Vegan Black Eyed Pea Bowls with Red Hot Tahini

Apparently I'm on Christmas Break too...but trying to get back into the swing of things, and back into the healthy eating swing especially! WAY too many cookies, chocolate pretzel bark, au gratin potatoes, shrimp scampi, etc... 

This month on Cracked Up Kitchen I will feature healthy recipes with vegan recipes at least once a week.  I know, I know, don't freak out.  I will throw a couple fun recipes in there also, but I know most people are trying to eat healthier in the new year and I think eating vegan gets a bad rap.  Lots of people think vegans eat weeds from the backyard and wear hemp cologne and smoke pot are hippies.  But vegan food can be delicious and even your family could like a recipe or two if you tried it.  

Now, we have no intentions of becoming permanently vegan or even vegetarian, we just want to attempt to eat healthier, reduce our animal product consumption, and be fit.  I have committed to eat vegan for the month of January (six days a week;) so I will be trying out lots of new recipes and I'll tell you how it goes! 

Today's recipe was a three thumbs up meal for the entire family.  As I was assembling my kids' bowls I said a little prayer that I would be patient if they were grossed out by it.  Which was completely the opposite of their reactions.  Two of my three little eaters ate seconds and Robbie immediately said, "Wow mom, this is good!" So if you're contemplating trying a vegan meal, try this!  I found this recipe at Post Punk Kitchen and I would've never thought I should make it just by  looking at the recipe but her photo was so delicious looking I had to try it and am so glad I did.  I realize that eating black eyed peas (Hoppin' John) is traditionally done on New Year's Day but I didn't feel like cooking so whatever!

A couple short cuts: You can absolutely use 2 cans of black eyed peas instead of cooking from dried.  I was really short on time yesterday so I used 2 cans of collared greens instead of sauteing my own, but fresh would be just perfect, probably better. Prep ahead of time, you can make the tomato salad, peas, rice & sauce ahead of time and reheat when you're ready to eat.  That's what I did and it made getting dinner on the table super quick.

Vegan Black Eyed Pea Bowls with Red Hot Tahini
recipe adapted from Post Punk Kitchen

Hoppin' John
1 lb bag dried black eyed peas
1 Tb. liquid smoke
2 bay leaves

2 cans collared greens, drained
granulated garlic &seasoned salt for seasoning

Tomato Salad:
2 c. chopped tomatoes, about 3 big roma tomatoes
3 large green onions, sliced thinly
1/3 c. fresh parsley, finely chopped
salt & pepper
2 Tb. red wine vinegar

Red Hot Tahini
1/2 c. tahini
1/3 c. Frank's Red Hot sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. water (or more)

6 c. cooked rice for serving, whatever kind you like.  I used long grain & wild rice.

You can cook your black eyed peas on the stove or in a crockpot, keep in mind they cook faster than typical beans. Either simmer the peas in water with the liquid smoke and bay leaf 30 minutes or until al-dente, OR add the peas to a slow-cooker, cover them with water, add liquid smoke & bay leaves and cook on low 2-3 hours. Drain water & remove the bay leaves before serving.

While the black eyed peas are cooking make the tomato salad by combining the chopped tomatoes, green onions, parsley, salt, pepper & red wine vinegar in a bowl and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.  To make the red hot tahini sauce add all ingredients to a blender jar and blend until smooth.  You may want to add more water to get a consistency that's good for drizzling.  Directly before serving heat the greens & seasonings until hot.  To assemble the black eyed pea bowls layer rice, black eyed peas, greens, tomato salad & drizzle the top with the red hot tahini.  Enjoy! I love the mix of hot rice, beans & greens topped with cold tomatoes and sauce.  So yummy!
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