First Ever Vegetarian Purple Hull Pea Recipe!

Purple Hull Peas Close Up

What in the world are purple hull peas?!

I first came across this legume in 2019 at the Gundermann Acres stand at Urban Harvest. These beans usually show up around July or August, and they are available for a few months. They look like black-eyed peas, but the eye at the center has a pink/purple color.

This is the first fresh bean I’ve ever worked with – they are picked and bagged without being dried. Fresh beans can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or the freezer for a few months. For the most part, they cook about the same as dried beans. However, when you soak/cook them, they pretty much stay the same size, whereas dried beans can grow when they absorb water.

Interestingly enough, I never find an excess of liquid at the end of cooking fresh beans, at least these particular purple hull peas. It doesn’t really change the taste or experience for me, but it’s something I noticed.

I found it incredibly hard to find a recipe for these beans that does not involve some sort of pork product. I thought these beans might not have a lot of flavor because of that, but once I cooked them, I could never drown the delicious flavor of these beans in pork. At that point, I feel like I might as well fry a pork chop instead…! So, I’m going to call this the first ever vegetarian purple hull peas recipe on the internet!

To get started, I soaked 1 lb of beans for about 6 hours, covered by an inch of water. I didn’t see a lot of bubbles forming after that time period, so I knew they were ready to cook.

IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE – soaking beans may not noticeably change the flavor, but it does wonders for your digestion. Soaking softens the skin of the beans and begins the sprouting process, thus making nutrients more available. This also releases phytic acid from the beans, which can impair the absorption of valuable minerals in the beans. I remember reading about the paleo/Whole30 diet, and one of the rules is no beans because of this mineral-blocking substance. A simple soak will solve this issue, and allow you to eat the high-quality plant-based protein that your body needs.

So, now that we have soaked, phytic-acid-free beans, let’s get started! First, I chopped some carrot, bell pepper, jalapeño, onion, and garlic. I wanted these to be spicy, so I added 8 of Farmer Ely’s fresh jalapeños to my pound of beans.

Next, I sweated out the onions on medium-high heat in olive oil and water, and I added the carrots. I cooked the carrots to soften a bit, but I didn’t worry about them too much because they would be braising in the broth. Next time, I’ll probably add my carrots in earlier or chop them smaller. These onions from Lightsey Farms cooked a bit faster than I’m used to.

Now, I added my peppers. The bell peppers came from Gundermann Acres, and the jalapeños came from Farmer Ely. I was ready to eat this colorful pot of veggies by themselves at this point 😀

Then, I cooked the garlic for 30 seconds, until it was fragrant. Please wait until the end of your sauté to add garlic. It makes all the difference!

I then seasoned the vegetables with unrefined salt, black pepper, thyme, and oregano. Simple and delicious.

Can you see the jalapeño seeds throughout the pot? Great natural flavor and spice!!

Now, it was time to add the beans, mix, and cover with an inch of filtered water. The beans were so beautiful next to the colorful vegetables. I knew there was no way these didn’t come out tasting amazing.

I re-seasoned with salt, pepper, thyme, and oregano, then I did my best to mix the pot and get a picture so you could see how flavorful these were looking. (Note my use of a wooden spoon through this whole process. Metal is more likely to break the beans, so I like to be as gentle as possible.)

At some point, I snuck a few bay leaves in there.

At that point, it was time to bring to a boil and wait for the beans to get tender. These took a total of 2 hours and 15 minutes to get to where I wanted them – tender and creamy!

And there you have it, the internet’s first ever vegan and vegetarian purple hull pea recipe! I’m glad I have one more bag of these in my freezer, because this batch went into my Spicy Purple Hull Pea Patties!

If you can find purple hull peas at the farmer’s market or store, let me know how they come out. They may be out of season at this point in late September, but hopefully we don’t have to wait until 2021 for more!

First Ever Vegetarian Purple Hull Peas Recipe

Creamy purple hull peas cooked with late summer vegetables
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time2 hours 50 minutes
Servings: 8
Cost: $7


  • Dutch oven or large pot
  • Wooden spoon


  • 1 lb purple hull peas fresh
  • 1 red onion medium
  • 2 carrots small
  • 3 bell peppers
  • 8 jalapeños
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil unrefined
  • 2 tbsp salt unrefined
  • 1 tbsp black pepper fresh
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1.5 tbsp dried oregano
  • filtered water
  • 2 bay leaves


  • Soak purple hull peas for 4-6 hours.
  • Dice red onion, carrot, and peppers. Mince garlic.
  • Heat olive oil in dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Add diced onions and cook for 1-2 minutes, until partly translucent.
  • Add diced carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes, until carrots start to get soft.
  • Add bell peppers and jalapeños, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Season the vegetables with half of the salt, pepper, thyme, and oregano.
  • Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Don't overcook the garlic!
  • Add soaked purple hull peas and mix everything to combine. Cover the mixture with 1 inch of filtered water.
  • Add bay leaves. Bring pot to a boil. Reduce to medium-low. Check on the beans after an 90 minutes, and add continue to add 15-30 minutes to the timer depending on the done-ness of the beans. Beans should be tender and creamy when done!
  • Serve in you favorite bowl, or use for purple hull pea burger patties!

Published by Chester Chambers

MIT grad with a mission to make the best veggie burger in the world

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