It is officially summer in the south when you have eaten a bowl of purple hull peas served with a hunk of cornbread. This is truly a southern summer time classic. We even have a purple hull pea festival here in my home state of Arkansas. Here is our family favorite purple hull pea recipe.
What are purple hull peas?
Purple hulls are a type of field pea similar to black eyed peas. They are part of the cow pea family. Like the name suggests the hull of the pea is purple.
Purple hull peas have a lighter eye than their black eyed cousins, in fact they are sometimes called pink eyed peas.
How do they taste?
Y’all…black eyed peas are good, but purple hulls are AH-mazing! They have a much milder flavor and are way creamier in texture than black eyed peas.
Where do you purchase purple hull peas?
I get mine at our local farmer’s market!
When they are in season you will probably be able to find them fresh and un-hulled, or fresh and hulled, or frozen and hulled. You can also find bags of frozen purple hull peas in the freezer section of the grocery store.
Should you buy them fresh or frozen?
Even during purple hull pea season I prefer to buy them frozen! They are time consuming to hull and they actually cook faster when you start from frozen because the peas are typically blanched before freezing.
However, if you want to start from fresh or that’s all you can find they will taste equally delicious!
Wait! This is a vegetarian purple hull pea recipe? No pork?
I know it sounds like southern sacrilege but I prefer purple hulls WITHOUT bacon or a ham hock.
Listen y’all, I’m usually all for that bit of pork that southerners love to add to their vegetables.
But I’ve tried a dozen different ways to cook purple hull peas and this purple hull pea recipe really is the best. They are just better vegetarian.
The flavor of the purple hull pea is so fresh and delicate and it seems me and all of my taste testers (aka: my family) that the addition of bacon or ham hock overpowers the deliciousness of the purple hull peas.
When you make them without meat all the flavors come through perfectly. Of course it goes without saying that they are also healthier cooked this way!
However, If you want a little pork flavor with your purple hulls you can sprinkle some cooked bacon on top when you serve them. That way you can control the flavors better.
So, here we go…
Our favorite purple hull pea recipe!
Vegetarian Purple Hull Pea Recipe
- 1 pound frozen purple hull peas (or fresh)
- 3/4 cup diced onion (white or yellow)
- 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
- 2-3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 medium jalapeno, finely chopped (optional)
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- dash olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- Rinse your peas and check for stones, or leaves, or anything that shouldn't be in them.
- Chop onion, bell pepper, and celery
- Finely dice jalapeno if using
- Mince garlic
- Heat a little bit of olive oil in a pot over medium heat
- Add vegetables to the pot with a salt and pepper.
- Allow vegetables to sweat to release the flavors. You do not have to brown them or cook them until completely soft.
- Stir in purple hull peas
- Stir in approximately 2 cups vegetable broth and 2 cups water. The peas and vegetables should be fully covered with about an inch of liquid over them. Add more liquid if necessary to fully cover.
- Bring the mixture to a boil uncovered
- Turn the heat down so that the peas are at a gentle simmer. Cover the pot but leave it partially cracked for steam to escape.
- Cook for about 45-50 minutes.
- Check during the cooking process to make sure there is still plenty of liquid on the peas. Add more as necessary.
- Taste after 40-45 minutes of cooking. The peas should be tender, but not mushy when done. Cook longer if necessary. (Fresh peas may take much longer than frozen)
Ways to serve Purple Hull Peas
My favorite way to serve purple hull peas is over rice with a few sprinkles of hot sauce and a hunk of cornbread on the side.
- With cornbread
- Over rice
- Sprinkle some green onion on top
- Sprinkle some bacon on top
- Add a few dashes of hot sauce
- Sprinkle some finely diced jalapeno on top
- Use them instead of black eyed peas to make Texas Caviar.
- Some people like to add spoonful of chow-chow relish on the top
- Okra is a popular item served with (and often cooked in) purple hull peas. You can make up a batch of fried okra to go with it.
Hope you enjoy this vegetarian purple hull pea recipe! I think you’ll love it!
Let us know your favorite way to prepare this southern delicacy!
For another super southern summer recipe check out this okra, corn, and tomato gumbo!
Thanks for stopping by!