 cups of both beans and rice… Would reduce both to 1cup to size better for our family and more sabor/less filling. Instead of 5 strips of bacon (cooked the rest for BLT’s), would just have used all of the bacon as it seemed a little lacking on the meat. Thanks for posting.

  53. postedJan 7, 2014 10:19 AM
    Kim in Dallas

    The first time I’ve EVER enjoyed blackeyed peas! You can bet I’ll be making it numerous times before new year 2015! Thank you so much for a great recipe!

  54. postedJan 12, 2014 12:37 PM
    Allison Warren

    This has become my favorite recipe!! I’ve made it with both white and brown rice, I used bacon bits instead of cooking my own bacon, and this last time I added some sliced sausage (like in red beans and rice) and it is just awesome! With the brown rice it’s a super healthy dish – love all the veggies my family gets from this recipe! Love it!! Thanks for sharing!!

  55. postedMay 24, 2014 10:06 PM

    Made this for lunch today to increase our fibre intake – I chose to soak the beans as I couldn’t find canned and they were marvellously creamy. Incredibly filling recipe too. I included the bacon, but would probably eliminate it next time around.
    Comfort food, but turned out not too harsh on the calories either 🙂
    Thanks for posting!

  56. postedJan 1, 2015 1:27 PM
    Jimi C.

    I enjoyed this again this year. I don’t use the spinach…I use cilantro. And, I love it.

  57. postedJan 1, 2015 5:47 PM

    we make this every year. It is our new tradition. Thanks for sharing.

  58. postedFeb 9, 2015 7:36 PM
    Alex a

    This is a great recipe. I used brown rice and I added an additional 20 minutes to the 20 minutes suggested in the recipe. The brown rice burned to the bottom even thought it soaked up all th rest and it was underdone when I combined it (in the next step) with th tomatoes, spinach, cheese and bacon. I highly suggest anyone who uses brown rice for this recipe to cook it 90% through prior to adding it to the onion and garlic. It’s a lot better when it’s a little overdone and soft versus it being chewy and underdone once it’s baked- like what happened to me.

    And if yours brown rice turns out underdone even after you bake it, add leftover vegetable or chicken broth to the casserole dish, COVER it & then bake it at 350 degrees for an additional 20 minutes. This will slightly decrease the chewiness of the final product.

  59. postedSep 29, 2015 6:03 PM

    This is a terrific recipe – and for those that are interested, very easy to veganize! My husband and I are vegan, so I made without the bacon, used veggie broth instead of chicken broth, and Daiya shreds instead of cheddar. I added some chipotle chili pepper to add back some smokiness that the bacon would have provided (as well as a bit of a spicy kick!). Absolutely delicious!

  60. postedDec 6, 2015 4:40 PM

    I made this with ground beef instead of bacon and it was great as a main dish. Next time I’ll use 2 cans of regular tomatoes.

  61. postedJan 1, 2016 5:37 PM

    This was wonderful. The only change I made was to add 1/2 pound of hot turkey italian sausage, the kind that comes out of the casings. I followed the rest of the recipe to a Tee. My husband, who hates black eyed peas, had two helpings and told me he’d have it again. WooHoo!

  62. postedJan 17, 2016 5:48 AM

    Hi what kind of rice did you use? Looks so good!

    • postedFeb 1, 2016 6:20 AM

      You can use any kind of rice. If you use anything other than white, the cooking time will be a bit longer.

  63. postedFeb 25, 2017 1:47 PM

    I love this recipe, it’s one of my favorite casseroles. Have you ever converted it to make with a pressure cooker? I’m new with the pressure cooker and would love some guidance..

    • postedMar 1, 2017 9:19 AM

      I’ve never used a pressure cooker!

  64. postedMar 16, 2017 8:16 AM
    Katherine E

    Thanks to RACHEL R. for the vegan conversion ideas!! Going to make this today.

Leave a Comment