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.

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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.

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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:

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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).

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Set the beans and veggies to simmer on low… for at least 2 hours.

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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!

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A completely vegan New Year’s Day dinner!

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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!

Cheers! 🙂