Every New Year’s Day, we have cabbage and black-eyed peas for dinner. Since changing our diet to semi-vegetarian 4 years (going on 5 now!) ago… I have developed a vegan recipe for the usual meat & beans, and beef cabbage rolls that we were used to…
Traditionally, cabbage represents money and black-eyed peas bring luck. It’s therefore considered a good practice to have your first sit-down meal of the year with these 2 main ingredients.
My New Year’s Eve always involves sorting, rinsing, and setting up the black-eyed peas to soak overnight. This, of course, shortens the cooking time substantially. There’s always the option of the ‘quick boil’ method, but that often yields ‘mushy’ beans.
Around lunchtime, I drain the soaking water from the beans, rinse them to remove that chemical that naturally occurs in beans that can lead to gastric upset ;-), and add fresh water and the peas back into the now-rinsed-out stock pot.
The trio of herbs that works for virtually ANY bean and/or legume: 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp thyme, and 1 tsp basil. I add 1 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of pepper at the end. I let the beans cook on low for 2 to 3 hours… okay, sometimes 4. (The longer, the better… today, I turned the beans off after 3 hours, let them sit for an hour and then reheated them.)
A good meat replacement for the beans? Why not veggies? Today, I used celery (with some of the leaves), onion, and carrots. I had some sweet, snacking peppers leftover from another recipe, so added them in as well:
Sauté the fresh cut veggies in a skillet with a light coating of olive, or today, canola oil – just long enough to get the onions to ‘pearl’ and the oils to be released (when you can smell it cooking together, they’re ready to be added to the beans).
Set the beans and veggies to simmer on low… for at least 2 hours.
Add the salt and pepper, and don’t forget to remove the bay leaf!
Next up was the cabbage. Today, I decided to just sauté the cabbage with some red onion, season it with salt and pepper, and voila!
A completely vegan New Year’s Day dinner!
As always, I hope this helps you be more brave in the kitchen and try some fruit or vegetable you’ve never tried before! And remember, meat is not what makes the meal – it’s the timing, the temperature, the mix, and the seasonings (and love) that makes food yummy!
Wishing you all a bright, happy, safe, and healthy new year in 2017!